Mother's Day is once again upon us -- and when I mean, "us," I am referencing the 85 million American women who have children. I was only reminded of this upcoming holiday about two weeks ago, when the Bloomingdale's Mother's Day catalog came in the mail. A laughable statement, "What Mom REALLY Wants for Mother's Day," delicately graced the cover -- and pages of unnecessary expensive luxuries filled the rest of the beautiful booklet. Now while I can't speak for the rest of you mamas out there -- I can speak for myself when I say, there is no gift in the world greater than that of the child I grew in my body. Not a single luxurious gift or anything else for that matter, can compare.
Well, unless it has to do with the idea of relaxation. Cliché thought? Maybe, but let me explain...
"Relaxing," it seems, is an act I can vaguely remember engaging in before becoming a mom. In fact, thinking back, I very clearly realize I did not do enough relaxing pre-child, nor did I fully appreciate my alone time, quiet time, and/or the ability to wake up at whatever damn time I felt like waking up. All of my former fantasies now boil down to one specific, dirty little thought: laying in bed, alone, in a quiet house, for hours on end watching cheesy romantic comedies and catching up on my favorite Real Housewife dramas with an unlimited supply of wine and popcorn. Cliché to the max, right?
But I am a mom -- into the depths of my soul and into the back seat of my car where my daughter loves to nap and goldfish and cheerios fill each crevice. Where relaxation comes at the end of a long day and only long enough to answer a few emails before bed. I am a mom who loves taking care of her family, her husband, her home, and all that my life entails. I am a mom, working extremely hard to take care of four people and ensure our bills are paid and needs are met while my husband gets his new business up and running. I am a mom who goes without, day after day, to guarantee my daughter has all she needs and more - and it brings me extreme pleasure. But yes, with all of this -- I get tired. So tired that my brain hurts. A kind of tired that makes me realize, I am not paying enough attention to the well-being of my mind or my body and the I make another promise to "start tomorrow."
I make a huge commitment to living a healthy lifestyle, filling my refrigerator and my family's bodies with healthy foods, while making a conscious effort to reduce our carbon footprint. Yet I have forgone my gym membership and favorite Pilates class in an effort to save some money. The extent of my physical activity is centered around running around with my child (which, let me tell you, at her toddler stage -- is A LOT). I have forgotten about myself a little bit in the process, which is a sad truth about mom-life, not that that I have tell you about that though -- the tired-mom lifestyle is all over social media nowadays.
With all of the Mother's Day advertisements now hitting me in the face at each turn, all I can think of is how little of an impact a nice piece of jewelry or fancy purse will have on my life at this moment in time. Yes, I got both of these items last year for my first Mother's Day, and remember thinking, after cooking and cleaning up for my entire extended family at my first ever mother's day BBQ (which, no, I'll never throw again) -- I should have just asked for some quiet time. I should have just asked for a nap. I should have just gotten in the car, driven to the beach, shut off my cell phone, and let my husband handle things at home. But these are things I can only give to myself, however. So this Mother's Day, and for every celebration of being a mom that follows -- I am vowing to gift myself what my body needs most. Because I am well aware of the benefits of giving yourself a little time to pull it together -- so that you can be better for the people around you, so if nothing else, I am giving myself time to relax, and I am doing it unapologetically.
I am going to relax. I am going to take some alone time, come hell or high water, throw up my hair, kick off my shoes, and lay in bed where I feel the most at peace and at ease. I am going to give my brain some time to detach from the daily rigor, the daily stress-fest that is parenting in a one-income home, and the wear-and-tear of not having enough hours in the day. In fact, I may even draw myself a bath, fill it with some Epsom salt, and make an attempt to detox my body from all of life's stresses (a real luxury if you ask me) -- and let the exhaustion melt away.
So Mamas of the world, I encourage you, to tell everyone who bothers to ask you how you'd like to spend your special day -- to insist on a little relaxation. Nothing more, nothing less -- an invaluable gift to yourself, in a world full of unnecessary extravagances and way too much stress.
Relax: It's Mother's Day.