As soon as April is half gone you can start noticing the first subtle hints – Mother’s Day. Just like Christmas for many people it’s here all of a sudden, unforseeable always on the second Sunday in May (by the way: Christmas will be on December 24th this year, no excuses, I told you 😉 ). And the closer this day is coming the more advertising you can see: big billboards, flyers in your mailbox showing vases and coffeemakers, ads on the telly (which I’m not really watching anymore, so yay for that) telling you about chocolates, liqueur and perfums for mami. And the more I see the sicker I feel. But why?
Blessing or curse?
I don’t know exaclty. As a child I was looking forward to Mother’s Day, we crafted little gifts in Kindergarten and school. Later on I tried to find something my mother might like, affordable for my rather small budget. But I never really thought it was so important for my mother. I never asked, whether that impression was right, and I can’t ask anymore. What she did love though was the invitation for Mother’s Day lunch every year, asparagus and pancakes, slices of ham, potatoes and sauce hollandaise. I’m pretty lucky that way, having married a chef who will cook for the wife and mother-in-law.
I think, what’s turning Mother’s Day into a curse, is the expectation. Not only one-self’s but societie’s expectation, made going higher and higher by all the advertising. A mother has to be celebrated on this one day, just to go back to the usual chores, that are being taken for granted anyway.
But I do not fit in this box, where a full-time-working mother does the whole household–thing as well. I am grateful for having a husband who’s not only cooking a lot, but does a lot of the cleaning and tidying up as well, and he does it way better than me, being the chaotic creative that I am. And that might even be one of the reasons I do not feel comfortable with this day coming up year after year: do I deserve Mother’s Day? Well, I hope there are a few alarms going up in your head now, or at least rising eyebrows thinking “wtf?”, if I read those lines I know I would…
being a mother, what does that mean anyway?
Let’s start with the obvious: you are a mother if you brought a child into this world. No matter when, no matter how. I guess that’s the most basic definition. But in my eyes you are a mother as well as soon as you take care of a child in a “motherly” manner. You do not need have given birth for this.
And then there’s this: feeding, changing nappies, cooking food, wiping backsides, washing, dressing, undressing, consoling, explaining, laughing, raising, taking to Kindergarten, collecting, doing homework, baking cakes, taking to school, puberty, offering solutions for problems, visits to the doc, giving medication, offering a shoulder to cry on, being the bucket they empty their insides – literally as well and then emptying said bucket including doing the washing, watching your kid having problems you can’t help with, being happy with them, and so so much more.
When will this stop? I don’t think it ever will. Mine are almost 20 and 17 now, the problems and scary things have changed, but did not get smaller. Some are even bigger. One of mine is diagnosed with depression, and if this kid is in a black hole I fall into my own, fearing and worrying for them. But I am just a over the moon if one of them succeeds in their job or studying. And it will be like that even when they’re 30 years old. Or 40.
What’s that got to do with household-chores?
Nothing. At. all. See, if I had someone hired to do my household, doing the cooking, dishes, washing…. nothing would change. Ok, they would empty the pukey-bucket. But that’s it.
So there I have the answer to my question, being a mother does not mean having a perfect home, with or without fulltime-job, and juggling kids at the same time. not for me anyway. Kudos to everyone who are able to do this.
So what grades do I get in my being a mother?
I don’t give a rat’s ass. Honestly. My oldest came to me yesterday, congratulation on Mother’s Day saying “you’re great”. I don’t need anything more. I told both of them coming up to this day, I don’t want any presents, they might not be able to afford, I want to spend time with them. That’s worth so much more. Daughter had to work, but came home for dinner, son prepared a nice breakfast-treat and made a beautiful cake. Time together outweighs any box of chocolates.
And so Mother’s Day this year was really nice. I sent hubby to the gym for a while, on kid working, the other making cake, and I had the whole day and did some painting. No bad conscience and enjoying it. Dinner was beautiful and so great having all of us together. I just have to remind myself of this next year. And yes, I do deserve Mother’s Day. Putting in so much engery on this emotional roller-coaster, all the Mother’s Days can’t compensate for it, but when I look at my kids it’s worth every tear and every smile.