I cry every single Mother's Day. Not because I'm unhappy, but because I'm a mom, and for every child you have, you gain an additional tank of tears — I have four children, so all you have to do is give me a hand-made card and it will immediately look like I'm standing under a Kauaian waterfall, blinking away the mist. As a mom of four, Mother's Day is not ~relaxing~ but I know how to make it count.
Growing up without a father, my older brother and I had no Father's Day, so we made sure to do more for our mom on Mother's Day. We always made some kind of special craft that mom would smile at and then hang up on the wall or the mantel. I know for a fact that my mother still has a ton of things my brother and I made for her over the years. As I got older, I began making things on my own, including writing a short story for her or a poem. And as a mom, I now live for those cards myself.
I might look idealize Mother's Day from childhood, but I'm not going to pretend it's anything but hectic for me in this, the year 2018, as the mother of a 1 year old, 8-year-old twins, and an 11-year-old daughter.
Let your husband know (though he should already), whether Mother's Day is a big deal to you and how you'd like to celebrate it.
In the morning, the girls can't wait for mommy to wake up so she can have her special breakfast and open presents. So you'd think they'd be quiet, tip-toeing around the house, making sure mommy gets her rest so she can wake up refreshed? Wrong! They giggle, they complain, loudly, "DADDY, WHEN'S MOMMY GOING TO WAKE UPPPPP?!" I hear him tell them to go in their room and be quiet. They close their door, but I can still hear them through the wall, loudly playing.
And since we have a baby, I am still on diaper duty — which my husband does volunteer to cover, but if he's busy (again, we have four children) or in the bathroom, guess who has to do it? Right, me! Plus my son wants me and only me 90 percent of the time (#flattered), so that means when he's sleepy, he wants me. If he falls, he wants me. Daddy tells him no-no, he wants me. (Secretly: I love that he wants only me most of the time. He's our last child, so excuse me if I like to hold him a lot, even when it's not best for my back, as my doctor says.)
I still do things around the house, not because my husband refuses, because I always say he's the least laziest person in the world. But sometimes, I just want to help him out. I make jokes that I'm supposed to be in bed all day on Mother's Day, binging TV or going to a spa for a massage, but honestly, I like Mother's Day at home.
The day starts with my favorite international cuisine, pancakes, and my husband also cooks dinner. I get to pick what movie we watch and, sometimes while he's cooking, I don't mind loading the dishwasher, or helping the kids get what they need.
It's OK if you don't want to spend Mother's Day with your baby and husband. In the past, I spent most of my day alone, sleeping.
Some years, we just feed the kids, put them to bed at their regular time (or slightly earlier), then have our own candlelit romantic dinner in our dining room, just the two of us, with some of our favorite romantic songs, like some from Sade and Norah Jones. It's almost like Valentine's Day and my birthday, rolled into one.
And I love getting those cards. My three daughters are artists, in every sense of the word. My twin girls, Mia and Laila, who are 8, usually make me a card with hearts and stars all over it. It's colored in my favorite colors, pink and purple, and they adorn it with sweet words like "You're the best mom ever." The tears march on out.
When I was a new mom, I didn't know how my husband would handle mother's day. I guess he decided to set the pace early on and so I always have high expectations each year. If you're a new mom, don't be afraid to set the pace for yourself so you'll know what to expect each year. Let your husband know (though he should already), whether Mother's Day is a big deal to you and how you'd like to celebrate it. Set up some ground rules so he knows that you'd enjoy just a dinner or if you'd prefer dinner and presents. And don't be afraid to ask for your own time. It's OK if you don't want to spend Mother's Day with your baby and husband. In the past, I spent most of my day alone, sleeping. When I was pregnant with my last child, Mother's Day was spent in bed and my husband took our daughters shopping and then to the playground so I could sleep!
My husband buys all of my gifts (which I am not complaining about!). And he's a great gift-giver. He actually listens to what I want, and I'm really not hard to buy for. He knows it'll always be a win if he finds me earrings, a pretty necklace, Nike sneakers or Betsey Johnson anything. I don't know what he has in store for this year, but I never ask for much. I just want a good dinner, which is usually spent at one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles, with all of the kids in tow.
But it's always the card that gets me. Last year, we had our son, Kai Alexander. He was only a few months old when Mother's Day came around, but my husband tried to figure out a way to get baby Kai to sign the card also. So he held his little hand and a pen and made him scribble on the inside of the card. Yes, that is what brought the tears last year!
At the end of the day, when all four kids are in bed, I'm grateful to them for trying to make my day the best ever, even if they had their "kid moments" here and there. I forgive them, always, and they make up for it in so many other ways. Because I wouldn't be celebrating Mother's Day without them.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.