Preface: Following is an honest post. I don’t call myself a perfect Mother, but I try my best. I’ve loved being a Mom since the very first day and feel incredibly blessed to have my three boys. However, this happened…
Sunday, May 12th was Mothers Day and I was completely ignored.
Flowers didn’t arrive, cards were not given, teenagers slept through brunch. Apparently, my children do not celebrate Mother’s Day and it hurts. Now Mother’s Day makes me feel like I have been unsuccessful at being a Mom. Being acknowledged on Mother’s Day was supposed to mean what I do is valued and that I am loved and appreciated. Such as, driving a son to school while playing a special “Good Morning” music playlist to start his day in a positive way when he could be standing in the snow and riding the bus. Or making three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, alternating the jelly flavors and cutting the sandwiches diagonally then bringing them to a track meet. I see these jobs as little love notes to them and I didn’t get anything back on the one day of the year I’m supposed to. But this one day can’t represent a lifetime of giving up yourself for the loving and raising of three young men. Why do we think it will?
In their defense, my three boys can’t understand how it feels to be a Mother.
Some day I hope my sons become Fathers and know the magnitude of what it is to be a parent. The day each of my sons was born was one of the best days of my life. Watching them grow up to be handsome, accomplished and kind young men is what gives my life meaning. Motherhood is an honor that teaches you to move beyond your needs to take care of someone else’s.
The good news is I no longer have to forfeit Mother’s Day to my mother-in-law. No offense to her, she’s a wonderful mother-in-law. But Mother’s Day made me feel sad for years. Mother’s Day was strictly a day to honor her and I was just in the crowd helping serve food. That dismissal left me wounded. It made me feel that what I did was not valued by my own family of five. These events also left my husband extremely stressed. Bringing the food where there would be up to twenty family members was sometimes challenging but having the young boys dressed in a requested outfit for pictures pushed our laidback household to it’s limit. I asked my husband what was wrong on the way to his Mother’s house one Mother’s Day. He didn’t like me pushing. “You want to know what’s wrong with me, Stacy? You are. You are what’s wrong with me.” That’s pretty far from what I needed to hear and left a scar on my heart that’s still there today. That was the worst Mother’s Day so far although being ignored this year is painfully eye-opening about my role in the family.
How would I like to celebrate Mother’s Day? A card with a meaningful note would be cherished. I always love flowers of any kind. And help. Help going above and beyond the normal. The boys are plenty old enough to organize their closets and put clean laundry in. Then putting together a small box of things to give to Goodwill. These things would really help me in my parade of daily adventures. That is my dream come true for a great Mother’s Day.
I suppose what I truly want is their time. I’d love to hear their opinions on anything. I don’t need to talk. Just listen to what they have to say. Although I do love flowers and cards, what I ultimately want is one of the boys to really talk to me. To have a conversation that does not involve something they want done for them. Honor me with time and attention.
Every year I take care of the gift for my Mother and Mother-in-law. I buy pretty flowers that let them know they are beautiful, loved and important. They graciously thank me for being thoughtful and telling them we love them on the day dedicated to all Mother’s. It’s important to me that they feel special, particularly now that we live 800 miles away. I know how quickly birthdays and holidays creep up on the calendar during the school year. I understand if the boys had to call it close with plans. I’ve been left scrambling for a gift for a holiday for people I love. But if I call them, tell them it will be a day late but I’m thinking about them and hope they have a great day, they always understand. I would have understood.
Since I didn’t celebrate Mother’s Day but still had the expectations that come with it I bought myself flowers. I wanted to show everyone an example of what I needed. No one noticed. Perhaps I can continue to fill my own expectations, fill my own well so to speak, and forget that others were supposed to take part at all. Perhaps drop expectations all together? Probably not because expectations are really hopeful gestures of love.
The one problem with eliminating expectations is social media. Going on Instagram and Facebook and seeing all of the pictures of Mothers with their flowers and doing activities with their kids is not helpful. I realize many of these are completely staged. Kids not wanting to get dressed up for church or be in a picture. A Dad behind the camera losing his patience as the Mother wants 12 different poses of a picture so she can choose the best one to post. We all know social media isn’t real and adds to depression, but I still couldn’t stop looking at all of the Moms being hugged by their kids. That’s not what I experienced at home and I don’t know what I did wrong.
Do I deserve the Mother’s Day I got? Do I have false expectations? Shouldn’t I simply be grateful that I’m the Mother to 3 healthy boys?
No. Yes. Yes. First, apparently my husband and I did not teach our sons that gratitude matters and they are old enough to take care of honoring me on Mothers’s Day on their own. Gestures of love are expected on this day. I missed how to teach that in Mom School. False expectations are making me feel like an undeserving, bad mother. But where they false? Those boys could have come through. They should have known I needed to be acknowledged and how it would make me feel if I wasn’t. And third, it is impossible for me to take them for granted. They are everything to me.