Monday, May 7, 2012

Happy Motherhood Day

I had an interesting, and slightly uncomfortable insight the other day, and it has to do with guilt, Mother's Day and Carly Simon's song "You're So Vain."  Quite a combination, don't you think?

You can watch it again, just for nostalgia, if you'd like.  Or not.

My thought is this:  I'm so vain.  I probably think Mother's Day is about ME.

And that's why it's often such an awful day for me.

It starts long before the actual day, when everyone is inundated with advertisements for jewelry, restaurants, getaways, spas, and everything else trying to hawk their wares on "that special lady in your life."  It kinda gets your hopes us.  I get my sweet little handmade presents from elementary school children as soon as they get home from school because they can't wait until Sunday to give them to me.  This is my favorite part.  But on the actual Mother's Day, I feel waves of guilt, martyrdom, and disappointed.  

Guilt comes because I'm not the perfect mother everyone talks about - I fall far short of Norman Rockwell ideals.  I feel grouchy because I should have the day off, shouldn't I?  And I still have to take care of (list seventeen daily chores here).  Me, the Mother Martyr.  And I get discouraged because I don't get all the pampering and the "things" the ads have just told me I deserve.  And then I feel more guilt because I should be a smiling, happy mother - and I'm so not feeling smiling or happy.  How do you like all the guilt and the "should"s?  No, I don't like them either.

So this year, I've decided that Mother's Day is actually Mothers' Day.  It's not about one mother.  Motherhood is so much bigger than just little old vain me.  It's about my amazing mother.  And her uber-talented mother.  And my dad's excellent homemaker mother.  And my loving husband's fabulous mother.  And my loving first mother-in-law.  And about the wonderful women who have helped mother me.  And the outstanding women who help me mother my children.  And it's about motherhood in general, and about how privileged I feel to be a mother.  And Mothers' Day is about how I can teach my children to celebrate and respect motherhood.  Mothering is wonderful and awe-inspiring - I'm so honored to be a mother.

But Mothers' Day is not about me.  Really.  (I'll get my pampering on MY day - my birthday.)  (But that doesn't mean I won't accept chocolate.)

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