Boy, was I shocked when I got ‘schooled’ after I mentioned to my son’s father that this Mother’s Day, I want to spend only half the day with my son, and that I was going to spend the rest of the day just with my daughter. This is obviously because I love my daughter more than my son. I’m kidding. I love both my kids equally, but that doesn’t mean I want to spend Mother’s Day with both kids for an entire day. I know, it sounds awful, doesn’t it? What kind of mother, after all, chooses to spend Mother’s Day, with only one of their children? I’ll tell you who. Me!
Judge away, but let’s be realistic. First, I’m a single mother and only one of my kids really understands Mother’s Day. Hallmark holiday or not, I get this ONE day, in my opinion, to do whatever the hell I want, without any judgment from anyone.
My five year-old doesn’t understand what Mother’s Day is, and, more importantly, he won’t give a shit about what I want to do on Mother’s Day. Do you really think that my five year-old is making brunch reservations for me? Truthfully, I just don’t want a sucky Mother’s day. After all, aren’t us mothers the honourees on this holiday to celebrate moms? Doesn’t that mean we can choose what or who we want to spend it with?
I know exactly how Mother’s Day will go down if I spend the entire day with my five year-old. He’ll wake me up at 7 a.m. and I’ll say something like, “Please be a good boy today and no crying or complaining or whining because it’s Mommy’s Day, which means you have to listen to me and not complain.” To which my son, Holt, would ask, because he’s five, “How many more minutes is Mother’s Day?” And he would ask this, every five minutes, for the entire day.
I couldn’t believe how judgemental his father was, as if not spending the entire day with my son on Mother’s Day made me an awful parent and that somehow, I was ruining my relationship with my son. “It’s unheard of to not spend time with your children on Mother’s Day,” he wrote. “Mother’s Day is about families celebrating their mother, hard for Holt to do that if he is with me…”
Really? Unheard of? Most – but not all – of the mothers I know, really want one thing for Mother’s Day and that is the gift of…NOT having the responsibility of being a mother…just for one damn day! Or at least part of the day.
Am I being an awful mother by asking my son’s father to take our son for the afternoon on Mother’s Day while I hang out with my 14 year-old daughter, who has planned something ‘special’ and ‘secret’ for me? Is it really THAT wrong to want to spend Mothers Day – MY DAY – with just one of my children, the one who doesn’t whine, is always in a good mood, and is excited to celebrate this day with me? Is there some rule, or did I miss the memo, that says you need to spend Mother’s Day with all your children..or else?
My five year-old doesn’t care about Mother’s Day. He is too young to understand what would make mommy really happy on Mother’s Day. He doesn’t even know what day of the week it is. Also, as a single mother, spending the entire day with a five year-old on Mother’s Day would be just like…every other damn Sunday. So why can’t I ask for half a day off from my five year-old pint-size dictator?
Mother’s Day is pretty black and white. Either you want to spend the day with your children or you don’t.
Stephanie Simspn Lazenby, who wrote this article in Redbook, gets it. She writes, “Do you know what I like to do on Mother’s Day? Anything I damn well please. Sleep late. Go to the beach. Read outside while sipping chardonnay. Most mothers I know just want free time on Mother’s Day. That’s literally the gift that we want: time to ourselves without our children.”
She continues, “Those first years, I was disappointed in myself that I didn’t stand up for my needs more. I didn’t have it in me yet to say to my new family, ‘No, I don’t want to hang out today with you guys today. I’m with you every single day. I need a break.’”
Meanwhile, do you know how many men I know who choose to spend Father’s Day on the golf course, away from the family for most or part of the day? Plus, it’s not like I’m doing nothing with my son. At his school there’s a Mother’s Day tea, which I’m really looking forward to. I’m also looking forward to the artwork that his teachers have forced him to to make for me. And, I will be waking up with him on Mother’s Day, which means no morning mimosas for this Mama.
If you want to spend the entire day with your children, good on you. If you want to spend the entire day at the spa alone, good for you! If you want to only spend half the day with your children and half the day getting a manicure and pedicure, good for you. If I actually thought my son would feel left out, or it would affect him for life, of course I would spend Mother’s Day with him. But, frankly, at this age, he cares more about collecting ants in the backyard than celebrating me.
When I asked a male colleague how his wife celebrates Mother’s Day, he said his wife is all about being with their three children all day, which I respect (and admire!) My colleague brought up another point that I hadn’t thought of, which is, that on most Sundays, parents with more than one kid usually have to conquer and divide, with one parent taking one kid to a birthday party and the other parent taking the other kids to soccer practice or a playdate. Is it ‘unheard of,’ on every other Sunday of the year for families not to spend the entire day with all the children? Nope.
Lazenby also writes, “This Mother’s Day, I’m making sure that I do what I want and not what I’m expected to do. To tell the truth, I haven’t decided yet what that means — and that’s the glorious joy of anticipating this year’s Mother’s Day. The day is free to choose however I want. Whatever I do, I can guarantee that I will be sleeping late and I will not be washing a single dish.”
And there it is, as I tried to explain to my ex that mothers choose to spend Mother’s Day in all sorts of ways. I will be waking up with my son on Mother’s Day morning, which means no sleep in, and also there will be breakfast dishes, which means just another morning of parenting.
“And I think all moms should take back ownership of this Hallmark holiday we’ve all pretended to enjoy too long. So this Mother’s Day, ask your family for what you really want — and do whatever you damn well please.” Lazenby writes. Amen!
So while it may seem odd that I just want to spend half the day with my son, and the full day with my daughter, I have my reasons. My son isn’t going to be scarred for life by only spending half of Mother’s Day with me, because to him, it’s just another Sunday, where I would be catering to his every want and need.
So, yes, I’m creating my own Mother’s Day, which includes spending the entire day with one of my children, and half the day with the other. Do you create your own Mother’s Day? Or do you feel obligated to spend the day with your children?
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