Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas! You deserve to have the nicest, most special day. One whole day where you’re adored and get to bask in the glory of love and devotion from your family. When your children’s attention is only the cuddly and sweet and loving kind. You should feel appreciated and not taken for granted. You should get to spend Mother’s Day YOUR way, because you know what?
Your body and mind hosted your child for nine months. You got chunky. Then, unspeakable things occurred to your body. And, if you’re a runner like I am, you’re still peeing on yourself no matter how old your kid is. You’ve lost countless hours of sleep, you’ve cleaned up puke, you’ve made beds, you’ve read stories, you’ve walked to the park 8200 times just to get out of the house to do something, you’ve wrangled your kids at the grocery… You know exactly what I’m talking about, moms.
I know the dads do a lot too, especially in this day and age. BUT, whether a mom is working or not she still does more child rearing and housework than her partner. According to a recent study, after a baby is born dads reduce the amount of hours spent doing housework by five. What?! Moms are doing 22 hours of child rearing to dad’s 14. So, if Mom is doing 20 hours of cleaning and 22 hours of parenting, 13 total more hours per week than her partner (and this study was in dual income homes), no wonder she’s not always a shiny, happy person. So, make room on the couch, Dad. There’s a new sheriff in town, and her name is MOM.
So what can you do to tilt the scales back in your favor? Know this: Mother’s Day is your day and you must take control of it because if you don’t you’re going to be disappointed. Your partner is not a mind reader. Nor is he your knight in shining armor here to rescue and sweep you off your feet on Sunday, May 8th.
Right now I want you to let these ideas marinate so you can plan how you’d like to spend your day. Get your plan together and share it with your family. You’ve got to speak up because time is of the essence here, moms! Set the plan in motion!
Screeeeeech!!!!!!! No, you say? You can’t possibly do that to your partner? You feel guilty thinking he won’t surprise you and shower you with love and devotion because you’re the mother of his children? Not to be a Debbie Downer, but you’re not his mother. In fact, he’s probably already asked you to buy the Mother’s Day card for his mother because (a) he’s busy, (b) he’s not thinking ahead, (c) he doesn’t even know when Mother’s Day is or (d) all of the above.
I don’t want any mom to harbor resentment toward her partner because her Mother’s Day sucked. I don’t want any of you to feel bummed out, unloved, uncherished, or disappointed. So how do we ensure that doesn’t happen? We plan our day how we want it to go. Now, am I clear?
How do we get around our moms and mothers-in-law taking precedence over how we spend the day? It’s not easy. I’ll be honest with you; it’s actually kinda scary… we speak up! We share how we’d like the day to go for us, too. We incorporate ourselves into the mix. Trust me, I’ve been on the Mother’s Day tug of war for a dozen years now and it was nine years ago that I decided “Hey, this is so not a good time and I’m really not happy that this is how I’m spending my Mother’s Day.” So I stopped. I found the cojones and spoke up.
You can offer to set a different date to celebrate the grandmas. Or, you can take half the day to do what you want and the rest to show your mom and mother-in-law your appreciation. You just have to remember to set boundaries to make sure the day is about you as much as them.
As soon as you finish reading this I want you to start making plans to celebrate you and all that you’ve done for your family since becoming a mom. And for those of you whose husbands will put together a very special day as thanks? I love them. They are special men and clearly their moms raised them right. You are a lucky woman!
So, what are my favorite gifts for Mother’s Day?
Wine with a pair of monogrammed wine glasses, hold the flowers and chocolates… stay focused on the important stuff, people! With the caveat that my husband takes all three of my children out of the house for an afternoon so I can drink alone and watch Scandal.
A nice breakfast with my family, including mimosas and devices so I can get buzzy and chow while the kids are distracted from saying, “Mom!” every flipping five seconds. The restaurant doesn’t even need to be fancy. Heck, that’s even better, so maybe I don’t have to shower. Remember: today is my day. I want to go home stuffed and take a food coma nap in bed passed out to a good chick flick by myself. Family: “I’m not available, ask Daddy.”
Have someone else clean my house and then I get to be queen of the sparkling castle all alone for that day. Pull out the calendar, get the cleaning service booked for early in the day and tell your significant other to start planning where he’s taking the kids because it ain’t yo problem. GIT Tip: Protect this day with all your power and turn down incoming invitations. You already have plans, sorry, wish we could make it, but that day is my Mother’s Day gift.
Get a massage at home. Yup, that’s right. A masseuse comes to you with her own table, sheets, even music. Have her lug the cumbersome table up to your bedroom so that after you’ve been successfully kneaded and rubbed you can fall into bed and nap. Think about it, you don’t have to get dressed or emerge into the sunlight and drive home; you just shift your body four feet and keep on relaxing.
Go to a hotel ALONE. That’s right. Do not call me. I’ll call you. To be honest, I won’t. I will lock the hotel door, put the cozy white robe on, order room service, read trashy magazines and watch pay-per-view. Then order more food and wine and movies and sleep, glorious sleep with a late check-out with nowhere to rush to. GIT Tip: Stay over the Saturday night before Mother’s Day because you can meet your family after you check out refreshed and ready to return to Mommy Mode.
Free and Priceless
How ‘bout this one: Start a precedence on Mother’s Day weekend called “Daddy Time” where on a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon Dad is alone with the kids and in charge and you leave. And if you come back and the baby’s outfit is on backwards or the kitchen isn’t clean, bite your tongue and do not say a thing. Bask in the glory of the alone time you just had to be your own person, run 80 errands in the time you’d get maybe two things done toting your child around, and focus on the fact that you’ll get to repeat this wonderful present next weekend. Now, I am not a therapist, but, I set this precedent 12 years ago and now my husband can handle our three boys, as well as play dates, all at the same time. He’s a regular Mary Poppins and the house is not a disaster. Guide your significant other to being the best dad he can be by allowing him to take the reins and parent his way. Don’t hover or micromanage. Your child has two parents with distinct personalities he needs to experience. It’s never too late to begin a routine like this. Mother’s Day is the perfect time to begin and feel guilt-free because it’s your present. You’ll get a much deserved break, remove resentment that may have built up in your relationship and create huge appreciation from your partner while he’s alone with the kids.
So you’re wondering how I’ll be spending my Mother’s Day? After I finish writing here I’m going to go set-up my hotel stay with me, myself, and I. Happy Mother’s Day to all and to all a good night!
GIT Mom can get your kid to sleep through the night, stop waking up at an ungodly hour in the morning, and listen and respect you… so put a session with her at the top of your Mother’s Day gift list! Gift certificates are available. Looking for gifts with some local flavor? Then check out these options and support small businesses at the same time.
Eirene Heidelberger is a Chicago-based parent coach and a mom to three boys. Her business, GIT Mom, is dedicated to helping parents Get It Together so they have more time for the activities they most enjoy. When Moms have the right tools to create family balance, they have the freedom to create happy mommy time for themselves. Happy confident moms raise happy confident kids! You can reach her at www.GITMom.com and on Facebook at Facebook.com/GITMom.