One might think that celebrating Mother’s Day would be a happy, love-filled occasion for a woman who so highly values having the role of mother as part of her identity. I am a better woman, wife, friend and overall member of society because of the impact my children have had on my perspective and sense of self.
But, the truth is, my first Mother’s Day sucked!
Now, as my fourth Mother’s Day approaches, I can appreciate where my first one went wrong. And I can admit how the failings of the day really started with me.
Here are 5 reasons why my first Mother’s Day sucked and tips for new moms celebrating for the first time…
1. Expectations: In a huge way, my first Mother’s Day had no chance of fulfilling the expectations I had placed on it. Everything from Pinterest to commercials was creating a vision that was unrealistic for us as new parents. Looking back, from the moment I woke up to a cloudy day without fresh picked flowers and a handmade card on my nightstand, my first Mother’s Day was destined to be a disappointment. And that was my fault because of my expectations.
Tip: Be mindful of your expectations (and reality!) as Mother’s Day rolls around — and stay focused on the values you have as a family when you celebrate. It all starts with you!
2. Sleepless Nights: If you’re celebrating your first Mother’s Day, you might have an infant at home. Sleepless nights often occur with babies — and my daughter was 5 months old on my first Mother’s Day. She was teething and breastfeeding nonstop. My husband and I were grumpy and tired. The expectation to have breakfast in bed or elaborate brunch plans (see #1) was silly of me when we were barely getting a few hours sleep each night.
Tip: Skip morning plans and consider celebrating with an early dinner. Ask your partner to take the baby so you can sleep in a bit longer and consider that a Mother’s Day gift.
3. Clueless Husband: My husband is a beautiful human being. I love him more than anything. But apart from ensuring his family is safe, happy and provided for, the nuances of holiday celebrations are beyond his level of expertise. I am ashamed to admit how disappointed I felt in him on my first Mother’s Day (again, see #1).
Tip: Start new traditions! My husband is doing a more heartfelt job at celebrating Mother’s Day because we made a point of starting new traditions. Essentially, those traditions establish a road map for him and keep my expectations in check. Everyone knows the agenda and it creates an awesome family legacy!
4. Baby, baby, baby: I selfishly thought Mother’s Day was about me — even with an infant to care for. It doesn’t matter what day it is, a baby still needs feedings, naps and nurturing. Because I was breastfeeding (and she refused a bottle), anything more than a few hours away from her was unrealistic. Also, babies can’t draw you a picture or craft (why does it always go back to #1?).
Tip: Mother’s Day is not all about you. It’s a family affair and takes practice. In hindsight, I’ve learned that Mother’s Day gets better and better every year. My 4-year-old can draw, write and make crafts. She’s aware of Mother’s Day from preschool and is already excited to celebrate with me. Her appreciation of the day — which simply comes from age and maturity — is enough to make it awesome.
5. No one to document: As a lover of photography and memory keeping, I was upset that my first Mother’s Day was so poorly documented. Pictures are not a big deal to my husband (nor is photography one of his skills), so it bummed me out royally that I had no photographs of me (the Mother!) with my children.
Tip: I’ll admit that this is one area I still struggle with. My husband usually balks if I attempt to hand him the camera, but after expressing to him how important it is to me, he’s willing to try. I’ve also invested in a remote for my DSLR and arranged to swap photography duties with another mamarazzi in a similar situation. The week after Mother’s Day, we’ll get dressed up for a play date and take turns shooting each other with our kids.
My first Mother’s Day sucked, but yours doesn’t have to! Keep your expectations in check and focus on the family values that mean the most to you.
Photo Credit: De Su Mama