My first Mother's Day was a total bust, but I learned a valuable lesson.
I was a new Mother.
My baby was just 8 months old.
I knew that May 8th was coming up and I was excited to finally be celebrated on my first Mother’s Day!
I imagined flowers and breakfast in bed and lots of doting. I imagined that I would miraculously wake up feeling rested and that we would all bask in the glow of sweet, sweet Motherhood.
The day finally came and it was anything but sweet.
Because our society tells us to do so, all the Dads and Partners in our sweet circle decided that the way to celebrate Mother's Day is to go out for brunch. Mother's Day brunch—the quintessential gesture, right?
We arrived at the Dipsea Cafe in Mill Valley and as you’d expect, the place was packed. It seemed as if every other exhausted Mom in Marin County was also there!
As a breastfeeding mom, I was starving. My baby was too and while milk was pouring out of me, the environment was just so stimulating that my baby couldn’t eat. Oh the irony!
I could see I was not the only one struggling. All of us Mothers smiled politely at one another trying to tell ourselves that we should be enjoying ourselves but we all knew our truth...we just wanted to be home...asleep.
I went to bed that night and felt depleted and let down. My poor husband did his best, and in fact, the part that was missing was that I didn’t communicate how I wanted to be celebrated in my Love Language (which at the time was sleep).
Cut to one year later and this Mama knew better.
Starting in late April I put my order in:
- I do not want to go out for brunch.
- I do not want flowers.
- I actually do not even want to do anything that had anything to do with being a mother.
- What I wanted was to be alone.
- I wanted to read People Magazine and follow my thoughts and eat when I wanted to eat and I wanted to nap.
- I wanted to take baths.
- I wanted to go to a yoga class.
And my husband (bless him) heard me. He booked a room at the Aqua Hotel in Mill Valley (just a stone’s throw from the prior year Mother’s Day debacle). And when I checked in, I found a basket waiting for me with:
- People Magazine
- A bag of Cool Ranch Doritos (my comfort food)
- Rolos (my other comfort food)
- And a handwritten card that brought me to tears. It told me to rest. It reminded me of what a loving Mother I am. It said that my husband and my daughter would have a blast celebrating me in my absence and to not for one second feel guilty.
And here is how the next 24 hours went: I took a bath, I cried, and then I napped. I wrote in my journal and then I got takeout and I watched the sun set. (I then started to miss my family.) I watched a movie, all by myself. I got 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep! I woke up refreshed. I went to a yoga class. It was the best Mother’s Day; a corrective experience from the previous year.
Now let me be clear, MY definition of my best Mother’s Day is just that—my definition. And over the last 13 years I have had many more and I have loved them all! But when my babies were babies, I needed more rest and restoration. I actually needed to be alone.
Mama’s—here is my loving suggestion: Ask for what you want. What would Mother’s Day look like in your love language? Is it time together, or time alone? It is a combination? What would be the best way for you to spend the day? How can you reconnect with the blessing of Motherhood? It is, afterall, YOUR day. A day to celebrate you. Not a day to cater to the needs of others and certainly not a day to succumb to society’s traditions of Mother’s Day if those traditions don’t match your desires.
Also, in closing, Father’s Day is celebrated in June and the exact same rules apply. Let’s love each other in each other’s languages. We all deserve it. And even better, we can do it when we ask for what we need.