Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mother's Day A Week Later

My two biggest wishes for Mother’s Day were: (1) I didn’t want to cook or clean and (2) I wanted to eat well and have a clean house.

The day began with a leaky diaper, which meant laundry first thing. Cleaning. Damn. Then I came downstairs to see what wonderful meal my family had begun for breakfast. Nothing. Husband and two of the kids ate. Nothing in the house other than that which I would have to prepare for myself. Hopeful, I asked, “What’s for breakfast?” The disappointing response from my spouse was, “Whatever you want to make.” The two kids who allegedly ate then started to complain, along with the third non-eater, that they were still hungry.

Rather than belabor the emotional outburst that I am not happy to have had while my husband attended to yard work that he wanted to do rather than help with the laundry or the feeding of the family, I will jump ahead. I got the family organized to go out for an adventure in the park with the kids’ new scooters and my skates.

When I was pulling into the parking lot at the food co-op, my husband asked what we are doing here. I explained that I needed to eat. He was completely surprised that I hadn’t made a meal and fed the children. I left him in the car.

Finally, food in hand, we grabbed scooters and a stroller and headed out at the park. It was Big Sister and Middle Sister’s first weekend with their scooters. They scooted away, working on their balance, learning how to coast. Little Sister sat in the buggy, happy to be on a stroll, but refusing to let anyone other than Mommy push. When we got to the beach, about 1/2 of a mile into the trip, we rested and had a picnic. Suddenly things were looking up.

With tired kids who didn’t want to scoot any more, we headed back rather than continuing around the trail. I left them all at the playground, put on my skates and skated around the trail by myself. After feeling a lot wobbly (having not been in said skates for about 9 years now), I grew more comfortable and enjoyed a brief peak at the freedom and rhythm that I so much enjoyed about skating back in the day. Refreshed, I joined my family for some playground time.

Earlier, we had been invited to brunch with friends, but I was too grumpy to enjoy a social time with friends. After a picnic and a little sweat at the park, I felt much more amiable. We decided to visit the friends, which turned into a lovely social evening with Ethiopian take-out, both of which I always find incredibly satisfying.

Why did I spend most of my life not knowing Ethiopian food? I have a mission to make up for lost time and enjoy as much of it as possible for the duration of my life. I consider my children very lucky that they know so many ethnic foods that I did not, despite the fact that I grew up in a far more diverse community than the one in which I now live. They don’t yet realize how cool I am, though, because they had to come home and eat cereal when we were done.

We finished changing the bedding, and got to bed with me in a decent mood. The highlight of the day was receiving my gifts from the kids. Big Sister wrote me a love letter with her very best pencil work. Middle Sister wrote me a song and played it on the piano for me. She also made me a string with beads and a little doll from craft sticks and tape – both things she would appreciate herself. And, under Big Sister’s tutelage, Little Sister painted a wooden craft doll for me. This was the first year they all did this without help from Dad. Which pleases me on the one hand, and makes me wonder what the heck Dad was doing on the other.

I like to think of this as the Mother’s Day that was saved by the sweetness of my kids, the fun of friends, a picnic, sweat, and my efforts to maintain a positive perspective. Because while I am still telling a story of frustration and disappointment with my spouse, I have decided to love him anyway. He did, after all, help with the laundry, watch the kids while I skated, and pick up the dinner. And there isn’t a lot to be gained by staying mad at him.

I guess next year, I need to be more specific.
I hope the rest of my mama friends had wonderful Mother’s Days. I welcome any tips on how to properly educate one’s spouse on the art of facilitating a satisfying Mother’s Day.


Stacy (Mama-Om) said...

Yeah, I'm not a fan of mother's day. For a while, we just skipped it and that seemed fine, but lately we've been trying to acknowledge it some way, but really, I think the day just results in me building up resentment. I never feel hugely disappointing or actually complain, but I've felt discontent the last two years and I want to try and radically change things around it somehow. Like spending the day thanking my husband for all he does... or by reflecting on my intentions as a mother and thinking about all I've been providing my kids and family... by writing a heartfelt thank you letter to my own mother and my grandmothers... Something else entirely. I'm not sure.

(thanks for letting me think aloud on your blog! :)

This post also gave me food for thought:

Mother's Day

Carrie said...

I have a similar problem every year. This year I was very specific about what I wanted -- but it still didn't happen. I do make a point of buying myself a gift and making sure I thank my own mother properly :) I don't know how to educate spouses.. apparently it's one more thing we have to do ourselves.