When I was a kid, Mother’s Day began first thing in the morning. My sister Emma and I would wake early and head down to the kitchen, overflowing with enthusiasm and grand ideas. Pots and pans were assembled, cupboards were opened and closed, and coffee (which my mother drank like water) was brewed. The trouble usually started halfway through the making of breakfast. Hushed conversations were had over whose turn it was to make the eggs, followed by louder murmurs of where the jam was, ending with angry whispers of “BE QUIET! YOU’LL WAKE UP MOM!” Eventually, we would carry a wobbly tray into our parents’ bedroom, proudly presenting our mother with runny eggs, cold toast, and crunchy coffee. Mom would smile and thank us, delicately eating around the eggs. I think she appreciated our efforts. All our handmade cards and necklaces strung with pasta were carefully placed in a box in her nightstand and kept for many years. Of course, the inevitable question was asked: “if there’s a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day, why isn’t there a kids’ day?” My mother would roll her eyes and say, “Sarah, EVERY DAY is kids’ day.” Now, as a parent, I can confirm that yes, every single day is kids’ day. Every minute of every day is spent feeding, soothing, wiping, cajoling, and entertaining my kids.
I’m still not used to being on the other side of Mother’s Day. I haven’t had many, but they’ve been fun. Who doesn’t appreciate a bouquet of flowers and breakfast in bed? It’s nice to be fussed over. My wish this year was to not change a single diaper all day, which my husband granted. Later on, he took the kids to the beach and I actually had some time to myself! I had a warm bath, painted my nails, and desperately tried to ignore the guilt that was eating at me; the feeling that I should be out there with them.
Motherhood is a tricky business; you teach your kids how to be strong and independent, then realize that you’ve taught them so well that they don’t need you as desperately as they once did. I’ve found it hard to maintain a sense of self – who am I, anymore? I’m a mother 24 hours a day, and there’s no time left for me. I’m pretty sure I used to be fun and spontaneous. Now, I can’t leave the house without triple-checking the diaper bag and making sure there’s enough yogurt tubes for the trip. I used to put my makeup on every morning; now, I consider it high fashion when I brush my hair before I leave the house.
Despite the anxiety, the late nights, and the uncertainty, motherhood is fun. My kids are teaching me about living in the moment; something I find myself struggling with. Instead of worrying about groceries, they want me to colour with them. Instead of tidying the kitchen, they want me to read to them. And instead of cringing at the mess they’re making, they want me to build pillow forts. So even though I felt guilty for spending time alone, Mother’s Day was a great one this year, because it made me appreciate that my kids are my reason for celebrating. One day of the year should definitely be dedicated to mothers. Because let’s face it: every other day of the year truly is kids’ day!