I see you, mama. You’re rocking your signature yoga pants and mom bun. The only makeup you’re wearing is a bit to conceal the dark circles under your eyes from sleep deprivation. You haven’t been to a hair salon since the Obama administration. You’re spending all day cleaning up your kids’ messes, when we both know they’re going to make an even bigger mess before you can even finish scrubbing.
Mother’s Day is a day away, and I have a pretty radical suggestion for you this year: Treat yourself.
I know. I know. It seems weird because you spend so much time treating everyone else. Your kids look like the cover of a Hanna Andersson catalog, while your own clothes are older than them. (I know I personally look like The Dude in The Big Lebowski most days). The most exclusive place you go is Costco. The most solitude you get is scrolling through your Facebook feed while you hide in the bathroom.
I know, because you’re a mother, you’d probably do anything for your family. You probably trudged through agonizing hours waiting for your baby during labor. You kissed dozens of boo-boos. You’ve packed hundreds of lunches. You’ve sat through two seasons of Caillou, even though you hate that little turd. You’ve healed broken hearts. You’ve played the role of Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter bunny and a functioning human being every day even though you are so very exhausted.
I know you do it all for the love of your family and not the recognition. You savor your babies’ slobbery kisses and believe that you’re the lucky one. You believe these exhausting days selflessly taking care of your family are the best ones of your life. You don’t seem to notice that you’re going on day three (or it is four?) of dry shampoo use because you’re so focused on your toddler’s growing vocabulary and wondering how time goes by so fast.
You’re right — you are lucky. From the moment your kids wake up to the time you tuck them in at night, they need you. Whether they’re celebrating a birthday or blubbering about a playground scuffle, they want you. No matter how Pinterest-worthy their parties are, how messy the house is, or how much of a hot mess you feel like most days, they love you. It’s a blessing to be so intensely loved. I know you just want to bottle it up and save it for years from now when they don’t need to be tucked in anymore.
But they’re lucky too. You hear “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” so many times a day because you’re just so damn good at what you do. No one can love those kids like you do. You’re absolutely irreplaceable. Maybe you’re not a soccer mom, a crunchy mom, the cool mom, or whatever other kind of label we’re slapping on moms these days. You’re your own kind of mom, and it’s beautiful. You are rocking motherhood.
Mother’s Day is the one day of the year we celebrate just how incredible you are. Now, I know there’s just not a greeting card cheesy enough or a macaroni necklace that quite captures just how much you are valued. So the very least you can do is to take the day to appreciate yourself and do whatever the hell you want.
Whatever your idea of treating yourself is, do that. Go buy yourself something pretty. Go to Target alone. Go lock yourself in your room and watch trashy reality shows. Go order a lavish latte with extra whip. Sleep in. Meet a friend for brunch and mimosas. Book a massage. Take a nap. Let your partner take 24-hour diaper duty. Order dessert. Go get a pedicure. See whatever movie you choose. Read a book without pictures.
You have one of the hardest jobs in the world, and you’re fantastic at it. The only thing you may not be so great at is taking time for yourself. Frankly, you deserve more than any gift you could receive. You deserve to take one day and love yourself for the spectacular mother you are.
So, please, this Mother’s Day, do exactly that and treat yourself. Happy Mother’s Day!