The Trap of Mother’s Day: Overwhelmed and Under-Appreciated
At the risk of sounding ungrateful, needy, or just plain whiny, here is the truth: Mother’s Day is usually a let-down.
Last year, I was looking forward to a day of feeling pampered and rested. Like all moms, I was navigating the first few weeks of the pandemic, which meant extra stress, more to do, less help, and the pressure to protect my family’s health, both physical and mental, during a crazy time.
When Mother’s Day finally rolled around, I was excited to get a break and feel extra supported. Instead, I got up early with my baby and spent the day changing all the diapers, taking care of cards and gifts for my husband’s and my own mom, and failed to find time to shower, yet again.
By the end of the day, I found myself cooking dinner with my mother-in-law because the restaurant lost our take-out order. As I sat there ignoring my meal so I could entertain my daughter and cut her food into tiny little pieces, my special day felt just like any other. I was exhausted, disappointed, and pissed. Maybe we should call it “mothers take care of other people” day.
Now, if I sound like I was having a self-pity party and being a bit over the top, it’s because I was. I was indulging in feeling sorry for myself.
Growing up, I often witnessed my mom’s disappointment at not feeling cared for. Whether it was Mother’s Day or her birthday, she would usually end up in tears. Now I find that I’m caught in the same cycle of unmet expectations. Without fail, the post-Mother’s Day breakdown with my friends and sisters involves all of us lamenting how unappreciated we feel.
Well, this year I am done with the Mother’s Day trap of getting my hopes up to feel pampered, appreciated, and cared for, only to end the day feeling mad, forgotten, and tired. What I realize now, is that I have the power to make this day great. Here’s my new strategy:
Ask for what I need.
I am not going to wait for my well-intentioned but clueless husband to figure out exactly what I need to feel appreciated and assume he can read my mind. I have learned that if I just tell him what I want, exactly what I want, he will execute on it flawlessly. Mother’s Day is a trap for him too because he is often left guessing my needs with no road map to follow. He loves me, he appreciates me, and he wants to show it.
Is it a gift, a nice card, not having to cook, or simply sitting on the couch watching a movie uninterrupted by kids? My advice is to be as specific as you can – don’t be vague and don’t feel guilty. You aren’t being selfish, and you deserve what you want mama!