I recently spoke to a friend who is preparing for her first Mother’s Day. When I asked if she was excited, she responded “yes and no.” The mom of an almost 5-month-old said prior Mother’s Days were spent trying to make an unpleasable mother happy, leading to a time of dread and disappointment. It was a holiday exposing her own mother’s flaws.
Maybe for you, Mother’s Day is a day of loss. You’re missing a mother gone too soon. Or, your heart longs for a mother you never had. It might be a day like any other day because your partner is deployed or away. Perhaps you’re in charge of celebrating this day because you don’t have a partner to do it for you.
I celebrated my first Mother’s Day while my husband was deployed. I remember wanting to feel special and just not. Part of that was because I failed to express my expectations with my husband leading up to the day.
For holidays as heavily marketed as Mother’s Day, it’s easy to walk into the day with high hopes dashed because of the pressure. Social media doesn’t help when we get a firsthand glance on how much our peers are being honored.
I think one problem with this day is that mothers aren’t giving themselves permission to get what they want. We just take what we can get. But I’m challenging this martyrdom trend.
This Mother’s Day you have,
Permission to celebrate as an autonomous family unit.
This day can be about just you as a mom, not your birth mom. Acknowledge her but allow yourself to be center of attention. If you can’t skip the big family brunch, choose another day for you. Who says Mother’s Day must be on the day those calendar makers chose?
Permission for “me time” — whatever that looks like for you
“Me time” can look like shopping without running errands or racing to get home by a certain time. Set your own pace. Browse. Shop with a friend. Maybe your nails are looking rough. Get them done. Pick a fancy design, while you’re at it. Take yourself to the movies. Yes, alone. Turn off your phone and enjoy the cinematic experience. Better yet, do all the above. Tell your family, you want a Mother’s Day week! It doesn’t have to be expensive outings. Just do what you need to recharge.
Permission for a day off
Do these words make you feel guilty? They shouldn’t. If you’re able and want it, ask for a day off. I challenge you to give your partner a chance to walk in your shoes for an entire day. A friend of mine shared that for one Mother’s Day, her husband got her a hotel room and sent her away for the entire day and night. She ordered room service, binged on her favorite shows and slept in. That sounds like a dream come true. If you are a solo parent, you absolutely should make celebrating you a priority. If you have access to childcare, find a way to get out of the house. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder.
Permission to celebrate the day with your family
It’s more than okay to hate the idea of being away from your family because it’s Mother’s Day. This day might mean that much more to you if you’re together with the people who made you a mom. If that’s what you want, celebrate that way. There is no right way to do a holiday. Do what works for you. Have a picnic in the park together. Go out to a family friendly restaurant. Make it memorable for everyone.
Permission to ask for exactly what you want
For too many holidays, I let myself feel unappreciated. Yes, it was my fault. I expected my husband to read my mind and know how to make me happy. That was unfair to him. Sure, surprises are nice in theory. But how many times do surprises make you fake smile? I decided to avoid these lackluster celebrations by telling my husband exactly what I needed. On Mother’s Day, I expect:
- To sleep in
- Breakfast in bed
- New outdoor porch plants
- Not to be responsible for planning meals for anyone that day
If gifts are more your speed, here are 10 ideas that won’t disappoint:
- If you’re missing home or a special place, enjoy a Homesick Candle ($30)
- The perfect “Mama” necklace from Made by Mary ($60)
- For the book lover who doesn’t have time to read. Get them into audiobooks with an Audible subscription ($14.95/month)
- Upgrade the diaper bag with Madewell’s Medium Transport Leather Tote, includes a free monogram ($168)
- Not sure what you want but you know you want something? Look no further with a Mama Needs Box subscription box ($54/month)
- The cutest fanny pack made by a female owned zero waste company for moms on the go ($54)
- Never got started on that baby book? That’s OK with Kept, Childhood history journal ($39)
- Want to smile whenever you open your fridge? 12 customized photo magnets ($25)
- Flowers die, so get one that lasts with a bouquet of dried flowers from Native Poppy ($45)
- Freshen up your home with beautiful plants delivered to you from Cellar Door (starting as low as $10)
Mother’s Day is meant to give your family a chance to show how much they appreciate you. Give yourself permission to teach them how you best receive gratitude. I promise it will make a difference. I hope this year is your favorite Mother’s Day yet.