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.