Why Every Day Should Be Mother's Day (Once a Year Isn't Enough)

Come Mother's Day, like many other burned-out moms, I will welcome sleeping in, breakfast in bed, homemade cards, presents, and other gifts of love. Oh, and also SLEEPING IN!!! There’s just one problem with Mother’s Day: It only happens once a year.

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The question is, Why should we go through life feeling like goddesses only one measly day a year?

I pondered this as I read the results of a recent zulily.com survey about budgets; 45 percent of 1,000 moms polled nationwide said the pre-baby indulgence they missed most was having a day off.  (I'll bet the other 55 percent of moms were too busy chasing a toddler to answer.) Perhaps not so shockingly, having a day off beat date night by a whopping 25 percent.

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I, too, sometimes fall into the rut of wishing I had my old life back. The truth is, I feel this way because I don’t regularly take enough time to pamper myself or do things I enjoy. I mean, sure, I watch TV with my husband at night, I go to a book club/wine club every month, and once in a long while I get a pedicure. Thing is, the leisure activities I do are typically passive (hel-lo, HGTV) or group-planned. I am not very proactive about pleasure. There are days when, sadly, the only respite I get is bathroom breaks, and even then someone is likely to bang on the door and ask me where the pencil sharpener is.

In the part of my mind where magical thinking occurs, I always figure that just as soon as I do this or catch up on that, I’ll get around to relaxing. Inevitably, as each week passes by in a blur, I fail to carve out time for bike riding, browsing in bookstores, going to concerts, or just giving myself a facial -- stuff I used to regularly enjoy before I had kids. I don’t have lofty ambitions; I have one baby, one teen with special needs, and one kid with a tween attitude, and the reality is there’s not much free time. But I don’t prioritize doing stuff for myself … just for everyone else. 

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I once interviewed time efficiency expert Julie Morgenstern, who advises moms to pick the thing that’s missing in their life that brings them the most happiness, figure out how much time is needed to do it weekly, then announce to everyone in the family that they are taking that time to recharge. She called it protecting your me-time from "nibblers." It’s also key to put the activity into your calendar, so it’s more of a commitment (as in, you won’t bail when your to-do list attempts to take over your brain).

I thought it was excellent advice. And of course, I never found time to do it. And of course, I am in desperate need of R&R and will happily settle for a couple of hours of extra sleep on Sunday. But I’m not going to let the royal treatment stop there -- I’m vowing to put some Mother’s Day into every day. There’s no going back to my pre-children life, but there is showing myself more love in the life I have.

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As with everything, it starts with baby steps. The other night, two of my kids were asleep, the third was at lacrosse practice, and my husband was en route home. I had a rare few moments of solitude and calm. I was about to tidy up the kitchen and living room when I glanced out the window and thought the twilight looked so inviting. So I poured myself a glass of iced tea, took the time to place an actual slice of lemon in it, and sat outside on our deck. I listened to the sweet sound of tweeting birds. I caught up with myself. I relaxed.

It wasn’t much, but it was a start.


Image via iStock.com/ArtmannWitte; design by Anne Meadows

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