Next year for Mother’s Day I won’t be disappointed.
“It’s not like it’s a birthday. It’s just Mother’s Day.” My brother echoed the words I hear at home. “You’re not my mom,” said my stepdad to my mom and my partner to me. But I’m the mother of your children.
For me Mother’s Day should be my award ceremony for all the puking nights and frequent soother searches under the bed. I used to be scared of spiders. Now I’m too tired to care.
And despite many melt-downs – begging the kids just to go to bed, loud growling noises that come out of me when homework or hair washing or grocery shopping turns into an overwhelming experience, and frequent tears of doubt about my ability to parent that follow all those moments of inadequacy – I know that no one would do as well for my kids as I am.
So where’s my award?
Do you ever feel like “whoa, I can’t handle all this responsibility”? Then just when you think you’re going to drown in your self-pity, someone gets sick or everyone gets sick, and you realize that actually you can go on. You realize that you are far more resilient than you ever imagined. All you needed was an important task to bring out the warrior inside that can handle anything.
Why does bath time wear me out so entirely but a week of sleepless nights with a puking child I can handle like a pro? Maybe, like in war, the constant crisis enables us to endure extreme exhaustion over long periods of time. Like war too, the sacrifices we make as mothers sometimes traumatize us for life.
On Mother’s Day I think about the moms out there who gave their kids up because they couldn’t care for them anymore. Did they realize they were just too drug addicted or poor to handle it anymore? Or did they succumb to those hateful doubts and self-recriminations that I suffer from too?
“I love my kids but they won’t talk to me,” a woman said to me at the drop-in one night. “Why not?” I asked. I sensed she wanted to talk about it.
“Because I’m working.”
I feel sad that her children don’t accept her for who she is. Being a drug addict hasn’t taken her beautiful soul. Selling sexual services hasn’t made her a monster. She is a woman. Sex work is woman’s work. Get over it.
Mother’s Day represents every school or daycare lunch I put together with all four food groups and plenty of fruit. It stands for every moment I’ve longed to spend by myself immersed in something creative rather than brushing teeth or helping with homework. It stands for dropping my child’s nap from my daily schedule because it’s best for my child, though God knows it’s not best for me.
Mother’s Day blows birthdays out of the water. So I was born, give my parents an award. Mother’s Day is my New Year’s Eve. I’m too tired for the real New Year’s Eve since I had kids. is a groggy hug after a nightmare, not a lingering kiss after too many cocktails.
Mother’s Day. It is the day for mothers. I have many roles but the mother in me is never turned off. Mother’s Day is my day.
Next year I won’t expect an award. I’ll be out for dinner with my mom and my sister-in-law where we will congratulate each other on another year of hard work and heartache watching our babies grow more and more independent with our guidance.
One day our children will forget about this bond we have, like I have forgotten what it was like for me and my own mother. My children will have their own children and the glory of motherhood will be replaced with the glory of grandmotherhood.
But for now, while I am still immersed in the mayhem and making of meals, pee on the floor and TV parental controls – Mother’s Day is MY day. I won’t expect an award, but I will definitely expect a nice, long footrub and some serious worshipping. I know…I won’t hold my breath. ;)