Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and restaurants are gearing up for the rush. Traditionally, Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants, followed by Valentine’s Day. Having worked in the restaurant industry for several years, dining out on Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day is something I always avoid. Though it may seem like a treat to take mom out to eat, waiting in line for hours only to be seated in a cramped space surrounded by other diners, only to have slow service by the waiters and chefs because they are backed up does not sound like a good time to me.
As a mom of three little ones, ages 6, 2 and 1, (yes, the last two are only 17.5 months apart), I would like a non-traditional Mother’s Day gift. I am not asking for a meal out, or a diamond necklace. (Have you ever noticed how many jewelry commercials there are around Mother’s Day?). In fact, this year I am asking for something completely free—time.
I love my children and feel blessed to have them in my life. I waited until my mid-thirties to have kids, and when the third one came along, I quit my job to raise them full-time. I know how quickly time goes, and I love that I can stay home and take care of them and spend all day with them. Still, I would be remiss to not admit that sometimes the squabbles, the biting (yes, my two year old is in the biting stage and her baby sister is her target), the struggles over doing homework, grind on my nerves.
While I am appreciative of my family, there is sometimes a part of me that longs for the quiet child-free days when my husband and I used to go to the coffee shop and spend hours, (hours!) reading, talking, writing, doing work. I used to think we were busy then, but compared to the busy lifestyle we have now, looking back, I must have had quite a bit more time (and a lot more sleep nightly).
I have this Mother’s Day all planned. I would love to eat breakfast with my family, then escape for a few hours all by myself. I would love to go to a coffee shop or a book store and just read with no distractions, no tears, no calls of “mommy” for two or three hours. Really, that…is…all…I…need. Just to be by myself for a few hours and recharge. Then, I will return home to have lunch with my family and play with my kids. In this ideal world, my children will behave perfectly all day long and there will be no tears or hurt feelings, only fun and laughter.
I am well aware that the years with young children fly by and that I should enjoy them. I know in only 10 or 15 short years I will have plenty of alone time, and perhaps my greatest Mother’s Day gift will be spending the day with my kids, all together. But that is not the case yet; right now I just want a few hours to be by myself.
As you plan for Mother’s Day, think about what your mother truly wants. It may not be a meal out or an expensive piece of jewelry. It may be something as simple as time alone, or time with you, or help with yard work, or a meal made for her, or a day off from household chores. Advertisers would like us to think that we must spend money to show mom she is appreciated, but that is often not the case. She may appreciate a simpler, less expensive gift of something she is truly longing for.
Photo by Dawn Huczek