Mother’s Day Is My Day, It’s Not For My Mom Or MIL
They’re not in the trenches, we are, and we deserve a day that’s just for us.
Mother’s Day twelve years ago was my breaking point. I woke up dreading it. My then-husband had invited his mother over, and I invited mine, too, because I thought I had to. And the whole day was one exhausting thing after another.
My kids were toddlers and completely excited to see their grandmothers. Their dad tried to keep them under control while I cooked and baked for seven people, but we all know how that goes. I didn’t sit down until everyone got there, and when I did, I barely got to eat, because the kids wanted one thing after the other from me. So did my guests. Then I had to clean up the mess that had been left behind. On freaking Mother’s Day. I was so mad I couldn’t see straight.
My mother and mother-in-law didn’t even notice how stressed I’d been. My then-husband said he’d clean up later, but I knew that probably wouldn’t happen and I’d be left with it the next day. I was resentful. I really needed a true day when I didn’t have to make things wonderful for other people.
I was angry and I told my then-husband from now on, I wanted to spend the day with him and the kids and no one else. I wanted to be taken out to eat and then order in for dinner.
He replied: “My mom can’t stop over? It’s Mother’s Day.”
I told him no. That her time was up. She was retired and got to relax all the time, and she’d had many years of being celebrated when her kids were living at home. I felt like she came over and wanted to be waited on without paying much attention to her grandkids, then left. Same with my mom. This was my damn day because hello, I was the mother of his young kids. If he wanted, he could take the kids to her house for a few hours that day so I could relax. He never did, and his mom wasn’t crazy about the idea either. I wanted to celebrate our moms on Mother’s Day, but this was becoming too much and I wasn’t being celebrated at all.
I’d always celebrated my mother on Mother’s Day in high school and college, my sisters and I became mothers ourselves. After we had families of our own, it became harder to celebrate so elaborately on Mother’s Day, and I could tell my mom was disappointed. In the years that followed after I put my foot down, we all got dressed up, snapped a family picture, and went out to eat. No visitors were allowed. I am so glad I set the tone for what I wanted because I’ve never regretted it.
Now that I am divorced, I do lunch with my mom the week before and sushi with my kids on Mother’s Day. That’s it, and it’s glorious.
The way I see it, moms who have young kids living at home do enough. We are the ones in the trenches and we deserve a day that’s for us. The truth is, our mothers and mothers-in-law aren’t running kids to practice, making dinner for a family every night, or doing any of the hard labor we are. There was a time when they did, but now, we’re up. We are the ones who deserve to do whatever we want on that day and, if that means canceling plans with our mothers and MILs, then so be it.
Some might really look forward to hosting their moms on Mother’s Day. Maybe they’re getting the help they need and don’t feel like it is all on their shoulders to make a day that should be for them, about someone else. That’s wonderful! But not the case for a lot of us.
We all deserve the feeling I have when I wake up on Mother’s Day now. Chase it.
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