Friday, May 6, 2011

Coping with Mother's Day

Yeah, that's right. I said coping. For years Mother's Day was not my favorite holiday. But I think that's because I didn't know how to handle it.

Like most moms, I set myself up for failure by anticipating extravagant gifts and heaps of attention and praise. I expected everyone in my family to go out of their way to make it a fantastically special day for me--high expectations for an absent-minded husband and a handful of toddlers.

Most of the time I found myself getting frustrated as I waited for someone--anyone--to remember that it was a special day. Until it finally occurred to me:  I have to remind my husband of every other important day during the year. Why should Mother's Day be any different?

So I started sending out advance notices. They ranged from simple:  "Two weeks 'til Mother's Day", to slightly more subtle:  "I'm not cooking on Sunday." Unfortunately, my announcements had an unexpected side effect. Whenever I pointed out the advancing maternal holiday, inevitably my husband would turn to me and say, "Have we gotten anything for my mom yet?"

Once again I consoled myself. Obviously the thought of Mother's Day would trigger thoughts of his mother, not his wife. I should be grateful as some men actually seem to expect their wife to also be their mother. However, as I produced more and more children for him, it did seem like he ought to be able to remember to teach them to honor me one day out of the year.

I finally realized that, if I wanted the ideal Mother's Day, I needed to spell it out. Completely. Either that, or spend the day feeling disappointed and unappreciated. So now I inform everyone in our family of the date, and do occasional countdowns ("five days left to get something for Mother's Day!") so that they don't miss the date. I also point out gifts that I want so that I'm not disappointed and I don't have to pretend to like something on my day. Incidentally, my husband is pretty good at picking out jewelry and sending flowers, so I don't have to do that so much anymore with him. As for the boys, I strive to request things that will be easy for them to give. This year I'm getting my car detailed.

Hey, there's no downside to planning out your own special day. I even get to skip cooking twice that weekend. When our children were all little, waiting in line for hours for a table at a restaurant was not my idea of a great Mother's Day. So we ended up picking up burgers or chicken and taking it home to eat it. But as they got a little older, I began to miss the experience of us all dining out together. So I suggested to Indiana that we go out on Saturday night instead of Sunday. He was very agreeable to that, and we had a wonderful meal out together. But then I still requested that we pick up chicken or tacos after church on Sunday. After all, I still saw no reason to cook on my day!

So now I no longer cope with Mother's Day. I enjoy it. And the rest of my family actually enjoys it too because they no longer have to struggle to guess what I'd like in order to make my day special. It's a win-win for everyone.

I do have one other thing that I request from my children, but this is a request for all year round. And it's actually found in the Bible.

III John 4 says, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

I'll take that gift whether I get my car detailed or not.


  1. I have learned to plan my day too! Well actually we have to do it on Saturday because my husband hates going out on Mother's Day so I settle for Saturday. It will be fun, then on Sunday I just watch some movies and I relax. My husband has never been very good at Mother's Day. He says "Your not MY mother!"

  2. Love it! Every mom should read it. :)

  3. I enjoyed this! Happy Mother's Day.

  4. Ha, I am the same way! I was announcing Mother's Day up until this morning. I figure if nothing is done it's too late now. I do have a plan to get together with some girlfriends and our daughters to watch the Royal Wedding! Happy Mother's Day!

  5. Great post! Happy Mother's Day. :-) I already know you enjoyed it.

    I did get dinner out yesterday after church, but um, I will admit to getting a bit grumpy in the afternoon when I tried to nap and my husband didn't exactly create a peaceful environment for me. I can't be too hard on him, since it was a work day for him. Maybe next year I'll plan a celebration on Saturday and hand out a special chore list. You're a pretty smart lady, you know that?

  6. Yep. We are on the same page here. Dropping hints isn't fun, but it's a heckuva lot better than spending the day pouting.


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