What is Mothers Day really about?
Mothers Day is supposed to be about showing gratitude to the Mamma for all that she does. Right? Yet it can often just end up being an added chore for mum in some households. The poor Mamma is running around trying to find that perfect something for her own Mum & Mum-in-Law. Getting the kids in gear to write a card or draw a picture. Not to mention often picking up a little something for herself so the kids can wrap it and give it back. (I may have been guilty of this in my own house one year.) Which kind of defeats the purpose of her getting to enjoy her own special day. It's not necessarily that the Dad's aren't trying, but, well how do we put this...marketing and expectations can be pretty overwhelming when one gets out there trying to find the 'perfect' present. And often, the best of intentions can lead to some fairly ummmmm...."you know" kinda gifts. I was advised a long, long time ago, if we want to love the gift because we love it, not just because we love the giver, often with our partners, it can be best to be a little (or a lot) blunt. Hints don't always work.
Another wise friend of mine announced a few years ago "Mothers Day should be the day that she just gets up, walks out the door. ALONE. And gets to do whatever she wants. No kids attached. No responsiblilty" Now a few of you might be thinking that's a bit much, and that you really love the day out with your kids. Which is awesome. I do too. But this Mamma was making a very blunt and valid point. What she was basically saying, is that what she wants and deserves, as we all do, is for some time to herself to just be HER! She wants her partner to take full responsibility and let her step back. She does not want to have to organise food, and clothes, and get the kids ready and her ready, and manage the kids and their overstimulated selves, all in the name of everyone saying "Thanks mum for all that you do. You are really special, and you really deserve a break". Cos that's kinda not a relaxing day for her.
So, just in case you are secretly thinking 'Amen Sista', and would like a bit of her wish come true on your Mothers day, or your every day, I have collated a bunch of other gentle (blunt), but clear suggestions that I have gleamed from my wider village of mammas, of what we might really wish for this Mothers Day. Feel free to forward this message onto your partner for some 'gentle' guidance.
This Mothers Day is fast approaching (days away now), and so I imagine soon you may think about wanting to buy the obligatory gift to celebrate the day. Because she loves you, and does not know how to put it, please let me save you anguish by clarifying a few things. We, in general, are in want and NEED of some pretty simple stuff, Not much of it you can buy in a Mothers Day sale:
We DO NOT Want a Bunch of Junk Just Because It's Mothers Day
I am aware that every single store is trying to tell you that we do, but the truth is, unless she has made it very clear that she does want something specific, there is a good chance that everything else will be something more she needs to be grateful for, wear, carry or display. That she will love because she loves the people that gifted it to her, but otherwise...meh.
Unless she has made it very clear that she does need something, she probably DOES NOT need pyjamas, cheap jewellery, or even expensive Mothers Day..ish jewelery that is not her style, a new handbag, clothes she did not choose, shoes or some ornament to display. Because the chances are one of the reasons that she love you IS NOT your impeccable fashion sense in regards to any of the above (no offense), nor the perceived fashion sense of the Mothers Day craze Sales. She loves you for far more important qualities.
We DO NOT want to be an after thought of roadside flowers & chocolate
Okay, for me, there is never a bad time for chocolate. But we do not want it to feel like an after thought or forced action.
So what would completely float her boat this Mothers Day?
We would love to be treated to a day out with our family without being responsible for the logistics of making it happen
If you could plan it, pack the picnic, the nappies, the change of clothes (for when someone falls into a creek or something), and manage the kids all day so she can chill, you have nailed the brief. Oh and remember to take photos for her please. With her actually in the picture, not behind the camera. I put this up top, cos it's my favourite kind of day out, and love it when my man organises it for me.
What we wouldn't give not to feel tired!
Although we may absolutely love the idea of spending Mothers Day with the family, or visiting our own mums, we are completely open to a 'claim it later' kinda gift that aims to top up our energy tank. This could actually cost you nothing in $$, but will ask for commitment from you and the kids to make it happen. Maybe you could get the kids to draw up vouchers or a gift card, something like sleep in for a month of Sundays, or Tuesdays Nights = Early Night. Whatever creative plan you come up with would be amazing, but please don't let there be fine-print such as "on the condition that you have breakfast/dinner ready, and all school lunches for the next day done."
