Parenting

What do you really want for Mother's Day?

Pampering for you, or a day devoted to your mom? Tracy has finally found an answer to her Mother's Day dilemma.

Joy to a mother's heart: Anna drew this portrait of Tracy.

It’s that time of year again, when the store windows are amping up with mom-friendly offerings and everywhere you go, companies are trumpeting their perfect gift ideas for moms. 
 
Last year, I wrote about feeling torn about the whole Mother’s Day thing – how I wanted to celebrate the special moms in my life, but also wanted to be celebrated on this one day designed for exactly that – and how it seemed to be either/or. A big part of this dilemma is because I don’t live in the same city as all the moms I love, so I’m always conflicted about where we should be. I wish we could all just go out for brunch together or something, but it’s not possible. And having to make a choice that leaves a mom out on Mother’s Day is never a good thing.
 
I felt a little selfish writing it then, and said so. After all, how could I not be all about celebrating the wonderful moms in my life on Mother’s Day and lavishing them with gifts and meals and pampering? How dare I want my own? But I think it has more to do with new-ish motherhood than selfishness (though you can decide for yourself!).
 
For many of us, those early years with young kids do feel a little like being in the trenches day-in and day-out, and the idea of a day off of that ever-spinning wheel of meal prep, toy-tidying, bum-wiping, laundry-folding, “Mommy?”-answering (oh, the endless “Mommy?”) can feel so unimaginably good it makes you want to weep. And that’s where I’ve been the last few years. I know there are parents for whom nothing brings more joy than being with their kids, but I’ve always been honest about my need for a break every now and then. I liked Mother’s Day to be one of those times.
 
But I don’t feel quite at that same place today. My daughters are seven and four-and-a-half, and while people told me parenting would get easier as they got older, I couldn’t see beyond the crazily hectic here and now. But I see it now. They are more independent these days – able to get their own snacks, zip their own jackets, and sometimes even solve their own problems. They’re less likely to argue over our standard routines and are getting better (well, you know, sometimes) at treating each other like friends instead of adversaries. This means we’re all calmer and happier, and now that Mother’s Day is rolling around, I realize I don’t feel this primal urge to seize it as an excuse to kick them out of the house and barricade myself within. Whaddya know? They were right. And for once, I’m glad.
 
Another change is that my beloved grandma passed away in February. Being reminded so poignantly of the legacy of love and kindness she left behind, and how much her children and grandchildren adored her – and the joy she found in her roles as mom and grandma – makes me want nothing more than to use Mother’s Day to show my mom how closely she’s followed in her own mother’s amazing footsteps, and how much I love her. This will be an especially hard day for her, and I plan to be by her side.
 
Oh yeah – and I usually torture my poor husband with a loaded “surprise me!” when he asks me for a gift idea. But this year, I found this awesome pair of Lululemon pants (I don’t usually shop there because of the price tags, but somehow found myself browsing the clearance rack and hit the jackpot!), which I bought and then handed over to him and said, “Here’s my Mother’s Day present,” without a hint of contempt. He couldn’t have been happier. Me too.
 
How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?