You have permission, Mom!
Mother’s Day is coming and I know it can bring some mixed feelings. On a day where we should feel celebrated and cherished, we can end up disappointed and frustrated. Maybe in years past, you haven’t received the flowers you were hoping for, the kids didn’t make you a card, or the day was forgotten about by everyone entirely. Our desire to be noticed on this day is a natural thing. We give so much of ourselves to our families and friends every day and we long for a little recognition of that.
This Mother’s Day, I want you to give yourself some gifts. These aren’t necessarily material things (though I love chocolate and jewelry as much as the next woman!), these are gifts that will help pave the way for you to experience more joy, peace, and contentment in your role as mom.
Gift #1: The Gift of Expression
There’s a common misconception that your spouse/partner should be able to read your mind and provide exactly what you want without being asked. This unfortunately isn’t realistic! While of course it would be wonderful to be celebrated without having to remind or prompt our spouse/partner/kids, I encourage you to take this opportunity to express what you want and what you need for this day. Don’t fall into the trap of resentment, thinking “They should know what I want! We’ve been together for 10 years!”. Don’t remain silent, and then wind up feeling unappreciated and unloved on the day.
Relationship experts will tell you that the key to lasting, happy marriages is COMMUNICATION. So, I want you to sit down with your spouse/partner this week before Mother’s Day and express what you would like in a healthy way (don’t use this as an opportunity to complain and accuse for poor past experiences). Say something like:
“Hey honey, as Mother’s Day is coming up next week, I wanted to let you know about a few things that would really make me feel loved and special on the day. I would love some _______________ (flowers/your favorite chocolate or treat/etc.) and it would mean so much if you and the kids _________________ (think about things that you truly love and cherish and highlight those – maybe it’s handwritten cards, maybe it’s a little video of the kids and your husband saying things they love about you, maybe it’s a gift certificate for a spa day! You know what you love, so share it!). It would mean so much to me if you could celebrate me in this way!”
If this seems a little awkward or difficult, think about it this way: would you rather have a few moments of discomfort sharing your valid feelings with your spouse OR feel upset on Mother’s Day because they failed to celebrate you in a way that you valued, but never expressed? Step out of your comfort zone, Mom. You’re worthy of being cherished.
P.S. You can utilize the gift of expression in every area of your life. The more you get used to sharing your needs and desires in a healthy way, the easier life can become – and the happier you can be!
Gift #2: The Gift of Freeing up Time
Before you tell me that you have no free time and absolutely no way to get it, let me ask you a question: What can you delete from your schedule that will give you some free time over the next few months?
Think about it. Look at your schedule and your daily to-dos and see what changes you can make. Do you go on a big grocery run every week that takes an hour or longer? Try grocery pickup! Most stores have that option now. Do you have to drop off/pick up the kids from extracurricular activities every other night? See if you can trade off carpooling with other parents so you each get a free night. Do you spend hours cleaning the house? Look at your budget and see if you can afford getting a cleaner to come in once a month/every other month – it’s not as expensive as you might think and the mental load it relieves is huge. Are there requests you’ve begrudgingly said yes to? Take a step back from them for a few months! The world will not end if you say no to a few things – trust me.
Your time is valuable and there is wisdom in guarding it. When you have some space to breathe in your day you’ll find you’re a little more patient, a little more gracious and a little more joyful.
Gift #3: The Gift of Ditching the Guilt
As moms, we can be all too hard on ourselves. We rarely think that what we are doing is good enough and we compile this ridiculous mental list of things we believe we have to achieve in order to be a ‘great mom’. But here’s the thing…there are all types of great moms! What is “great” for one mom is unattainable for another – and that doesn’t make them any less of a mom.
I encourage you to make an honest list of all of the things you feel you should do for your kids and then scratch out 2-3 of them. The truth is: you worry about doing too many things for your kids that they would be better off if you didn’t do! For example: always picking up after them, doing homework for them, making sure that the meals you feed them are perfect, disciplining them just enough but not too much, never raising your voice, entertaining them at all times – I’ll bet there are at least 10 things you do for your kids that you feel you must do and feel guilty when you fail at them. DITCH THAT GUILT! Our kids are capable of a lot of things we end up doing for them – and when you empower them to pick up after themselves, help with laundry, let their imagination blossom out of “boredom” – you’re giving them the gifts of self-sufficiency and independence (all while lessening your to-do list).
In this final week before Mother’s Day, I hope you’ll give yourself these gifts. You are worthy of expressing your needs, having some free time and living without crippling guilt. Embrace these small changes and watch them add up to a more peaceful and joyful motherhood journey. You’ve got this, Mom. I’m cheering you on.