Mothers Day is fast approaching. This means everywhere I look I’m bombarded with ads and commercials that picture a happy mother cuddling her baby or getting sloppy kisses from her toddler.
The second Sunday of May is often depicted in loving images, with husbands showering their wives with beautiful and expensive presents and children making breakfast in bed for mommy. The mother is often portrayed in saintly ways smiling as her kitchen is wrecked by adorable children out of central casting. Perhaps she’s laughing as her befuddled husband tries to get the kids ready for mom’s one big day off and at the end is handed her “prize” of a bracelet or diamond necklace.
I’ll admit that for my first few Mother’s Days I was more than a little bummed that an orchestra didn’t play as my kids came in with coffee and homemade cards, or that at the end of cleaning up my children’s latest mess, my husband didn’t look down at my tired, stressed out face, take me in his arms, push the hair out of my eyes, and hand me a present to end all presents while my adorable kids giggle in the corner.
I love my life, but it doesn’t come close to the Madison Avenue version I see depicted each year.
If past Mother’s Days are any indication to what will happen this Sunday, I will probably get woken in the middle of the night by a kid with a bad nightmare or a sick tummy. Or I may wake up to find an elbow in my face by a certain 10-year-old who managed to sneak in between my husband and me at the first crack of dawn.
As I clean up the sick child, or tell tell the intruder to get back to their own bed, I’ll hear Joe mumble “Happy Mother’s Day” while we both crack up at the way our life has turned out.
If I should be lucky enough to fall back to sleep, I have a pretty good chance of being woken up to my daughter serenading me, from my now locked door, with a few choruses of, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” all while Joe is yelling,“Let Mommy sleep; it’s Mother’s Day.’”
That will be followed by his pleas to sign my card and telling someone to stop picking their nose, hitting their brother, or eating the special breakfast that is meant just for me.
Then my family will come in my room all smiles.
If I’m really lucky, I may get to hear in no particular order: “Stop hitting me.” “I’m not hitting you.” “You’re such a pain in the _____________. (We have a 16-year-old so I’m sure you can guess how that line is going to end). “Don’t talk to your brother and sister that way.” But only if I’m really lucky.
I will be handed presents, pictures, cards, and coffee. I will ooh and ah as I hear how they picked out the presents and who tried to make a break for it at the store, or who had a meltdown at the bank because there were no more lollipops.
Then we will have breakfast and go about our day. Maybe we will take a ride to the beach or a park. The last few years we have started a tradition of going to the nursery and buying some plants. I may even get a minute to put them in the ground while the kids help me. And by help, I mean watch them soak each other with the hose and get covered in dirt.
Dinner will be either sushi or Chinese food, followed by a cake that says, Happy Mother’s Day. Then kids will be shooed into the shower as I sing a nightly chorus of, did you brush your teeth, wash your hair, with shampoo and remember to put underwear on. Since it’s Mother’s Day I might add a few dance moves to really jazz it up.
I will be tired, stressed out, and not at all relaxed.
I will look at Joe, laugh and thank him for another great Mother’s Day.
And you know what, it will be.
This piece was first published on the Dishwasher, May 5, 2013, under the title, Mother’s Day in All It’s Glory. It has been revised from the original.