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Sharing Mother’s Day – What Could Possibly be so Complicated?


I am fortunate enough to live in the same town as my mother. This is a blessing on many fronts, especially because of the relationship that has resulted between my children and their grandmother due to ample opportunities to spend regular time together. Mother’s Day is one of the few tricky spots, a day where I feel the crux of being the sandwich generation.

My Mother’s Days do not look like the cookie-cutter, media-fed image of what Mother’s Day is supposed to look like. Though I like the idea of brunch, mimosas, fresh flowers and chocolate, it’s turned out that Mother’s Day is a lot more complicated than that. Every Mother’s Day I feel the tug of taking care of and celebrating my own mother, the tug of “soaking it up” and enjoying the attention of being feted by my own children, and a desire to be a bit selfish and do something out of the ordinary like go to a spa. Often these three things do not line up. Either one has to win, or several modified versions are packed into a single day and it’s, well, exhausting more than fun.

The simple answer, of course, is to not feel the pressure to pack everything into one day. With time, I have learned to do this. Sprinkling the intention behind Mother’s Day over a period of time—maybe a week—has proven to be a true treat. I am happy to fete my Mother on Mother’s Day and do what she likes to do. I then plan a nice lunch with my daughters for the following weekend and maybe a mid-week, post-work facial as a selfish treat for me.

Taking the pressure off of one day to celebrate all mothers has given Mother’s Day back to me. I also try to gently remind my husband and children that chocolates and cut flowers are nice, but NOT me despite what the barrage of media tells them. The best Mother’s Day gift I ever received was one from my teenage daughter. It was a hand-written note written during a time when we were clashing. In this note, my daughter let me know that she knew my intentions regarding her were good, and that she was grateful for my love and interest in her life. Point by point, she let me know that I had been heard, that what I was doing—or trying to do—mattered. She explained that even though she had a hard time accepting my guidance at the time it was given, she respected it and saw the value of what I had said. THAT note is Mother’s Day in my book—not perfect, not cookie-cutter, not on schedule, not even easy– but about the fact that what we do as mothers matters and makes a difference.

Like everything, Mother’s Day turns out to be more complicated than it might seem at first glance. Despite these complications, it’s an important event in every mother’s busy life, a moment to hit the pause button to acknowledge what we are doing and why it matters.

[AUTHOR: Hilary Doubleday]

May 1, 2015

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