Mother’s Day is coming up (it’s Sunday May 9th, if you need to make a note still) and I am always very aware of this holiday. Even before I became a mother myself, I knew when this day was coming because my birthday is May 10th. That means every 6 years, it falls ON Mother’s Day. I’ve had many shared celebration days with my own mother and was always making sure that I planned my birthday party on a day my friends would actually be allowed to come. I didn’t mind it — I actually kind of liked it because we (my mom and I) were close and we always did fun things. But all those years, I knew whenever I became a mom, the two holidays would be one and I wasn’t so sure about that.
The irony is that I thought I wouldn’t like them being the same day/weekend, but I actually do! It’s an excuse to do something bigger and a bit more fun. To get away or go on a day trip or celebrate more than just breakfast in bed (which, btw, I don’t like anyway — I’m huge on the no-food-in-bed life!)
But even if you don’t have the double holiday, you may still like to do something big or at least crave feeling acknowledged and celebrated as a mother for all the work you do in your home.
I know first hand how easy it is to build up expectations in your mind/heart and sometimes without realizing it, you can ruin a good thing before it has even come. Today I want to share with you some tips to help you not be disappointed this Mother’s Day.
BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS
What do you want Mother’s Day to look like? How do you want to feel? Do you want to go out or stay in? Do you want a day where your family takes care of all the cooking and cleaning? Or would you rather eat out or drive to the mountains for a picnic? What are you expecting to receive? Physical gifts? Heartfelt gifts? Pricey gifts?
Often we push past these feelings of “want” because we don’t think we should have expectations or desires. But here is the thing mama, they are still there. Whether you acknowledge them or not. If all you wanted was a homecooked meal made by your kids & husband but instead your husband surprises you by taking you out to dinner — while it is still thoughtful and nice, you may feel that grief & disappointment well up. And then you may feel guilty for that and the cycle of guilt/disappointment will come out somehow possibly ruining your day and also impacting your family.
Ask yourself what you would like to do/ feel on Mother’s Day and write it down. Keep in mind practical things — like budgets and schedules — but you may find out that what you really want is pretty simple.
BE CLEAR & COMMUNICATE
So recognizing your expectations isn’t enough. We have to communicate them with those around us. I know so many ladies who feel like their husbands should just know what they want for their birthday or for mother’s day, but that is only setting you up for disappointment. No one is a mind reader (not even you!)
Communicating doesn’t mean you have to plan the whole thing or tell everyone what they need to do, but it does mean that you share your expectations so that an agreement can be made. Your husband and kids will like knowing how they can love on you for Mother’s Day! When you sit down to share, be honest and kind not demanding and rude.
EX: “Hey honey! I am thinking about Mother’s Day. I don’t know if you already have anything planned, but I would really love something thoughtful/ homemade/personal from the kids — can you help them with that? Also I was thinking it would be really fun to do a picnic — do you think we can do that?”
“Honey! You know I am all about surprises! Can you and the kids surprise me with a day trip on Mother’s Day? I don’t care where we go or what we do but I would love to get out of the house all day with my family and make some memories!”
or this one not to a spouse…
“Hey Sarah! Since Peter is deployed right now, I was wondering if you would join me and the kids for a Mother’s Day hike followed by lunch at Rudy’s? We do that every year and I would love some company!”
SET/AGREE ON A BUDGET
Make sure you and your husband agree on the holiday budget (and make the same one for Father’s Day.) If you want your kids to buy you gifts, will that be their allowance or part of the budget? What level of restaurant is in budget for Mother’s Day dinning or activities? This doesn’t have to be super refined, but as a family do you spend $100, $200, $500 on Mother’s Day/Father’s Day? It’s always good to know how much you spend, so your expectations can be realistic!
REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT YOUR HUSBAND’S MOM
A bit obvious, but you are his wife, not his mom. Keep that perspective in front of your mind. If you have expectations for him being focused on you, doting on you, buying you fancy things, etc. That stuff isn’t necessarily wrong, but remember the holiday. Maybe encourage your husband to help your kids put together or buy a gift for you instead of just doing it himself. How can your kids (the ones who call you mama) be involved in the celebration? Your husband is probably very thankful for the mother you are to his children, and will want to celebrate with you but would it mean more if your teenagers and husband got together to pick where to go on your surprise dinner date?
THINK ABOUT THE OTHER MOMS YOU WANT TO CELEBRATE
What do you want to do for your mom? And your mother-in-law? What about your friend who is recently a single mom or your pregnant neighbor with a deployed husband? How about your sister who is a mom for her first mother’s day or your best friend who doesn’t have kids of her own but has helped mother your kids through so many seasons?
I find that whenever I turn the focus off myself to think about how I can make someone else’s day more magical it gives me life! I’m less likely to be disappointed with Mother’s Day when I know I am giving, sharing, and thinking about those around me.
BE HONEST WITH YOUR GRIEF
Have you lost your mother or a mother figure? Are you grieving the loss of a child or long to carry the title of mother but don’t? Are you without a spouse to share your expectations or desires with because of death, divorce, or deployment?
There are a lot of situations where Mother’s Day doesn’t look or feel the way you want it too and it can’t. Be real with your grief. Recognize it, name it, and share with a trusted friend. Pretending not to be sad on Mother’s Day will not make you happy.
You may want to invite others into your plans — like best friends or family members or you may want lay in a hammock and fill a journal with your thoughts. Be honest with your grief and make a plan for your mother’s day that will be healthy for you — and that will look like so many different things for so many people.
No matter what your thoughts or desires for Mother’s Day are, recognizing and communicating expectations can really be the break it or make it when it comes to holiday disappointment.
Happy Mother’s Day to you and the mama’s in your life!