Over the past couple of weeks, I've asked moms on Facebook what they wanted or expected for Mother's Day. Oy, the lukewarm responses I got! "Just a day to myself would be nice." "A day with the kids." "I don't know, my kids will probably do something... maybe." "Nothing, I'm OK."
A lot of people are uncomfortable being the center of attention, and I get that. Well, that's a lie. I don't really get it, but I see it often enough that I'm convinced it's true. I'm going to guess that a large percentage of those people are women. When offered praise, thanks or gifts, women demur. "No, you didn't have to do that, it isn't necessary, please..." It's like we're begging to be forgotten, passed over, martyred.
Is it better to complain about getting no attention than to ask for and appreciate a day of adoration?
This Mother's Day, fight the urge! Let your kids make breakfast and stay in bed while they're in the kitchen. Take time for yourself. Ask for a gift you actually want. Read the cards you get and believe them.
Do all this because you deserve it -- and because this is good parenting!
How is it good parenting to sit in comfort on the couch ignoring the chores and the dishes and reading a book with a yummy drink that your child has brought you, you ask?
First of all, your children are learning to honor you. Motherhood should NOT be a thankless job. Of course, our kids won't remember to thank us for everything we do each day. They won't even notice a lot of it, they're not wired for that. This is a chance for them to think of you first. Learning to make you the center of their thoughts and energy is a great lesson for them. Making you feel good will teach them the value of reaching out, of searching for ways to make someone we love feel great. If your 2-year-old asks on Sunday, "What do you want for Mother's Day Mommy?" Say 100 hugs! Or a foot rub, or for them to clean up their toys. Say something you really want. Let them honor you.
If your teen acts as if they don't celebrate this holiday in her country, bring it up before the big day. "What do you have planned for Mother's Day this year, honey? I'm really looking forward to it!" It's only a guilt trip if you wait to mention it until afterwards!
Second of all, you are teaching your kids to expect to be treated well by the people who love them. "Children learn what they live." So let your children learn that being a parent doesn't mean ignoring your own self worth. Show your son that you are worthy of thanks and he will expect to be treated well as an adult. Show your daughter that you deny praise and she will think she should also.
Lastly, Mothers Day can recharge you for the tough times ahead. When you are feeling overwhelmed or unappreciated in weeks to come, your memories (and gifts -- did I mention gifts?) will remind you that your family values you. When you are rushing from one place to the next, fielding texts from home about dinner and dropping off the forgotten shoes at practice and picking up a last minute supply for the history project, you will remember the honor your family showed you. It will help you be a better parent.
You might be reading this thinking, "Mother's Day at her house must not look anything like Mother's Day at MY house!" I know you may be hosting brunch for your mom and mother-in-law or still running kids to soccer and helping with a science project. You may be the only adult at your house. Or your kids may have kids.
If there is one person in your family who tries for one minute to make this day different and special, LET THEM!