May 7, 2011
Crazy or Brave?
I am about to say something that not too many women would admit on the day before mother’s day. I am about to say that all I really want to do for Mother’s Day is to be left alone. I will accept any of the following: manicure, time for a long run, and the chance to go shopping, even grocery shopping, alone. That is the key word here: alone. I want to get a manicure. Alone. I want to go grocery shopping. Alone. I want to try on jeans, compare labels on mayonnaise, and make what I want for dinner without little voices complaining that “this is boring, those jean are too tight in your bum Mommy, and as of today I hate chicken so I’m not eating this…what else did you make?” Just for one day.
The thing is, that I am already celebrated as a Mom 365 days a year. Every day, I have the privilege of laughing and feeling flattered when my 8-year-old daughter comes downstairs for school wearing my clothes, yet again. Every day I feel proud of my son when I pick him up from school and he had a great day and has not lost anything and I know he is on my way to being the happy, independent, and responsible adult I am trying to raise him to be. I have to be there to navigate my son through tears of frustration as he tries to add fractions and I get to be there to hear my daughter read a chapter book by herself…with expression! It is my job to be there to clean up exorcist-like vomit on multiple surfaces in multiple rooms at 3 am and it is my job to comfort the same child in the waiting room of the emergency room hours before her first night of sleepover camp with a possible fractured ankle. I am ignored for hours when friends are over but trusted with the statement (very privately, not even Daddy knows) that he likes girls now. This is what moms do, this is what we do. Every day.
If Mother’s Day in your house is anything like it is in my house, this is what the day looks like:
6:00 am: Awoken by my children making me breakfast.
6:20 am: Eat a breakfast of foods I do not wish to eat and am not hungry for to make the kids feel good while opening all of my homemade presents which consists of a coupon book for things like “I will mow the lawn” which is great except for the fact that our house does not have a lawn.
6:30: Go downstairs to break up a fight between my kids and clean up the giant mess that occurred from making my breakfast in bed…how does cereal and toast ever require multiple frying pans, flour everywhere, and a dozen cracked and discarded eggs?
8:00 am – 3:00 pm: Mother’s day overridden by drama classes, birthday parties, and science projects due tomorrow.
3:00: Husband asks what he should buy for the barbecue dinner and, noticing his eyes glaze over when I say, “salad”, tell him to just buy what he thinks I like.
3:30-6:00: Madly clean the house and prepare the appetizers, salad, side dishes, and dessert, set the table, sign the cards and wrap the presents for the grandmothers, and maybe squeeze in 5 minutes to change into clean clothes and put on some lip gloss while my husband “makes dinner” (read: watches steak cook themselves on the barbecue).
6:00-9:00: Serve, eat, and clean up dinner while everyone congratulates my husband on doing a great job with the steaks. Except for when I receive my gift card to a store I never shop at, I am ignored.
10:00: Get the kids ready for bed and, almost crying, beg them to go to sleep as I can’t go to bed until they do.
11:00: Dose off while my husband watches Swamp People, a show I hate.
Mother’s Day is officially over. Finally.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this and I really do think that it a privilege to be a mom every day. And every day we are reminded of the immense responsibilities that come with that privilege. But wouldn’t it be nice if for just one day out of those 365 vomit, too-tight jeans, are rejected chicken dinner-filled days, they remembered that what makes you a great mom is that you are an even greater woman. Who really just wants one day to sleep in. Who really doesn’t want anything except for coffee for breakfast. Who hates cleaning the kitchen. And who really needs to get a manicure. Alone.
So what makes this declaration brave? Or stupid? Because it is the very first blog I am posting here. It is the first of many confessions I will make about the things I do, the things I think, and the things I say that make me either crazy or brave. Or both.
This guest post was written by Cayla of Running and Recipes. Cayla is married Mom with an 8-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. She is a Special Education teacher who also coaches track & field, (tries to) grow and cook healthy food, and juggles a giant, crazy family. She is the kind of woman who wakes up hours early so her kids will have fresh muffins for recess, confronts other moms on the playground, and get her hair chemically straightened at a booth in a flea market where no one speaks English. Is she crazy, brave, or both? You decide.