What I Want for Mother's Day

It's something I don't know how to ask for.

Posted May 11, 2018

"What do you want for Mother's Day?"

All week, my husband has been texting me this question. For those of you outside the U.S., this Sunday May 13 is Mother’s Day, an annual fake ritual where moms get to pretend we’re universally treasured and celebrated. It’s a holiday made for greeting cards... and guilt.

The truth is, I want to be alone for Mother’s Day. I want to be alone all day, with no one to talk to, let alone my three wonderful children and husband.
 

It’s hard to ask to be alone. It feels inherently anti-social and almost immoral. Why would a mother want to be alone, after all?

I’m often asked by introverted moms, “Is it OK to want space from my children when I’m worn out?” “How do I ask for it?” I struggle with this one too, because I’m an overachiever loaded with guilt. So I’ll share the wise words of a school principal with decades' experience in education, who kindly answered the question for me at a recent book talk.

Poala Crash Shutterstock
Source: Poala Crash Shutterstock

At the talk, mother who is also a middle school teacher asked, “How do I get space and alone time when I come home from work? I’ve been with kids all day, but my own kids are so excited to see me. All I need is one hour alone to recharge, but I feel like a horrible parent.”

The principal jumped in and said, “You are entitled, and it will make you a better parent in the long run. Greet your children, ask them how their day was, and then suggest that you’ll all have some free time. They can watch TV, and you can go up too your room and be alone for a while."

If you’re familiar with the culture of parenting in the U.S. right now, you might agree with me that such words sound almost shocking coming from a professional educator. Which is why I love them, and cherish them.