You’ve seen her, the stressed out mom at Mother’s Day brunch. She’s sweating before the family even sits down, because she’s just gotten everybody dressed up and spit shined–including herself, sort of—in a mad rush to make the reservation that was a SURPRISE! She’s smiling, but a few too many teeth are showing as she’s just realizing there’s not a single thing on the menu the kids will eat. She spends the better part of brunch taking kids to the bathroom and walking the baby around the restaurant while her food gets cold.
My friends, do not be that mom. You deserve better than a sweaty stressed-out baby-bouncing brunch. You deserve an actual happy day, not a pretend happy day. Repeat after me: I deserve a happy day with my family! I’m a mother, @#$%ers!
Here’s the big secret to a happy Mother’s Day: You have to say exactly what you want. Out loud. In exacting detail, leaving nothing to chance. For example, that teeth-clenching mom at brunch probably said something like, “I don’t want to cook. Let’s go out. You pick the place.” And we all saw how well that worked out for her.
You can do better! But if you want a happy day, you’re going to have to think it through. What brunch-mom should have said to her spouse was, “I want to go to brunch. I want you to make the reservation for noon or later, get the kids dressed in their church clothes, order for them, take them to the bathroom during the meal as needed, and keep them entertained at the table until I eat every last bite, including dessert.”
That is what a happy day with the family looks like, amirite? If you want to be nice about it, go ahead and add please and thank you.
If brunch isn’t your thing, say what your thing is. Remember when you used to have a “thing?” Go ahead, say it out loud–and don’t skimp on the details, sister. One year I announced to my family, “We will go to Nordstrom on Mother’s Day. I will sniff all the perfumes. You will stand there politely while I do it. I will select a fragrance, then you will purchase it and present it to me in a fancy bag. No one in this family will say a word about how long it takes or what it costs.” It was fabulous! Before you start whining that your family would never do that for you, ask yourself whether it’s because you never asked. Be honest. An hour in Nordstrom never killed anybody.
Special note about kids’ sports on Mother’s Day: There is a little-known rule, a secret really, that I am going to share with you right here. YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO! If you don’t want to go, say it! “We are not going to any Mother’s Day tournament. I do not care what coach says. I do not care if the team is wearing pink socks. I do not care if it’s ‘for charity.’ No one who came out of my uterus is passing, kicking, hitting, throwing, shooting, or stopping balls on Mother’s Day. This family is going to listen to music and do a jigsaw puzzle while I drink a gin rickey, and no one is going to so much as mention balls.” Doesn’t that sound outstanding?
OK, then. To review: Your family wants to make you happy. Most of the time, they have no idea how. Instead of dropping hints and fake smiling through their painfully misguided efforts, try something new this year. Tell them what exactly you want, what you really really want. I bet they suck it up and make it happen. Happy Mother’s Day, ladies. I hope all your dreams come true.