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Mothers' Day Evolution

Sunday was, of course, Mothers’ Day, and I had a lovely time with my girls, my mother, and my mother-in-law. We ate out both lunch and dinner – decadent, I know – and I took a good long nap in the middle of the day – equally decadent.

When Brian asked me last week what I wanted to do for Mothers’ Day, it reminded me of every day over the past several years he’s asked me that question. And how my answer has evolved over time.
The first couple of times Brian asked me what I wanted to do, I responded, “I do NOT want to change a diaper. All. Day. Long.” And he kindly took over the entirety of that chore. All. Day. Long.

The next couple of years my answer was usually “I do NOT want to dice or chop or otherwise prepare toddler/finger/baby food. All. Day. Long.” And Brian dutifully became the master chef, cutting a grape into eight equal pieces and pureeing up broccoli and spreading out black beans for little fingers. And I can vividly remember how luxuriously that felt – there was a stretch there when a good amount of my waking hours was devoted to making food teeny tiny.

During these years, in addition to a vacation from whichever parenting chore I was chained to at that period of my life, Brian tried to give me what every mother of young children craves: time away from them. And of course I was in the midst of baby- and toddlerhood, so a full day away was out of the question, either because I was nursing or because there was some severe separation anxiety going on. So I’d spend an hour with a girlfriend at lunch on Saturday, be home to get into naptime, then go see a movie; on Sunday I’d spend the morning with the family then, say, hit my favorite used bookstore for a couple blissful alone hours.

As the girls became both more physically independent and emotionally needy, my need for some Mommy Down Time became greater, and for the past couple of years I had most of Sunday to myself. I felt guilty not spending every moment with my girls, who so earnestly wanted to honor me, but at the same time needed space to re-charge. I had some awesome hang-out time with my own mother on those days, shopping or seeing a movie or ordering in and watching Netflix while Brian took the girls out. I truly loved those days.

Now, though, Maddie’s in school full-time and Cora’s gone three days a week. I just spent a month doing a show and being gone every night and sleep-deprived every day. Frankly, I did not need any more Mommy Down Time.

So when Brian asked me what I wanted for Mothers’ Day, I said, “I do NOT want to have Me Time all day. I just had a month of Me Time.” So Sunday was a family time – a particularly awesome one, since it included a long nap and a distinct lack of cooking. But I thoroughly enjoyed the girls, loving all the little gifts they made for me and how they tumbled about me like puppies in their eagerness to show off their offerings.

I started off Motherhood wistfully wanting less time with my babies, and I can see down the road where I’ll be wishing for more – and not getting it. For now, though, I’m in the sweet spot: just enough.

It’s a good place to be.


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