Happy Mother’s Day 2022

Mom, Dad and breastfeeding Baby
Mom, Dad and breastfeeding Baby

Today is the day in America we set aside to honor the hard work Mothers do.

Mothers keep this country moving. There is a saying that if you want something done, give it to the busiest person. That would be a mother. Mothers give and give and give, day and night. We give life and voice to our dreams and our family’s. We share our bodies in pregnancy and then for years after, as breastfeeders, cuddlers, comforters, and workhorses. We set aside our careers for a little time, or a lot. We keep showing up every day for the coos and cries, laughs and tears, first teeth, toddling, birthdays, practical jokes, serious questions, pillow forts, bumps and bruises, family reunions, report cards, holidays, school plays, heartbreaking crushes, medical diagnoses, graduations, and finally moving out day, which is commonly followed by moving back home day.

We make time for sloppy kisses and muddy hugs.

We change 8000 diapers, prepare 30 or 40,000 meals, wash the dishes, wash the clothes, pay the bills, and try to pass on life skills and family values. We deliver our children more or less on time to the bus, or the school, to appointments (so many appointments!), and cheer them on in all their creations, disappointments and actions. We take endless photos to capture their cute and mark the milestones in a futile effort to hold onto something intriguing and ephemeral: our child.

It’s rewarding and heartbreaking work. We should be appreciated and honored on Mother’s Day.

This is a big order to fill and there are so many places where things can go wrong, but let’s get started.

It’s impossible to give mothers all they deserve in just one day.

Honoring mothers needs to be an on-going process. Trying to cram it all into one day is bound to fail. If you don’t want disappointment, your partner needs to understand what you expect and take the lead. Common gifts like cards, flowers, chocolate, eating out, massage, facials and other pampering treats can never pay back for all your efforts. Gifts are only a token of appreciation. A token is even smaller than a tip. Each gift can only represent One Millionth of what is deserved.

If you have never read The Five Love Languages, I recommend it.

In The Five Love Languages, the author makes the case that we feel loved in one or two specific ways, out of five. Your partner probably knows how to make you feel loved (or they wouldn’t be in your life) and they should focus their attention on ways that you will really perceive as love and appreciation. A card and flowers is a great gift, but a day of someone else doing dishes and laundry is what really fills my cup. You may want a heartfelt message of appreciation, a massage, a beautiful piece of jewelry or a meaningful family activity instead.

By the way, this is the worst day in the year to go to out to eat.

Mohonk Mountain House revs up the kitchen to serve 800+ meals on Mother’s Day. This is more than Thanksgiving. You may want to go out for brunch or dinner on the day before, or after Mother’s Day, if you are going out. We usually have potluck brunch at my mom’s house. Yes, it means dishes and cooking, but everyone pitches in, so there is camaraderie, joking and storytelling.

  • If you have a baby or small children, they need so much care that you won’t get a day of rest, but you will receive your usual day of cuddling and trading funny faces back and forth.
  • Children will usually make you a gift or a card either in school or at the kitchen table. These are heartfelt and show true appreciation.
  • Older children can usually come up with a pretty good breakfast with the understanding that you will clean it up.
  • Teens can go in any direction. Offer guidance, expect nothing and prepare to be surprised.
  • Young adults often need some specific reminders from you, their dad or other relative. They are living their own lives and it is an all encompassing lifestyle.
  • When your children have children, only then you can expect a full-on show of appreciation.

You will not have a day of rest unless you plan for it, or hire help. 

One or more of your children will have a meltdown at some point. Hopefully, you get some specific appreciation from your child, partner and various relatives. In any case, it’s always easier to lower your expectations on Mother’s Day, make notes on what to improve for next year and make a long term plan for appreciating all you do.

Nobody shows love and appreciation better than you, so give yourself the Mother’s Day you deserve.

Start with a list of all you do every day. It will be very long, and every little thing you do matters. Every smile given, every cuddle, every drop of milk and morsel of food makes your family’s life better. You may not know why you  do it, but you do know when you feel rewarded. Maybe it’s the day your baby smiles back? Maybe it’s the day they say, “Mama”? Maybe it’s when you snuggle your baby or child and feel them completely relax in your love and attention?

Maybe it’s that rare moment when the sink is empty, the counters are clean, the baby is sleeping, you are sipping a cup of tea and musing back over your busy day, amazed that the chaos all came together in the end.

Write the story of your Mother’s Day fantasy and set about making it happen. 

I can pretty much guarantee it won’t happen on the second Sunday in May, but it might.

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