Last year for Mother’s Day, my husband made dinner and fed the kids. It was frozen grocery-store pizza. They ate all of it, left none for me, and didn’t even clear—let alone clean—the dishes. I discovered their debauchery when I returned from delivering a gift to my own mom, an hour-long round-trip I took just after I mowed our family’s lawn, which is of course a task I’d eagerly undertaken just to get away from the kids for a spell. When I got back and saw the pizza remnants and filthy countertop, my husband had his feet up, was nursing a glass of red wine, and barely looked away from his movie to say hello. I was, um, just a little bit mad.
Before you start razzing on my husband and asking if I was a mail-order bride, rest assured that he had already given me what I requested: a quick family camping jaunt the night prior. Of course, I’d had to shop for it and pack for it and load up the car and drive to the campsite alone with the kids because he was at work until late in the afternoon. And of course the original campsite was a hovel, so we ended up having to relocate to a different one, depleting most of our daylight hours. Boy, was I happy out there in the woods the next morning when our son, then 3.5 years old, woke me up and kept me up at the crack of dawn in one tent while my [snoring] husband slept…and slept…and slept in another. The icing on the cake was probably when my son told me he didn’t love me, even as he couldn’t bring himself to leave my side so I could sleep some more. The chaos was nobody’s fault; just the product of trying to camp on a work weekend with little ones in tow. What was I thinking!?
Yesterday my husband, recalling the Great Mother’s Day Debacle of 2012, asked if my hope for Mother’s Day this year is to just have the day to myself. Admittedly, I really want that. But I’ve decided that I need to get over it. There is really no other day of the year on which the kids think they are more integral to my happiness (which they are), and therefore, it’s just kind of screwed up to try to get away from them. They want to be near the guest of honor, all day long. They want to wake her with breakfast in bed. They want to make personally sure she has fun and that they get due credit. And since kids who are my kids’ ages have little to no concept of what actually is pleasant and fun for a woman of my age (Hint: it’s not having my hair braided with shaving cream accents while we play Barbie spa), the day just gets exhausting. “I’m resigned,” I said to my husband. “I think I just need to accept that Mother’s Day isn’t relaxing for moms.”
That’s when my husband reminded me of the idea I floated last year after Mother’s Day. What I’d half-kiddingly suggested is that on Mother’s Day, my husband get the elusive parent’s-day-off–and on Father’s Day, I get mine. That way the kids, who are, after all ,the reason we’re parents, get to be the integral part of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day that they should be, but my husband and I each get to take a full weekend day off to truly relax and get some Zen, and we don’t have to experience one lick of guilt for taking it. Sounds like a plan to me. For that, I think I can delay gratification for another month here.
In other words: Happy Mother’s Day, honey! Enjoy your day off!