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Mother’s Day: Expectations vs. Realities

Mother’s Day: Expectations vs. Realities

Most mothers have some expectations about our Mother’s Day plans and celebrations. Many of us envision sleeping in, being served breakfast in bed by the kids and handed flowers by our doting husband or partner. Everyone is all smiles and ready for a perfect day..….until a dose of reality hits as soon as we walk out of the bedroom door and the day really begins!

Our Dreams

Each year, my husband and a few of his friends try to plan a guy’s weekend. When he tells me that they finally found a weekend where everyone was free, I had to send him right back to the calendar. The weekend appeared open to all four men because the weekend they had in mind was Mother’s Day weekend. That would certainly not be a dream Mother’s Day for me!

I polled some fellow mothers about what their “dream” Mother’s Day would bring. Here’s what a few had to say:

  • With a 3 year old and 3 month old at home, all I want is a full night of sleep, for the kids to nap and go to bed with ease, and some extra help taking care of the “can you help me…” and “I wants…” – just for the day, hah!
  • Wake up in a swanky hotel that I slept in alone, ordering room service that I eat while it’s still hot with no one touching me, and then spending the day alternating between the hot tub with a good book and Netflix.
  • Breakfast in bed, spending the day at the beach with kiddo and husband where I get to sit with my eyes closed in the sun and don’t have to toddler-wrangle or put sunscreen on anyone other than myself.
  • The dream would be brunch at an over-the-top brunch place, mimosa are a must! Then I would spend the whole afternoon at the spa getting a massage, mud soak, and manicure/pedicure.

Personally, my deepest desire year after year is to simply crawl out of bed, drink a large cup of hot coffee and tackle the LA Times Sunday crossword puzzle, which is my guilty pleasure. Usually the outcome is plopping that cup down on the crossword puzzle so I can head off to play referee between the kids..…only to come back to a cold cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle with a big coffee ring mark!

Our Realities

I want to believe that if our husbands/significant others and children had all the power in the world, they would try to offer us our dream day. Reality is….that isn’t reality.
This is reality:

  • One year our fridge broke on Mother’s Day. All the plans I had to relax were gone as I quickly shopped for a new fridge. This stressed my husband out, which in hand stressed me out and I think I yelled at him that he was ruining my day.
  • Our elementary school has a “Mother’s Day Boutique” each year for the students to purchase small gifts. There were two years where my children both attended the school before my son graduated. Two years in a row, I received the same “I LOVE MOM” pens from both kids! I realized that I took it for granted because during my son’s first year of middle school, I jokingly asked him what he was going to buy me and he said…”Nothing – middle school doesn’t have a Mother’s Day Boutique.”
  • I’m thrilled to have my own mother and mother-in-law to celebrate with. It’s truly a blessing, but often the day is split in two – half with my mom and half with my mother-in-law. Selfishly, I want to raise my hand to say “I’m a mom too!” By the time I get home that night I’m exhausted and feel a little bit neglected!
  • One year, we spent hours upon hours at the zoo on what had to be the hottest Mother’s Day in record. I’m telling you – the giraffe at the zoo received more attention than I did. And I don’t even think she was a mom.
  • My husband works in retail management, so he works on Mother’s Day to give the women/mothers he works with the day off. So it’s just me and my toddler hanging out for the day. Last year we went out for breakfast and went to the mall for a bit of shopping. I grabbed some of my favorite Lebanese food on the way home, put my son down for his nap and enjoyed my 2-hour nap break with some yummy food and Netflix! I am pretty sure this is 100% what we will be doing again this year… falafels included!
  • Afternoon tea and golf with the kid and husband sounded like a good idea. Unfortunately, they argue when they play golf and don’t know how to sit still for a decent cup of tea.
  • Anyone who has children in spring sports knows that the schedules are hectic and the weather is unpredictable. Games often get rained out – which results in make-up games at the crack of dawn on Mother’s Day.
  • Let’s face it. Mother’s Day is on a Sunday. The weekends are our time to do errands. Raise your hand if you’ve done laundry and food shopping on Mother’s Day.
  • Honestly, I don’t even care that much. But for the love of all things, make them stop asking me, “What do you want to do for Mother’s Day?” “What do you want for Mother’s Day?” I’m not that hard to please, people. Do I have to plan this too?
  • I think I leave enough hints around and mention things that would be fun to do. But, already thinking I should make the reservations for the “what I want to do” before it is all booked up!
  • My 3 year old is generally a good sleeper, but somehow she knows when it’s a special occasion or a big day the next day and surprises us with a middle of the night wake-up!
  • An attempt at me sleeping in, but me being woken up by my husband shouting, “Be quiet! Don’t wake up Mommy!” followed by “brunch” somewhere kid-friendly (AKA fast food). Later I might get to close my eyes for a second while some cartoon is on in the background only to wake up to a messy house. The day will probably end with me stepping on a Lego. But with hugs and kisses reminding me it’s all worth it.
  • My husband gave our then 10 year old some money to buy a Mother’s Day present. He sent him into the drugstore and said to purchase something nice, but useful. He proudly emerges with a box of hair dye. When my husband questioned him, our 10 year old’s response was…”You said to buy something useful. Mom uses this.” Needless to say, that “gift” was not presented to me.
  • About 15 years ago my family gifted me with a gadget as seen on TV called the Perfect Pancake. I spent MY special day cooking for them. The best part was, when I used the handle to flip the pan, the device split into pieces, with screws and batter flying all over the place. Some gift
  • Last year was my first Mother’s Day and it monsooned the entire day. We got at least 100 inches of rain in 12 hours and it was in the 40’s out. I had dreamed up a beautiful day spent in the park with my husband and almost 1 year old where we’d have a picnic and play all day. Instead, we had a picnic in our basement near the litter box and the running washing machine and my son ate almost all of the best cheese that my husband had picked out. We still had a fun day, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
  • For my first Mother’s Day I received a bag of coffee beans because my husband said I looked like I could use the caffeine (we didn’t even have a grinder, but we did have a baby who never slept). Known for his “jokes” I waited all day for my real gift to surface…I’m still waiting. I have, however, received 22 years worth of priceless handmade cards and gifts from my kids. It doesn’t let their dad off the hook for that obvious lapse in judgment, but it does make every Mother’s Day complete.

 

As many a mom can attest to, Mother’s Day itself does not always turn out as magical as we would have hoped. If you happen to experience an event similar to some of the “realities” above know that you are not alone. Hopefully you can smile and laugh about it one day too. Even if it is tough to believe at the time, it is all out of love. Your family just wants to be with YOU to celebrate all that YOU mean to them.

At the end of the day, I know that I wouldn’t trade any of it. I don’t think any of us would.

Happy Mother’s Day to all! I hope your day is a special as you are!

My name is Melissa – I’m a native New Yorker and the mother of two school-aged children. My son is in middle school and my daughter is in elementary school and they are both Bright Horizons alumni. I love working for an organization that has meant so much to our family. As an Enrollment Counselor, I assist families with the enrollment process for our centers in NYC. What a way to pay it forward! Having been through the incredible Bright Horizons experience as parent, from infants all the way through Kindergarten Prep, I’m so happy to be able to share some of my views and experiences with The Family Room community.

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