Shonda Moralis MSW, LCSW

Breathe, Mama, Breathe

One Simple Strategy for Your Best Mother’s Day Yet

Mother’s Day is coming soon. How would you like to spend yours?

Posted Apr 27, 2018

Brigitte Tohm/unsplash
Source: Brigitte Tohm/unsplash

Take a moment and imagine your ideal Mother’s Day, one in which you are heartily celebrated and emphatically appreciated for all that you do and for the amazing Superwoman you are: 

     Perhaps your special day begins with waking blissfully of your own accord (no electronic or human-child alarm), sunlight streaming in through the open window, birds singing melodically in the blooming trees, as a soft, warm breeze caresses your face. You inhale the pleasing aroma of strong coffee (with just the right amount of creamer) as it makes its way into your bedroom atop the beautiful tray filled with wildflowers, fresh fruit, and eggs prepared just the way you like them. After savoring the bountiful feast (in uncharacteristic silence, save the birds), the tray is swept away by your smiling husband, who is perhaps even more thrilled than you are to get your celebratory Mother’s Day underway. Off to the spa you go for a massage and facial, lunch at your favorite restaurant with some Chardonnay and your bestie, then home for more R&R and time with your delightful, perfectly behaved children, who interact with one another lovingly. At the end of your long, leisurely, rejuvenating day, as you sit for your candlelit dinner with your precious flock, each family member takes a turn sharing just how much you mean to him or her. Your eyes mist with tears as you take in the touching words. You find it hard to imagine a more fitting end to a more perfect day…. 

Okay, now go ahead and rip that preposterous little fantasy right out of your temporarily-lulled mommy mind. Sorry to be a buzzkill, but Exhibit A above is exactly what can get us into trouble, precipitating the most disappointing, not at all ideal, day of your year. 

Please know this delightful fantasizing I encouraged is not an exercise based in any sort of malicious intent, but meant to: 1. highlight how unrealistic and unfair we can be in our expectations of the perfect Mother’s Day (thanks a lot, Instagram); and 2. draw out one or two requests that you can verbalize (or put on a post-it note, or both, maybe a few times) to your husband so he can make your (more realistic) dream day come true. 

It’s important to drop the outrageous expectations that your family should read your mind, including your ideal Mother’s Day fantasy. Not that you don’t deserve your ideal fantasy; I have no doubt you have earned it a hundred times over in mommy-hood duties, it’s just that you, and therefore, by default, your family as well, will suffer if you don’t lower those expectations pronto. So, for example, you might request breakfast in bed and a nice walk together as a family in the park. Period. Choose your top two wishes, make them clearly known, and leave it at that. 

Admittedly, Mother’s Day (as most holidays) can be challenging for a host of reasons: Unmet expectations of how you yearn to celebrate, fiercely missing your mom if she is no longer with us, social media plastered with what appears to be every other mother enjoying lavish pampering, obligingly hosting your own mother and mother-in-law instead of spending the day as you’d wish, or, perhaps, coping with an unhealthy, disappointing relationship with your own mom.

If grief or disappointment is a factor, be kind and gentle with yourself. See if you can allow the sadness to be a recognized part of your day without completely taking over. If you are one of those lucky mamas whose family showers her with attention and thoughtful experiences the whole day through, you go, girl! Enjoy that hard-earned royal treatment. For the rest of us, though, I say make it a good one. Even if the kids are being buggers and your husband has lost his penchant for romance long ago when said kids arrived, see if you can bring a fresh perspective to your family, taking it all in with a new, somewhat objective, curious attitude. Let go of those expectations. Be grateful for what is good. Choose a positive attitude. Choose appreciation. Choose love.

Happy Mother’s Day to you, Mama!

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