Mother's Day Is Looking Like a Hard Pass For Me This Year
Moms across the nation are already preparing for a Mother’s Day that’s slightly different than the typical celebration.
Still sheltering in place, some proactive mamas are ordering bath bombs and hydrating sheet masks for a makeshift at-home spa day while others are organizing a virtual “gathering” of their best mom friends and adding Champagne and orange juice to that week’s grocery delivery list. Judging by my Facebook feed, in which hundreds of women are tagging their husbands to posts highlighting “easy mess-free Mother’s Day craft ideas that take less than five minutes,” it seems plenty of moms are still hoping to get some semblance of a homemade gift from their kids.
This year especially, I don’t need another hope to be dashed or another plan not to go as promised.
All these women are powerful examples of the resilience of motherhood – they keep calm and carry on, and they are able to make lemonade from lemons, or, rather, a bottomless mimosa brunch out of Instacart and WiFi. My hat is off to these moms, carrying on with the tradition, which even in the brightest of years, seems to require more work on the part of the honorees than everyone else.
Nevertheless, I want you to know that Mother’s Day is cancelled. At least, it is for me.
I’ll be treating May 10 like any other day of the week (and we all know how blurry the days have begun to feel) because, in the seven weeks I’ve been distancing with my husband and two young children, I’ve learned that expectation of any kind just breeds disappointment.
And on days where I don’t get a single item checked off of my to-do list – which now includes such low-hanging fruit as “brush teeth” and “make bed” – I don’t need another opportunity to feel bad about this time.
I don’t need to lock myself in a bathroom to soak in a tub while my kids bang on the door asking, “Mommy, can we pweeeease come in?” before their dad shoos them away for the fifth time. I don’t need to hide out in my bedroom with Netflix blaring full blast through my headphones to drown out the yelling and shrieking down the hall. I don’t need to remind my husband where we keep the glue and glitter for a “surprise” they are working on for me.
I don’t need breakfast in bed. I just cleaned the sheets two weeks ago – don’t make me do it again so soon. I don’t need a foot rub or a back massage. I have so many tiny hands pawing at me all day as it is. I don’t need the “night off” from doing the bedtime routine. Father’s Day is just a few more weeks away, and I’ll be way too tired by then to return the favor, so let’s just call it even.
I don’t need another gift that will feel like an obligation. And this year especially, I don’t need another hope to be dashed or another plan not to go as promised.
It’s not that I’m against celebrations during this time. We had an Easter filled with at-home versions of our favorite traditions, and when a dear friend turned 40, I lit birthday candles and donned pointy hats for her surprise Zoom party. If one of my kids was turning another year older right about now, I’m certain I’d be orchestrating one of those physically distant car parades and taking a day off work to bake an overly complicated cake.
But I just can’t bear the thought of putting effort into the illusion of self-care when I know it will just feel like more self-inflicted work.
So, my fellow mamas out there, even those dutifully planning their own Mother’s Days: if you are feeling like I do, it’s OK to opt out. It’s OK to have no other goal than to get through the day like it were any other. It’s OK to cancel Mother’s Day, too.
And fathers, this goes the same for you come June.