This may sound negative, but I hate Mother’s Day. It’s the most confusing holiday I celebrate, which is saying a lot for a nice Catholic girl who now celebrates Jewish holidays with her husband’s family. This year will be my fourth attempt to make peace with Mother’s Day. There are early indications that I am not falling in love with it anytime soon.
Each year I want to embrace the opportunity to celebrate motherhood, which is something that is very important to me. The first year, we took our infant daughter to an arboretum where I nursed her among the new spring buds, secretly longing for a spa day to myself. The second year we went to brunch, which I thought would somehow magically be fun—even though every other time we’d had eaten out with our now-toddler daughter, it felt like surviving a battle. Even if the weapons were just tomatoes and half-eaten grapes, it was hard to smile like it was the celebration I’d dreamed of. I spent most of that meal keeping my daughter from eating sugar packets, and again, secretly wishing that I was at a spa day. Alone.
Drive me to the spa, drop me off and don’t come back until I have had a chance to pee at least twice on my own.
And therein lies my confusion. On Mother’s Day, am I supposed to be spending the day mothering? I feel compelled to dress my kids up and shepherd them through some overpriced lunch buffet (if we could even get reservations) or frolic out in nature in a reverent celebration of both motherhood and spring. The drawback to those plans is that even if they are fun (and more than 50 percent of the time they are not), they are a great deal of work. More work than I want to be doing on a day that’s supposed to celebrate all the stuff I’ve already done.
But, even though giving mothers spa certificates as a gift is popular, it doesn’t seem like checking out for a nice chunk of actual Mother’s Day to use those gift certificates is. And truly, that’s what I want: soothing Enya music wafting through invisible speakers, a lavender candle and herbal tea—all a prelude to a deep tissue massage. And then a nap. Alone. I don’t want the mere promise of a massage for some day in the future. Please don’t make me defer the pampering. Drive me to the spa, drop me off and don’t come back until I have had a chance to pee at least twice on my own.
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This Mother’s Day I am happy to spend part of the day mothering (at home), as long as I get a chance to relax and let someone take care of me for a few hours. Let’s save the hard work of having an adventure (or a meal out) with the kids for some other time. Like Father’s Day.