The past year has been chaos. There have been so many unknowns, so many new challenges, so many old struggles and so much hurt and pain for so very many people. To stop and think about it all at once is just too much. But as I approach my eighth Mother’s Day, during a time in which I’ve largely been at home with my two children 24/7 for more than a year, there’s a lot I know.
I know that while homeschooling them all on my own without the aid of school resources has been insanely stressful. I know that going from a handful of hours a week to working full time while I did that and while they’ve been home with me all day, every day has put a strain on my relationships with them. I also know that they are growing up fast. I know that in a few months, they will leave home for school for the entire day five days a week (something my youngest has never done) and I know that it will be quiet. I know that I’ll miss them. I’ll miss seeing their sweet faces and hearing their laughter and getting hugs and kisses from them whenever I want all day long.
So the one thing I absolutely do not want this Mother’s Day is a “break” from them. Isn’t that the thing society likes to tell moms they should want for every holiday, every birthday? I could definitely use a break from all of the responsibilities of motherhood: the constant decision-making, the planning, the food-prepping and all. the. laundry, but I don’t need a break from my kids. What I really want for Mother’s Day, is time to actually enjoy them.
The gift I would appreciate most is a day when all the trivial tasks I’m responsible for as a mom each and every day are moved to the back burner, so I can spend stress-free time reconnecting with my kids. After a year of screeching at them to quiet down while I’m working, after a year of disciplining them for every tiny infraction because they are always here and I see everything. After months of being their teacher, their moral guide, their cook, their nurse, their chauffeur, their guidance counselor and anything else they needed me to be while the four people within the four walls of our home was nearly their entire community.
Maybe that’s unrealistic—after all, kids will still be kids and life will still be life—but that doesn’t mean I want someone to come whisk them (or me) away on Mother’s Day of all days, so that I can get a break from the very thing I’m supposed to be celebrating. Maybe some other day, but not Mother’s Day.
Because one thing I’ve learned since last Mother’s Day, is that life is precious and time is short. There will be hard days and hard months, and for some moms hard years, but we will never get back our children’s childhoods once they’re gone and we should make the most of it. One day, you’re the new mom of a teeny tiny infant, and in the blink of an eye, you’re the experienced one with kids who have their own thoughts and opinions and ideas and even priorities. So no, I don’t want a babysitter on Mother’s Day—a housekeeper, maybe—but, not a babysitter.
What I want is a day to forget about all that and just spend time bonding with them, engaging with them just for fun and reminding them that their mom loves them more than anything in the world, no matter how many times she’s had to send them to their rooms or take away their devices. Sleeping in an hour or two and someone else making breakfast so I can enjoy my coffee would be nice too, but if I had to choose just one thing this Mother’s Day—or any day at all—I’d choose them.