For a lot of moms, Mother’s Day is their one day off each year. Daddy changes the diapers without whining, the kids try their best to clean their messes, and mom gets to curl up with the book she’s been trying to read for months.
Not me. My husband is a chef at a college, and commencement is a mandatory work day. In order to get out of it, you must have a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event. My husband got out of it last year when I graduated, for example. But since we’re done making babies (no my-wife’s-in-labor possibility) and no weddings on the horizon, it will be a looooong time before he’s getting off for commencement again.
Most years, commencement falls on Mother’s Day. My husband heads in early to get brunch out for the grads and their families, and he stays until around dinner time. So I’m the one getting up with the baby and scrubbing the crusted-on blow-out from his delicate skin. I’m the one wrangling my daughter as she elbows her way to the changing table, investigating what is making Mommy wretch. And the day goes on… It was shaping up to be no different from any other day when my husband’s working.
And to that, I say hell no. This is Mother’s Day. I only get this day once a year. It is up to me to make it something special. If I want to do something special, I have to make it happen. Likewise, if I don’t want to clean up after the kids, it’s up to me to make sure Binnybeans cleans up after herself… or just let the house be mess.
So what could I do that would be special? I couldn’t pawn then off on Daddy while I had some all-too-rare alone time. If I was going to do something special, it would have to be with the kids.
What a radical idea: Mother’s Day with the kids!
I thought about that. Why do so many moms think of Mother’s Day as a day when they get to be alone? A long bath, time spent reading, a leisurely nap… all activities done without the kids. I get it. Most days of the year, I spend all day every day with the kids. I would do just about anything for some alone time, and I admittedly suck at forcing myself to take me-time.
But today is Mother’s Day. Not Me-Time Day or Ditch the Kids day. This is the one day of the year that celebrates what it means to be a mother. To change diapers without complaint. To get sticky peanut butter and jelly kisses. To have chocolate covered hands grasp for your clothes. To sit on the grass and play with your kids.
So I sat on the grass and played with Binnybeans. We had a picnic tea party for lunch today. I put Budgie down for his nap, put on a dress and a fancy hat, and packed up a lunch. Binnybeans put on a party dress and her Easter bonnet, too. We were fancy ladies, having a fancy lunch party. It didn’t matter that we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and strawberries so soft they were about a half day away from being rotten. It didn’t matter that our “fancy biscuits” were stale Girl Scout shortbreads. In our little world, we were fancy ladies eating the finest lunch.
The best part of it all? When my daughter said it was the best lunch ever. She said I was the best cook in the world. Forget that Daddy is a chef. Forget that she was eating nearly rotten food. I was the best cook.
If I had spent Mother’s Day wishing for mimosas and alone time, I would never have had that special moment with my Binnybeans. I would never have created that memory I can reach to when I’m doubting my abilities as a mom. When I feel like I can’t do right by my kids. To my daughter, I’m the best cook who makes the best lunch. I am Mom and I am wonderful.
And that is what Mother’s Day is all about.