Noooo Daddy. What we are talking about is Mamma Bear legitimately signing off early, and you stepping into her shoes and getting it all done for her. The only fine-print condition need be that "I Mamma Bear, am willing to accept that you will get it done, and even though it is different to how I would do it. I understand that you are perfectly capable, and I trust you to do the job without looking over your shoulder, or commenting because it is not how I would do it. I understand that there is more than one way to get stuff done, and it is no fun for you if I go and critisize everything that you try to do"*.
(* Let's be honest Mamma's, we can be guilty of this. He's not going to be willing to persist if he's feeling shit about everything he's trying to do. ;-) ")
We would love to find a piece of "Me" again!
The thing is, no mater how much we love to be with you and the kids, we cannot help feeling a little smothered at times. We all find ourselves wondering where that lady went that used to live in this body BC (Before Children). Renewing an old hobby, or beginning a new one we may have expressed interest in would be Ahmaaaazing! Sport, art, music - Would you consider gifting a workshop, or season, or semester (that's generally 10 weeks) of weekly "me time" in something that can help her focus completely on herself again?
Or you could make it as simple as sending her out with the girls for a guilt free day/night out. (Tip - The guilt often comes from within her, not because of anything you do. Can you help her to release it?)
We need you to encourage us to invest in better self care?
In general, too many of us feel guilty if we even consider doing something for ourselves. We need you to remind us we deserve it. To remind us we need it, if we are to be the best version of ourselves. The results: We will be happier. We will be energised. We will have more enthusiasm. For everything. Including YOU!
Please choose wisely by thinking about what she loves, not what you think she needs. Was there a time she went to weekly yoga and loved it? Does she love meditation and would love a retreat? Is she a suppressed 80's Rock fan that is slowly dying under the barage of Wiggles and La La who needs to hit a regular cover band at the local pub? Or does she just need to know that you know every Saturday Morning Mummy gets to take a walk/drive, and enjoy an hour to herself, completely uninterrupted, to do anything she wants. Is she suffering in pain, and in need of a massage or 3? Does she need one night a week, every week, to soak in a bath, oils diffusing, wine in one hand, book in another. Once you find her 'thing', this weekly top up to her mind and body could be the perfect gift.
We love when our kids put in the effort to make us something. We love it love even more to know that you put in the effort to instigate it!
What else can I say? The kind of creation you and the kids would make together will have it's own unique stamp and a place in the heart forever. Especially if you clean up all the glue and glitter later.
It would be so nice to appreciate a clean house, without having to do it!
Not only would it say, without words, how much you appreciate what we do, but to wake up to, or step in to a tidy home, washed floors, an empty laundry basket, as in washed folded AND PUT AWAY clothes, and/or kids rooms tidied are the kinds of things that send a wave of gratitude through us that melts all tension. You may find everyone benefits here.
Say it, and show that you MEAN IT!
When you NOTICE that she has cleaned up, that the kids are organised and ready to go out the door, that she has coordinated their extra-curricular, managed dinner on the table, and that she happens to look effortlessly and casually hot (hint: that's when she has clean hair, and clean clothes on, because you love her for her, not her outfit), please let her know that you noticed. Let her know that you notice all the little things that she does to make your house a home, and your family happy. It takes a hell of a lot of effort to maintain this standard level of mess that families with children live in. If we actually did nothing, believe me, it would be so much worse. Tell her you notice and appreciate it. Better yet, find little ways to SHOW HER. Raising kids is like signing up to a degree in Time Management. Getting anywhere on time deserves a freakin' ribbon.
Please let her know you are grateful for all her background work so you can throw on your shorts and shirt, and wander to the car. Better yet, ask, "What can I do to help us get out the door?"
When we are Stay At Home Mums in this modern society, it can be a very difficult thing to go from being completely independant working women, to stepping into a more traditional role of housewife. We need you to remember we are a team, and that what we do, caring for OUR children is equally, if not more important. Please build us up and remind us how special we are.
When we are Working Mums, and feel the pressure of juggling our job or business, and maintaining a home and balance of family life, we need you to remember that we are a team, and share the house load so we have equal limited, but precious time with our children. Please build us up and remind us how special we are.
Mothers Day is supposed to be about showing gratitude to the Mamma in your life. Celebrating her awesomeness. Your efforts and attentions will ALWAYS trump (I have serious troubles using that word now) anything a Mothers Day sale can offer. The added bonus- most these suggestions will give you more valued one on one time with your kids. It's like a gift to the whole family.