With Mother's Day approaching, many of us are putting the final touches on our plans to celebrate the mamas in our lives. Of course, even more of us probably haven't even started because #ProcrastinationLife. But that's OK, there's time to get it right... and, unfortunately, lots of opportunities to get it wrong. It's not necessarily for lack of effort or good intentions, but there's so much moms want that's often overlooked in favor of traditions we seriously DGAF about. So here are some things to skip on Mother's Day, because, honestly, we can all do better.
If you learn one thing today, please make it this: listen to what moms are saying they want and, if they're not saying much at all, ask them what they want and then do that thing. This basic concept seems to elude a lot of people, not just on Mother's Day but too often throughout the year. It's such an unnecessary shame, too! The great triumph of humankind is our ability to communicate complex ideas super effectively, but I think a lot of us have forgotten this fact and decide we'll just do our own thing.
But no great thing was ever accomplished solo, you guys. Talk to each other. Trust me, you'll fare far better than you would trying to muddle though by yourself. So, for specifics, please talk to the moms you want to celebrate. But for more general Mother's Day guidelines (specifically what not to do), consider the following:
Forgetting It's Mother's Day
Last Saturday I made a joke about what I was going to get for Mother's Day, and my husband looked at me nervously and, without breaking eye contact, called over his shoulder, "Alexa? When is Mother's Day?"
It's the second Sunday in May. Every year. This does not change, even if the date does. This year it's on May 12. Put it on your calendar. Set a reminder. Set several. We have the technology to never forget stuff like this ever again.
Insisting We Revolve The Day Around Someone Else's Mother
Understandably, a day that honors mothers can get complicated. I mean, how can it be someone's "special day" if multiple people are and/or have mothers? How are we supposed to make this a special day for so many different mamas?
Here's my rule: once you're a mom, you call your own shots and everyone has to be cool with it. That's not saying there's no room for negotiations or discussion, but when it comes down to it, as the mom I get the final word on how the day goes. Because if you're not a mom and I'm yours, you owe me. If I am your partner and birthed and/or raise your children then you super owe me. In this house, I am The Mom Who Matters Most.
(Much love to the lesbian couples out there for whom I imagine this gets more complicated.)
Anything That Precludes Me Sleeping In
I haven't really had a great night's sleep since 2010. I just need you to let me stay in bed until I'm ready to emerge this one damn day. So help me God if you try to surprise me with a beautiful sunrise hike I will lose it.
Mother's Day Brunch Out
Look, I love brunch... literally any other day of the year. But Mother's Day brunch is just not worth the hassle. The menu is limited, the drinks are weak(er than usual), and the staff is harried (bless their intrepid, under-tipped hearts) and under pressure to turn over tables quickly. This is the opposite of what brunch should be. So let's do that some other time. Not today.
A Meal That I'll Have To Clean Up After
Look, I'm all for getting breakfast in bed, lovingly if imperfectly made by my children (under partner supervision, of course). Or luncheon on the porch. Or just getting a dinner I didn't have to cook myself. But, guys, seriously, if I have to clean up after their dilettante asses then what the hell was the point? Cleaning up afterwards is the worst part of cooking, and it is part of cooking. So cook for me, by all means, but don't stop with serving the pancakes. Wash the dishes, clean the counters, and make sure to sweep up the pound and a half of flour that wound up on the floor.
Any Child Craft With Glitter
Because I'd like to enjoy Mother's Day once a year. I don't need to be reminded of my child's glittery craft every time I vacuum for the next six months. (That crap gets eeeeeverywhere and you can never get rid of it.)
Gifting Me An Appliance
There are exceptions to this, of course. If, say, I love baking as a hobby and you thought I would enjoy a fancy mixer: nice! Or if I, for whatever reason, specifically asked for a vacuum or a particular cooking pan or whatever, that's cool. But if you give me something that I exclusively use to do not-particularly enjoyable housework as a gift you will never, ever live it down. That's not a gift. That's a household expense. How dare you.
Gifting Me Clothing
Unless we've established you're especially talented at picking out clothing for me (in the right size, because that's a damn minefield if I ever saw one), skip this. Because bless your heart you almost certainly aren't going to get it right. This isn't personal and it's not that your thoughtfulness isn't appreciated, but picking out clothes is very personal and therefore an extremely tricky gift to pull off. It largely shouldn't be attempted by anyone for any occasion. If you really want to give clothing go with a gift card to my favorite clothing store... or at least save that receipt because God knows I'll probably need it.
Interrupting My Relaxing Time
Avoid it at all costs. If you have a question for me, try Googling it first. If you're having trouble with the kids, please make every effort to solve the problem yourself before involving me. Basically just let me luxuriate a bit today: in the bath, with my book, whatever.
Overriding My Plans
If I tell you I want to do something for Mother's Day, please do not think I'd prefer whatever idea you had instead. Like, if I say, "I'd like to stay home and not get out of pajamas and just chill out with the family," please don't surprise me with a fancy outing. I understand you're trying to be nice and I definitely appreciate the gesture... but I'd appreciate you listening to me even more. If you really think I'd like something else better then say something like, "Of course we can do that if you want, but I was thinking, if you'd prefer, we could do..."
The one exception to this would be, like, if you somehow scored Hamilton tickets, in which case we're gonna be in the room where it happens!
Saying You Don't Want Anything, But Actually...
...you do want to do something and then get all pouty when you're taken at your word.
OK, fellow mamas, this one is for you, because I know some of us do this. Look, I get it: we're trained from an early age not to express our wants and needs... but we still have them! So we often feel like we're caught between a rock and a hard place — wanting things but feeling pressure not to express that at all — and then we just go ahead and hope that our loved ones magically know what we want (even if we tell them the opposite of that) and then get resentful when they've either taken us at our word or not read our minds.
So please ignore whatever voice in your head is telling you that you shouldn't express what you want out loud. I'm not saying you need to spell out every detail (you shouldn't have to) but give the people around you the basic outline of how you'd like the day to go and let them fill in the rest.