For the past week, I’ve been seeing articles up the wazoo proclaiming lists of “what moms REALLY want for Mother’s Day.” The lists often include “nots,” like not chocolate (ugh, the calories), not flowers (ugh, the allergies), not horrible children-made meals involving burnt toast and germy scrambled eggs complete with bits of shell (just plain ugh). But one of the most popular “wants” is actually wanting to get AWAY from her children.
Oh, the irony.
But I understand it. I totally do. As much as I love my children, I’ll be the first to admit that they can be exhausting, especially for a mom like me, who could be described as “tightly-wound” (and that’s being generous). When I’m with my kids, I’m hyperconscious of their every move. I want to be sure they’re not being too loud, that they’re using good manners, that they’re not getting in the way of people around us, that they’re not annoying anyone, that they’re not touching anything they shouldn’t, that they’re not getting into trouble, that they’re not wiping their nose on a stranger’s sleeve.
So what I want to get away from on Mother’s Day is not my children; it’s being IN CHARGE OF my children. What I wanted for Mother’s Day this year was the chance to enjoy my children without having to worry about taking care of them. So when my husband (who had also read all those “what moms really want” articles) offered to take the kids somewhere for the day and leave me alone, that’s what I told him: I want to spend the day together as a family, but I don’t want to be in charge of anyone except myself. So that’s exactly what we did.
After church, we went out to lunch, and my husband ordered for the kids. (I will admit that I couldn’t help myself and I prompted them both to tell the waitress their orders and to say “thank you” when she brought their food. Some habits are hard to break.) He dealt with the mini-meltdown that resulted when he told them it was time to put the Kindles away and eat their lunch. When we got back home after lunch, he put my daughter down for her nap and helped my son put on his swimsuit, and he was the one who was responsible for making sure he was safe in the pool (not an easy job with DangerBoy seriously overestimating his swimming abilities). When my daughter woke up, my husband brought her down and got her ready for pool time, then supervised both of them while I lounged in the sunshine, enjoying watching all three of them as well as the random cat who wandered by and joined me in lounging in the sunshine.
It was the best present I could have gotten. It reminded me why I love being a mom so much: it’s because I really do enjoy my kids. And when I get a moment to shed the stress of constantly watching over them, keeping them safe, teaching them how to be pleasant, mannerly human beings, I realize how much I really do enjoy them, and how much I enjoy being their mom.
And isn’t that what Mother’s Day is for?