A few years back I wrote a post saying I didn't want anything for Mother's Day. You can read it here. While everything I said there is still true I have reached some new conclusions about this holiday and all holidays.
I have spent the bulk of my adulthood attempting to minimize my expectations. If I expect nothing then I can not be hurt when nothing happens. The problem with this way of being is that it is disingenuous. While I wish I expected nothing on holidays that is not the truth of what my heart wants. Often times what I have said to those I love is
"Don't do anything, it's just another day, it's no big deal."
When the nothing I asked for invariably happens, I end up withdrawing to my room trying to steel myself against the tears. Not wanting to hurt my family's feelings with my pain when all they did was exactly what I told them to. I have honed this pattern to a scientifically predictable timetable.
My other way of being around holidays goes something like ~ specifically tell everyone I love exactly what I want to happen. Wait for it to not happen with an impending sort of dread. Engage in the aforementioned silent, isolating pattern.
There are other complications. Mother's Day in a blended household is a tricky widget. I am not the bio parent of any of my partner's children. He is not a biological parent to any of mine. And while it would be awesome if the celebration of Mother's Day originated with the children, usually either Dad head's it up or it doesn't happen. Generally bio dads feel some need to honor their wives or partners for all they do for their actual children on Mother's Day. But if you don't do much for your partner's actual children that motivation can fall flat.
All of this got me to thinking. In my home and many others I am (mom is) the champion holiday planner and celebrator. I make (or she makes) whatever dinner and dessert each individual wants for their day. Mom plans Christmases and vacations. Mom makes sure everyone has something individually geared toward them, or wrapped for them. And it occurred to me by never requiring any of my family members to do that for me I am setting a terrible precedent. I am teaching them that while they are all special, worthy of celebration and important, conversely I am just a mom. I'm prone to grinding out the work for others but "pay me no mind" on my day. So I sat my kids down today. I told them that Mother's Day was tomorrow and reminded them my birthday is in two weeks. I gave them a list of various things I would like and reminded them that there are plenty of adults available to help them accomplish whatever they would like to do for me, all they need to do was ask. Maybe nothing will happen but it won't be because I gave them a free pass.
List of things this mom actually wants for Mother's Day:
~ To sleep in ~ for real, everyone to be so quiet that I can sleep.
~ Coffee in bed, made for me, brought to me
~ A homemade breakfast.
~ No one to fight all day long no raised voices. Quite possibly the biggest gift
~ A bright pink peony to plant in my front yard
~ The dishes done all day
~ Quiet, a new book and the time to read it
~ Hair products from my favorite salon
~ Someone to till up the rest of my garden beds
I have learned that I do my partner and my children no favors by playing up my invisibility. Mothers are invisible enough. If I want my children to celebrate their wives or themselves when they grow older I need to sufficiently motivate them to do that for me now. It's not selfish. It's wise.