As little kids, my siblings and I used to make our Mom breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. I can recall waking up extra early to put a plan in place. We would make a huge mess and eventually place some poorly scrambled eggs and burnt toast on a tray with dandelions we picked from the back yard and stuck in a juice glass. When you say “it’s the thought that counts,” it REALLY was. I’m sure the cold eggs and dry toast we delivered to Mom in bed would not have received a 5 star rating from Yelp. But surely the fact that 3 little kids wanted to do something nice for her to make her feel special is enough to make one weep. But, you can only hope Dad had a back up plan for food! After becoming a Mother, I remember saying to my Mom, you did SO much for us, and then we WOKE YOU UP for a bad breakfast!?? You must have wanted to say, “Oh you didn’t have to do this…you could have just let me SLEEP..” or, “… Thank you for the cold eggs and blackened toast, you know you could have just sent me to a remote island somewhere and locked me in a hotel suite for a weekend…. But this is sweet too!”
To my Mother who deserves to spend the rest of her life in a first class resort never lifting a finger, you are worth much more than any gift you have received from me. For every thankless moment of motherhood, I send you a thousand thank you’s and for every hour of sleep deprivation I have caused you; from the bottom of my heart I apologize. You are a Saint among us and I’m just honored you still want to speak to me with all the drama I have put you through starting with your iron deficiency I caused from the womb and the excruciatingly painful and drug free backbone to backbone delivery… I mean..Mom really… still hanging in there with me since ’75.. Wow… What on earth have I done to deserve you?? You are the most selfless, loving, nurturing soul and if I am only a third of that I know Issy will be just fine.
Truth be told anything my child or husband does for me makes me sob for days because I’m as sensitive as they come. When my husband sends her running into me in the morning exclaiming “Happy Mother’s Day Mommy”, I am a crying fool- no exaggeration. But, look, if you are searching for the perfect gift, the marketing team behind Mother’s Day has a myriad of genius items at a 100% mark up with a 20% coupon code all over the inter webs, but here are a few things that moms REALLY want that even fit even budget of a 2 year old:
1.) We want to be showered with love and appreciation… Literally- like actual KISSES and the words THANK YOU . When my daughter says thank you when I bring her something and I don’t have to remind her, my heart melts, especially if she says ,”Thank you Mama.” I mean, I’m putty in her hands! Oh my sweet, polite, grateful child…. what have I done to deserve this gift! Any acknowledgement does not go unnoticed. If you add a few kisses on top of that we are in heaven. Trust me.
2) We want to feel beautiful though we are often covered in boogers. Yesterday after wiping her nose on my long black sweater/shirt /librarian/mom uniform outfit item, my daughter said, “Mommy, you wear this all the time,” (She’s right…) But there are also moments when I put on other clothes with buttons or zippers and wear shoes that aren’t my Toms and she says, “Wow Mama you look like a beautiful Princess! “Or when I come out the shower presumably at 11pm and my husband says,” You look really pretty right now.” to which I respond with tear filled eyes, “I DOOOOO? You think I’m pretty??” Once I had my daughter, I just stopped considering myself. I only buy clothes for her. When I pack lunch for a day at the park, I only pack lunch for her. (It’s not admirable; I’m not trying to prove how amazing and selfless I am …I just became that way). Something happens in motherhood where you just forget to include yourself as someone that needs to be clothed and fed and get a haircut! But letting us know we still got it, reminds us that we too exist and its ok to buy a new shirt sometimes.
3) We just want time alone every once in a while. We want solitary poops and long quiet showers… We want to enjoy Trader Joe’s and Target by ourselves. We can be more efficient this way and happier really. I used to feel bad when my husband would say, ” I got her , why don’t you go get your nails done or grab coffee..?” I would look around and say,“No its fine…. can you could just entertain her so I can fold these clothes or scrub the shower doors..” HELL NO- NOT ANYMORE. Now I realize that trying to do everything and be a supermom helps NO ONE. You end up feeling angry and resentful and we all know the shower doors can never actually remain clean if the entire household does not use the squeegee anyway, so just go! These moments alone benefit the entire family. If you want a sane mother, love her and let her go free every once in a while.
4) We want to know we are doing a good job. There are an infinite number of milestones children are expected to meet by adulthood in order to be considered functioning members of society. Things like potty training, manners, sleeping through the night, socialization… generally just not being an asshole…these are some of the responsibilities that both parents have to their children, but in many cases, it’s the Mom who feels it’s a reflection on only her if these milestones are not being met by a certain time. I am that Mom. If my daughter doesn’t say “thank you” or “excuse me” or is still waking up at night at 3 1/2( like she is), I immediately think,“Well, you’re not really doing YOUR JOB woman. You don’t deserve to go to the bathroom alone or certainly not a few hours out with a girlfriend! READ MORE PARENTING BOOKS AND HUFF PO PARENT ARTICLES!!!” Next time your child acts out or has a tantrum, say something like,“That kid is impossible; I don’t know how you do it!” or when your child is talking and going on and on moving you closer to insanity after a long day, you could say, “Wow honey, her language skills are off the chart. I can’t believe she has this vocabulary at this age! I see why you insist on reading books every night.” We just need to know that we aren’t royally screwing up, that’s all.
5) We want Mother’s Day everyday . Look, we don’t need the grand gestures; I mean we will take them on Mother’s Day if you insist, fine. We will accept the flowers and certainly no one is going to object to a spa weekend for heaven’s sake. But really we just want a “thank you”, or a “this was delicious”, (even if it really wasn’t) or a “I dunno what I’d do without you” … This goes for Fathers Day too and every Hallmark holiday that exists. Maybe that’s the point of these days to remind us that we need to be good to each other everyday, especially when its not “required”. Its not about being good to your mother when every commercial and billboard is reminding you to do so. Its about being good to her when she doesn’t have the capacity to be at her best because she hasn’t slept, or eaten a full meal in God knows how long. Its about being grateful to her everyday for putting her life on hold to focus on you and put your needs first before considering what she wanted to do for her life. The beautiful Mothers Day flowers you send will wilt, the special brunch will be devoured, but love and gratitude are always welcome and enjoyed and you certainly don’t need a coupon code for that.
My adorable siblings and I who woke up this beautiful woman for burnt toast and cold eggs through the ’80’s