Family life

The dilemma of Mother's Day

Celebrate yourself or your mom(s), or find a way to do it all? That is Tracy's dilemma. Is it yours?

By Tracy Chappell
The dilemma of Mother's Day

Me and one of the many reasons I celebrate M-Day.

Before you became a mom, who did you celebrate on Mother’s Day? It’s a no-brainer, right? Mom. Grandma. Maybe sisters and besties or a wonderful like-a-mom person in your life, too. This is the day every year that is set aside to heap love and gratitude upon special women in our lives. Take them for brunch. Buy them special tokens and cards that bring a tear to their eye and remind them that you appreciate all they’ve done.
Then you have a baby of your own. Lots of things change, and that first Mother’s Day is one of them. Maybe you have a newly-elevated respect for your own mother (how on earth did she survive let alone get dinner on the table every night?) and overwhelming appreciation for all she’s done to help in the early days of your own parenting adventure (if you’re like me, the goodbye-and-thank-you hug turned into a please-don’t-leave-me death grip she had to pry herself out of).
But you are now a mother yourself and maybe you’re looking for a little acknowledgement of all those sleepless nights, stretch marks and heaps of energy you’re pouring into this wonderful little being you created. Yes, motherhood is an honour and a privilege and all that, but it’s hard too, especially in the early years when it feels like you’re giving and giving and giving until there’s nothing left of you. It’s nice to have a day set aside where people are sort of obligated to acknowledge your efforts and give you a little pat on the back or — have mercy — a nap. I’m feeling a little more selfless (and rested) these days, but I admit, in my first few years of motherhood, I clung to Mother’s Day like it was my hard-fought right: [insert] “What about me? Where’s my day of pampering?”
Herein lies the dilemma: How do you make Mother’s Day be even partially about you, without looking selfish for not making it all about your mom? 
Dilemma #2: What happens when you have more than one mom to celebrate, which many of us do? Then you have to slice up Mother’s Day (if that’s even possible) or risk leaving someone out.
In our case, we have three moms to honour on Mother’s Day, all living in different cities. It’s a terrible situation when you love your moms as much as we do. They are all incredibly gracious about it — no one would ever make us feel bad — but they don’t have to. It feels like failure before it even begins because it is a very meaningful occasion. And if I do want to squeeze in a little “me time,” I feel guilty about that too. (Note: My mom always had her mother and mother-in-law over for dinner on Mother's Day without fail. My mom is the polar opposite of selfish.)
I’m not without solutions to these dilemmas. First up is expanding Mother’s Day into Mother’s Weekend. That gives us a day for our moms and a day for ourselves. I like it. My other idea is to declare a stat holiday called Mom’s Day Off. This should be some random Wednesday in a warm-weather month where every mom gets a day off — not to be celebrated, but to just be alone. Because if I know moms, I know that most of us would pass up that mani-pedi for a day of peace and quiet and time to do nothing in particular.
Are you with me? Do you struggle dividing up your Mother’s Day, or have you found a fabulous solution? (Please share!) And to every dedicated, inspirational, supportive mom out there, happy Mother’s Day to you.

This article was originally published on May 08, 2012

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