Yes, this is another post about how hard it is to be a mom. Working, staying at home, doing a little of both, nursing, bottle feeding, baby-wearing or stroller toting can all make for a pretty thankless, high pressure, no-break existence that deserves just one day of peace and quiet. What we really want for Mother’s Day can’t be found at a department store or in a jewelry case. What we crave isn’t in a chocolatier shop or even on a street corner. Oh no. It’s something that we probably won’t get. Every Mother’s Day the family celebrates us with presents and maybe breakfast in bed (where someone smears jam on our sheets…oh joy!), and while that’s adorable (and I still have photo frames made out of popsicle sticks that I cherish from my munchkins), there is something we want that we almost never get.
Can we be left alone?
That seems anti-social. Shouldn’t we want to be at that barbecue with the whole family and the pie and everything else that comes with it? I guess. But I think we would rather wake up to an empty house and a note that says, “Left $50 on the counter, go out or stay home, enjoy yourself, we won’t be back until after dinner.”
The truth is, I haven’t peed with the door shut in ten years. Sleep is something I once did in my twenties for long, blissful, uninterrupted hours on end. It was a thing I just never imagined I wouldn’t have. For the last decade I’ve either been nursing or had someone’s foot jammed into my ribcage (either from the inside or the outside) every night. We are always accessible, aren’t we, at the beck and call of our brood?
I don’t want brunch, where I will inevitably apologize two hundred times to the waitress because the toddler can’t keep food in his mouth and 80% of it ends up on the floor. I don’t need waffles, I need my autonomy back (and a shower before 4 p.m.)!
I just want to wander around a store … even the grocery store … without someone begging me for every item we pass or tossing grapes on the floor that somehow got into the hands of the baby when I was bagging up carrots.
As I type this I can hear my mother in my head telling me that she misses those days and would give anything to have them back. I’m sure that’s true. It’s awfully hard to feel it when you’re smack in the middle of a 2 a.m. wake-up call because a kid is vomiting undigested shrimp from the top bunk onto the carpet (and her little sister). True story.
There are times when I look at my children and my heart hurts with the knowledge that they will never be this way ever again as each passing moment takes them closer to adulthood. Every minute they are older. And each of those minutes is precious … even the ones when I’m trying to pee and the little one has to watch intently to make sure I don’t disappear. I do adore them. And at the same time, I need a break and I feel guilty for asking for one. This is the riddle of being Mom. We love them so much it physically hurts…..and we can’t wait until they move out!
Truthfully, we have a tendency as moms to forget who we were pre-children. We put aside our hobbies and interests because there are so many demands on our time and attention that the small things that brought us pleasure, that made us an individual got left behind. I find that all that’s needed to remind me of those things is a quiet afternoon at a sunny table with a favorite drink.
So dads, take my word for it. This Mother’s Day, just take the kids somewhere for a special day with Dad and leave Mom to her own devices for a few hours to recharge. She might just sleep in or read a book, but whatever she does with a real day off will be the best gift you could give her.