We may not be able to go out for a nice brunch or host all of our extended family, but there are some advantages to Mother’s Day during a shelter in place order. I present to you the Guilt-Free Mother’s Day. Just like everything else in motherhood, Mother’s Day comes with its own brand of guilt. How much of it is really about the Mom and what she wants? There is pressure around who to spend time with and what to do that can make the day guilt-ridden.
Personally, I feel so much stress on Mother’s Day. It is the one day I have been assigned to be able to do whatever I want (within reason), choose whatever I want to eat, and plan the day around my interests (again, within reason). Beyond the things I want to do, there are the things I feel like I should do. In fact, the pressure is so strong to fit everything in, that I often choose not to sleep late or enjoy a leisurely breakfast in order to fit both the wants and shoulds into my one day. Here’s the good news about Mother’s Day 2020. There is nothing to do. My choices besides possibly a walk/hike are where to order takeout from and what movie to watch. No need to get up early to fit those activities into my day. I can sleep in with no guilt or FOMO!
That prospect may sound sad, but think about life right now. If you are a parent, you have not been binge-watching your favorite shows/movies all day. You have not been lounging on the couch at 2pm snacking on delicious treats. Instead, you have been entertaining small children with copious art and baking projects. And, you have been figuring out how to get groceries and what you need to buy to sustain your house for weeks at a time. Plus, you have been learning the ins and outs of online conferencing technology and then re-teaching yourself fourth-grade math (sorry teachers, we are doing division my way). You may be balancing all of that with work and extra cleaning and certainly extra cooking.
I give you Guilt-Free Mother’s Day 2020. An actual break. No guilt. The argument can be made that this day is always a break. I applaud Moms who have succeeded in crafting the day that way. However, for many Moms, the pressure to please everyone is very real. We get to/have to enjoy the breakfast our kids “cook” and then clean up the mess they make. We also have to make the choice about what to do for the day. As much as I may want to get a massage and a pedicure, my kids want to spend the day with me and I do want to be with them. After all, they made me a Mom. Once I have decided not to do anything just for myself, I have to pick something that we will all enjoy. Then I manage the complaints with what I have chosen.
Beyond the guilt-laced decisions, there are the obligations, aka family guilt. In full transparency, this is a sensitive topic for me because I lost my Mom eight years ago this Mother’s Day. So, yes, I would give anything to spend another Mother’s Day with her. No question.
However, I remember the two Mother’s Days I spent as a mother when she was still alive. As much as I loved celebrating her and spending time with her, there was guilt involved. Did I spend enough time with her? Did I make the day special for her? Was I selfish for wanting to spend part of the day just with my husband and kids? Or alone? There is a sadness about not getting to spend time with the Moms in our lives, but there is no guilt. There is nothing you can do about it. So after the Zoom call where she admires the flowers/gift you sent, you get to enjoy the rest of your day.
Here is the best part: you already spend all day every day with your children. So, if on Mother’s Day you want a break, there is no guilt. You want time to watch a movie or talk to a friend or exercise or take a shower or drink a mimosa in your closet? Enjoy! You can do all of the above because, you know what, you will get to spend all day with your kids again tomorrow.
Happy Guilt-Free Mother’s Day!