Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Where's Daddy?"

I think that having Ben gone for this Mother's Day has kind of made it the best Mother's Day yet. Before you accuse me of lying or taking crazy pills, hear me out first.

In the past, Mother's Day has sometimes sort of frustrated me because I don't like holidays that are accompanied with unrealistic expectations. Birthdays ceased being that awesome to me some time ago, when I realized that I was constantly setting myself up for disappointment when I would expect it to be the BEST. DAY. EVER! You always think it's going to actually feel like a different day, in the same magical way it always felt when you were a kid. But really, you just kind of do the same things you do every other day but then secretly think things like, "Why didn't that cashier smile at me more? Doesn't she know what day it is?" I have learned to just plan out a few semi-special things that I want to do, and stop looking for the parade to come down my street.

Mother's Day is much the same. People will constantly say to you, "I hope you're not going to do ANYTHING on Mother's Day!" And I want to say, "Really? Is that what you do? Nothing? Because I do not believe you for one second!" I just don't like to go into Mother's Day with silly ideas of lounging around, surrounded by quiet, obedient, non-argumentative children that magically transform for a day. It ain't gonna happen.

What does happen is that, because of all of these ridiculous expectations that other people create for Mother's Day, we can end up feeling grouchy, unworthy, under-appreciated, and overwhelmed. We become Mother's Day martyrs. "Woe is me, I'm a mom, and no one knows it--where's my mani-pedi and birthstone necklace? Waahhh!" And then we end up placing all of the burden on our poor husbands, who barely see it coming: "What did you get me? Why haven't you dressed the kids for church? Why can't you keep those kids quiet during my four hour nap? What's for dinner?" We become entitled, whining pains in the neck.

And so the frustration comes for me because while I find myself giving in to the Mother's Day blahs, I recognize the irony in the situation at the same time. Shouldn't Mother's Day actually be a day to celebrate being a mother, perhaps by enjoying our children rather than trying to flee them? Isn't that maybe where the problem lies? Instead of creating all of these unrealistic ideas for this day for ourselves and others, why don't we combat them by actually saying, "I chose this job, it's pretty dang awesome, and here's how you do it!"

Ben's in New York today, leaving me with no one to nag. And so because I had no choice about the whining (kids don't care), I only had one choice left. My attitude. I could be super-awesome-single-mom, or super-sad and full of self-pity. I chose the former. I made sure I took plenty of time this morning to get everyone ready, including myself. I wore my cute dress a la 1940's and curled my hair and added a flower headband. I made the cookies for the Primary kids for singing awesome for their moms, loaded up my kids, bags, and Primary props in the car, and arrived at church 10 minutes early. Even though I had asked a teenage girl to sit with us beforehand, neither Lucy nor Lane would go to her because they both wanted me. So both girls sat on my lap. It was a balancing act, and if Ben had been there, you better believe I would have put on my drama queen hat and rolled my eyes and sighed with exasperation. But he wasn't. And so I didn't. And you know what? The girls were super cute and I really enjoyed them. I don't tell you all of this so you'll think, "Wow, Hailey sure thinks she's super awesome!" Believe me, I don't. But I like to choose to feel super awesome.

We did have to go out into the hall eventually, after my lap became too small and the girls' crying too loud, and when we did, Lane came over to me and asked, "Mommy, where's my Daddy?" I told her he was in New York and then, in true Lane fashion, she went and stared out the window, with the biggest, poutiest bottom lip I've ever seen. I could have easily resented Ben at that moment. I could have said, "I don't know, where is he? Certainly not here!" But instead, I found myself appreciating him even more for all that he does to help me when he is home on Sundays. A tiny shift in attitude goes a long way, folks.

And so I might even ship Ben off every Mother's Day, because I think maybe it's exactly what I need to feel grateful, valuable, and incredibly humble. I wonder what he would think if I proposed a get-away for me over Father's Day?

And speaking of Ben, he just called to say he was trying to figure out how to FedEx me some cupcakes from Crumbs Bake Shop. And I didn't even have to roll my eyes or whine once.

