This Mother’s Day I’ll probably celebrate in the usual way. I’ll sleep in. Around 11am I’ll be gently awakened to the aroma of chai tea at my bedside. There will be cards from my kids and husband and I’ll receive flowers and gifts, surrounded by family. After that, I’ll take several hours for myself and get a mani-pedi or relax with a book—whatever I want. But it wasn’t always like this. I’ve been a mom for almost 19 years, and for the first half of that, I was a single mom. Mother’s Day used to look very different then.
Every mom deserves a sanctuary. We work hard in so many ways, for so many people, and we all need a beautiful place where we can close the door on the rest of the household and feel completely relaxed. For me, that beautiful place is the master bedroom.
What’s more stressful than trying to get the kids off to school in the morning? (Besides a pandemic). It has to be that moment when we walk in the door after school. Everyone is tired and grumpy. After sitting in the long, slow carpool lines and battling traffic on the drive home, I am irritated and impatient. My kids have a million stories about their day, competing with each other to get a word in, while getting louder and louder. When we get home I feel rushed to unpack the lunch bags and backpacks. There are homework planners to sign, papers to file away, dirty lunch containers to clean, and school flyers to read. And then the homework hoopla begins.
The month of November was ‘Financial Literacy Month’, and after an introduction to some key family budgeting ideas from Interac, I spent the entire month thinking.
Setting the scene… It’s a night like any other you’ve had for the past couple of months – your newborn gem has awoken at the typical hour of 5am after you had just gotten back to sleep following her prior wake-up and feed at 3am. Except that this time, you feel ready to cry, and wish fervently that she would somehow feed herself and go back to sleep all on her own.
What day is it? How long have we been inside? As the days and weeks roll along with many families self-isolating, I give you boredom busters: round three. Thankfully, more and more institutions and artists are putting out insanely good content and educational opportunities. There’s never been a better time to grow! Who knows what might spark a new idea, a new tradition for the family, or a passion for something the kids didn’t know about before. My heartfelt thanks goes out to the educators and friends who keep sharing ideas for me to pass along!
There’s a lot of unhappy going on out there. Buzz words that conjure the worst viral stories and make our hearts drop into the pits of our stomachs. Words that lose all authentic meaning in the moment and become emblems of pure emotion, driving parents to despair. A once normal word like ‘gorilla’ triggers conflicting feelings of anger and hopelessness. Add ‘anti-vax’, ‘forward-facing’, and ‘breastfed‘ to the list and you’re sunk; it’s evolving and eternal. And it’s also true—these things do happen and they’re awful, but reading about them on Facebook every day doesn’t empower us, it drowns us. Sure we’re drawn to the heavy, but shouldn’t we also celebrate the light? 100 happy days was my shift in focus, my commitment to happy—and it can be yours too.
Life is hard – beautiful, sweet, precious, amazing, thrilling even; but so very hard. It never becomes more apparent as to just how hard it is until you are a mother; responsible in every way for the well-being of another tiny human.
Even before becoming mothers, women wear so many different hats. We are cooks, maids, friends, daughters, therapists, employees, managers, etc. We tend to stick together, to find our tribe and to be there for one another through thick and thin. Which is never more important that when we do become parents.
I try not to think about it, this aging business. It’s not easy. You think that the shock, after that first time you are called “Ma’am”, or when you realize the cute guy at the gym isn’t hitting on you (he’s trying to help you because you remind him of his mom) will wear off, and you won’t be quite as sensitive. You think that your skin will get thicker and you won’t notice. But you’re wrong.