I’m a beach person. I absolutely love the beach. So much so, that I cannot understand why anyone would not like the beach. After nearly two decades together, my husband told me recently that he doesn’t like the beach. I. Was. Astonished. How could I not know this? How is this even possible?
“The sand,” he complained. “It gets everywhere.”
“Yeah, but the water. The sound. The smell. The sun,” I replied.
On this topic we must just agree to disagree. And we must also agree to the fact that every year, we will make trips to the beach. After all, a happy wife means a happy life, right?
So, before Mother’s Day one year, I told my husband how I wanted to spend the day. I didn’t want to spend it in a busy restaurant or hanging out with other people. I wanted our family of five to head to the Dunes. I know it wasn’t exactly beach season in Michiana, and especially not swim season (when is Lake Michigan ever in swim season?), but if Mother’s Day was “my day,” then I wanted to spend it sitting in the sand, watching the water lap the shore. And that’s just what we did.
When we returned home (yes, with our shoes, shorts and shirts all full of sand), I met up with a neighbor. The conversation started with simple enough small talk, but soon enough, it shifted.
“All I wanted to do today was get flowers,” she said.
Unlike mine, her day had been filled with hustle and bustle, getting kids to practices, trying to do some laundry and getting things in order around the house before the work week started up again. All she wanted to do was take a minute from her busy day to get some flowers. But it didn’t happen.
She stood there exhausted, hurt and disappointed as tears dripped down her cheeks. It was supposed to be a day when she felt loved and appreciated. Instead she felt depleted and ignored. I stood there trying to hide my sandy feet, while offering her some comfort. But what I didn’t say to her was maybe what she needed to hear.
And, so, I offer you my one-step guide to really enjoying Mother’s Day because I know that my neighbor is not the only one who has felt this way on the very day that is supposed to honor us. I’ve talked to too many moms and friends who have felt ignored and unappreciated, expecting more from the day than what they actually received. Are you ready for the one-step advice that I should’ve shared with my neighbor?
Do what you want.
It’s that simple. I know, you may think it sounds selfish, self-absorbed and maybe not even possible. But if it’s really your day, then you make the call. If your husband asks you what you want to do, tell him. Better yet, don’t wait for him to ask. Simply say, “Hey, Mother’s Day is coming up. I don’t want to sit in an overcrowded restaurant. We are ordering takeout Thai.” Tell the kids the day won’t be about them. Instead, they will trek along with you as you pick out flowers that you will then plant together. Or, tell everyone you are taking a day to yourself and leave.
Mother’s Day is not a day for you to take a back seat. It’s a day for others to show their appreciation for you and for YOU to appreciate yourself also. Motherhood is exhausting. Give yourself a break. Do something you want to do for a change. Go sit on the beach even if your husband doesn’t like it. After all, Father’s Day is next month. He’ll get to choose his own adventure then, but right now it’s your turn.