***Latest update: I ended up spending part of Mother's Day evening at the Urgent Care with Ethan, who needed stitches after gashing his head open on a metal bridge at a playground. I figured you can't get more mother-in-the-trenches than that! Thanks to Rachel, who immediately abandoned her own Mother's Day festivities to come and stay with the girls.

16 comments:

Annette said...

Okay, so I just wrote a post about how I tell everyone I'm off duty on Mother's Day and shouldn't be expected to do anything. Pretty much the exact opposite of what you just wrote! I did do a few things, but now I'm feeling a little guilty. I had a good attitude, though. And you are super awesome!

Are you guys still moving out here this summer?

Elly said...

You go girl! Awesome post. Mother's Day traditions at our house: 1) there must always be a diaper explosion of some sort with poo everywhere, 2) I make myself a special dessert because of the history of well-intended inedible cakes made with flour in the frosting, and 3) I make sure to get an extra big hug from each of my kids and husband. And that counts as a celebration, don't you think?

kathryn said...

I hope Ethan is feeling better! You are one awesome mom...

Christina said...

I think your attitude is right on. I belong to a twins forum and it seems like every year there is a long post on Mother's Day where everyone describes how disappointing their day was. When we think about what we have rather than what we don't, it makes all the difference.

Tha BossMack TopSoil said...

I Love tha Blog babygurl

Shawn said...

I would say that you rocked that Mothers Day! I'm proud of your amazing attitude---its better than I could have ever done!

But then I am a bit of a Diva whiner... heh, heh.

Good for you----wish I could have been there to hold those babies----oohhh...

Give Ethan extra kisses from Mimi!

Beeswax said...

Oh, boy. I think you are just trying to make us moms who only give birth to one baby at a time, and have husbands in the same state look bad.

Its totally working.

Mandee said...

Hailey- you are a super awesome mom. My favorite part-

"I chose this job, it's pretty dang awesome, and here's how you do it!"

I'm going to stick that on my fridge today!

Mindy Gledhill said...

I do enjoy reading your posts Hailey :-)

Michelle Walker said...

Oh, Hailey! I nearly lost my very life the 3 months Randy was in NYC!!! I wish I were there to help you!!!!! It's amazing how much you do just calm down, and breathe, and realize that your tired as hell but it's going to be OK. I hated bedtime. By bedtime I was ready to commit suicide. But after awhile, I got into a routine, and they knew after 8pm I was OFF DUTY and to LEAVE MAMA BE! I would always have a blanket ready, and a good book/show and I rather liked my quiet evenings. Best of luck, I'll be thinking of you! I hope you get a chance to visit!

Jewels said...

I adore you - this post was fantastic. I too was alone on Mothers Day. Cody was going to try and get work off, alas - no such luck. I don't think I had the same sparkling attitude that you did, but I tried to be a little more aware of how rad motherhood can be. It is funny when people tell you to 'take it easy' or 'take the day off'...in what Universe does that ever happen? Unless I leave town, there is no such thing.

Great post. Great.

Daddy Dave said...

I just can't believe how strong you are. I know I say this a lot. But is am so proud of you I could burst. It's been a very busy week so today is the first time I've checked your blog in awhile, but I'm glad I checked it today to read aobut my beautiful, brilliant, strong, positive, inspiring, multi-talented, resourceful, centered, daughter. It is so refreshing to read about a young woman who is not a victim and who takes responsibility for her life. I am so incredibly lucky to be your dad!

Kristen said...

So there is another actress in the family. I love it. Mila can give Lane acting lessons. Aaron didn't get me anything for mother's day or even remember it, but it's all good. I got something for myself--I much prefer to buy my own gifts. AND as a double bonus I didn't have to be in nursery feeling put out about dealing with other people's kids and never talking to my peers. B/c church is all about socializing, right? ;) But you know what I mean.

Amy said...

LOVED this, Hailey. Seriously.

Melissa said...

Just popped over from your Mom's beautiful tribute to you and had to see what all the fuss was about!

I.Am.Impressed. Loved your Mother's day post!

And if you don't mind me blurking around, I'll be back!

aydan said...

I feel so bad for Ethan!wish you were here.