My first Mother’s Day as a mom was a complete disaster. My husband is generally sweet, kind, and thoughtful and picks great gifts. So my first year of motherhood when May rolled around, I was excited to see what kind of surprises he had planned. I woke up with our baby to feed and change him as usual, and waited for the first time I would hear “Happy Mother’s Day” from my husband.
But he didn’t say it.
I was surprised and figured he was just still half asleep. But as the morning rolled on I realized he had truly forgotten and not planned anything. It wasn’t until I was slamming breakfast on the table with tears in my eyes that he looked at me asking what was wrong. I managed to choke out “It’s Mother’s Day” before I left the room, devastated. The day I’d been looking forward to wasn’t going how I’d planned.
Of course, he quickly realized his mistake. He hadn’t made the switch from thinking about Mother’s Day in terms of doing something for his mom and my mom, to the fact that as a mother this day was also now about me. While I had been making plans with him to honor our mothers, I was also expecting that he was making secret plans to honor me. It was quite a lesson for us early on in our marriage, and helped me learn a better way to go about Mother’s Day in the future.
- Talk About Expectations
Expectations are one of the things that can ruin just about any special day. None of us are mind readers, and everyone views celebrations in different ways. So you need to talk about what you want. Would you love a sleep-in followed by breakfast in bed? Or does the thought of crumbs in your sheets make you shudder? Are you pining for a special piece of sparkly jewelry, or is your heart set on homemade treasures from the kids? Would you love to spend the day as a family doing something special, or would you rather be sent to the spa to relax?
Most likely your husband’s experience with Mother’s Day is based on how his mom wanted to celebrate growing up. So unless you have the exact same likes/dislikes as your Mother-in-law, you’re going to have to let him know how you want to celebrate. The options are endless, so don’t make this a test of your husband’s love, but tell him your expectations.
- Be Prepared to Share the Day
Just because you are now a mom doesn’t mean the day stops being about the other moms in your life. Whatever your relationship with your Mother-in-law, she’s your husband’s mom and deserves recognition on Mother’s Day. After all, without her you wouldn’t even have your wonderful husband. And of course there’s your own mom, as well as step-moms, grandmothers, and any other important women that played the role of mom to you.
Don’t make it a competition – a “me-or-her who’s more important to you?” situation. It’s not fair and ruins the day for everyone. You may need to compromise, someone may need to be celebrated the day before, or get dinner instead of brunch, but with a bit of planning everyone should come out feeling loved.
- Be Prepared to Still Be a Mom on Mother’s Day
Maybe the thing you want most on Mother’s Day is a break. To spend the day shopping and getting your nails done while hubby cleans the house and watches the kids. And while that might work, it’s likely you’ll have to spend at least part of the day still being Mom. Especially if you’re out visiting, toddlers will still need help, babies will need to be fed, and kids will need to be corrected. Even if your husband strives to take the load off you for the day, don’t be resentful if your kids still expect you to act like Mom.
Embrace the fact that they still want and need you, even on Mother’s Day, and let it make you feel special, not misused. After all, you are irreplaceable and it’s the whole reason you are being celebrated!
Happy Mother’s Day!