Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother’s Day Your Way

That was the title of the daily Parenting email-spam-that-I-need-to-unsubscribe-from-because-I-never-read-them thing that I received last week. Why did I even bother reading it? I knew it wasn’t going to apply to me, because they never do. Mother’s Day is a day for the Typical Mother, the one in the Ideal Family. You know, woman + man + child. Not single mom. Not mom + mom, or dad + dad, or divorced mom, or desperately trying to become pregnant woman, or adoptive parent, or, god forbid, mom-who-has-lost-a-child. Or any of the other wonderful or sad or bittersweet combinations that exist out there that people may identify with that may mean they see or hear the words ‘Mother’s Day’ and cringe, because for them, it is not exactly a happy day.

Some women wake up on Mother’s Day and receive burnt toast in bed, with handmade cards and flowers, and they smile with an ‘Oh, you!’ look. There is a dinner, later, in a restaurant that they don’t have to pay for themselves (the dinner, not the restaurant), and maybe a gift that they will gripe about to their friends because it is an appliance or ill-fitting lingerie. If they are really lucky, there is jewelry. And, you know. Sex stuff.

This is not the life of the single mother.

The single mother does not bemoan the fact that she only gets one celebration a year, because she still wakes up, feeds and dresses a little person, and cleans up all the messes. If there is dinner in a restaurant, she makes the reservation, and drives herself there and sits alone amid all the couples, and fights with a waiter to order something that is not a ‘For Two’ special, and pays for it herself (the same is true on Valentine’s Day). She still does the laundry and the cleaning, and there is no gift or bouquet or handmade card, at least not until the kid is older.

I have a newly separated friend who I went to dinner with this year, and I hope she avoided the propaganda. The Mother’s Day Your Way email suggests ‘giving your husband a list of “services you crave” so your kids can create coupons for you, like getting a manicure, sleeping in, soaking in the tub for an hour etc., the kind of stuff you kind of need a husband around to do. I think I just look at Mother’s Day differently than the Typical Mother, I guess. I don’t look at it as my one day a year where I am pampered, or where The Dad does everything or whatever. I order myself flowers (this year it’s a bouquet of Thai basil! I read from my online supplier that if you get it with long stems, it will continue growing in a vase for weeks, who knew?! They had some special for Mother’s Day flown in from Hawaii, it’s gorgeous and smells amazing), and sometimes I go out to dinner, and basically am just happy to be a mom. I know that’s not very special from any other day, but I don’t need a calendar to tell me that I’m lucky to have Jellybean, or to remind me that I’ve got a great mother myself.

Whatever kind you are, I hope you had a good one.

I am in pre-birthday planning hell. My parents and brother will be here a week from tomorrow, which means the house that didn’t get cleaned for basically, well, all winter, has been getting chipped away at the past few weeks in every spare second. In between stress migraines. Yes, it seems work is the source of all my woes, including the IBS issues. I am now on a totally dairy-free diet, which, in addition to giving up drinking, caffeine and nitrates because of the migraines, is making me a very sad camper. So the job will be the next thing to go, because life just cannot continue in this manner. But I don’t know the right answer there. Sooooooo… I’ll get through the next few weeks and think about it some more then.


Single Mom 2b said...

Keeping it real! And being good to yourself... I'm not sure I would have ordered myself something, but maybe... Great post!

Shannon said...

I love this post - telling the truth, just like it is!

Good luck with the birthday planning. :)

Genkicat said...

Yep the emails don't apply to us. But I love that I get to wake up with my daughter - every morning. And in some ways its easier not having expectations of someone to do things for us. It is what it is, and up to us to create our own special days.

The birthday planning sounds fun!!!