Mother's Day is fast approaching (May 10th in case you needed a reminder) and with it the annual battle against expectations of how Mother's Day should unfold. It's often between my longing for that ideal opportunity to be relieved of all motherly duties so I can spend some time solely focused on myself without any threat of self-imposed guilt, and the reality of running a household and caring for three young kids.
It's not a unique battle, I'm sure. It's so tempting to host thoughts of handmade cards delivered with breakfast in bed after a full nine hours of sleep, followed by an afternoon lounging by a pool before treating myself to some shopping and a movie all by myself. It's tempting to wish for one day I wasn't needed and every treat I could imagine was lavished upon me as a reward for all of the sacrifices made the rest of the year for working so hard to be a good mama. It would all be well received and we are all (mamas in all forms) so deserving.
However, most nights I get an interrupted seven hours of sleep and wake to someone having spilled the milk trying to get their own cereal. Brett will make me coffee but then I'll have to heat it back up two hours later once my youngest stops trying to scale our wingback chair and goes back down for a nap. I'll sit down with a magazine only to have two energetic kids race through the house to go outside, slamming the back door and subsequently waking the baby early enough that the rest of our afternoon continues to be pretty loud. I see some understanding nods.
Every year I tell myself it's just another day of being a mother and that I'll enjoy an indulging day to myself when they're older and less needy. Then I will inevitably sabotage those noble thoughts with feelings of self-pity when someone throws a fit at lunch. Even though it's just another day with young kids, it all feels harder and less fair on those elevated days of honor.
That's the problem with expectations. They almost always leave us wanting.
Yes, our house is loud because it is full of voices and bodies that I get to call mine. Yes, they forget to flush the toilet 95% of the time but that is their greatest fault. They forget to flush the toilet. I should thank my lucky stars that all I worry about with my kids right now is germy hands. Yes, I have regular dark circles under my eyes but I get to wake up to care for a baby we longed for and didn't think we'd get to enjoy. He, too, will someday forget to flush the toilet 95% of the time but I'll get the privilege of reminding him.
This Mother's Day I'm refocusing my lens and my heart. I'm going to honor this day myself by working towards being the kind of mom that takes a breath and pauses when I'd rather groan in frustration. I'm going to allow myself to see how beautiful my job is as a caretaker and guide to these three growing humans. I'm going to do my best to stare straight into their eyes and wait for them to notice how loved they are in that moment.
I'm going to ask for coffee in the morning and enjoy reheating it two hours later because I get to be among the ranks of so many hard working, lovely, worn out, resplendent, and aspiring hearts that tend to those that need them.
I have the privilege of sowing seeds of love, kindness, and courage that will take root and bring beauty. I get to share in their curiosity, creativity, and wide open possibilities. I get to bring more good things into this world through their little lives.
It's hard but it's beautiful.
This year on Mother's Day I am ditching my internal eye rolls for intentional moments together. I'm hoping we get to spend a little more time getting our hands dirty, beautifying our front porch using this beautiful wooden potting bench c/o Ace Hardware, and making some solid memories. Ruby has laid claim to one special purple plant, named it Violet (it's a Petunia), and made a literal bed for it in her room complete with a cozy towel to rest on but the rest are safe and sound outside.
No matter how you get to spend this Mother's Day, I hope your heart meets your circumstances with peace and love. And maybe some flowers.
P.S. Thank you, Ace Hardware for the opportunity to make these memories.