Happy Mother’s Day to all! I believe that mothers everywhere have a certain expectation about how they would like to be honored on the second Sunday in May every year. And that expectation often does not jive with the way their children and husbands choose to honor them. This year I took particular care to listen to what my female friends were saying about their expectations and found a familiar ring to all of them. Mothers don’t want stuff. We don’t necessarily want flowers or cards or other store-bought gifts. Mother’s Day is not our birthday. Mother’s Day is the day we just want some of our chores done for us. Mother’s Day is a day we just want to be left alone to take a bath and read a book. Mother’s Day is the day when we’d like to be honored for all the stuff we do for our children and families the other 364 days of the year.
My friend Tracy spent part of Mother’s Day crying because she’s been sick for weeks on end. When moms are sick, we still have to do the same things we normally do – clean the toilet, do the dishes, wipe the counters, pick up the dirty socks and tennis shoes, be the family social planner. All of my friends have full time jobs and like the rest of working mothers and wives worldwide, we still do three times more of the household chores than men. Tracy just wanted her damn dishes done on Mother’s Day. Yes, the CD she’d been eyeing was nice to have, but it would have been a REAL gift to have her kids pick up the dirty dishes along with their dirty socks and shoes. Especially since she was sick. And expecially because it was Mother’s Day.
My cousin Venus was up at her usual time on Sunday morning and managed to get the kitchen and bathrooms cleaned before her three boys and husband woke up. I know she would have liked to believe they could be expected to do those tasks for her on Mother’s Day, but if they’re anything like a normal family (and especially one with all boys), the thought would never have voluntarily crossed their minds.
My son and his girlfriend showed up with flowers for me and an offer to take me out to lunch. In his card, my son generously offered to take care of me in my “old age” because I’d been such a great mom. I appreciated the offer, but told him all I really needed right now was to have my mulch spread for me. Had I asked to have my dishes done or bathrooms cleaned, I’m sure my son’s girlfriend would have gladly rolled up her sleeves and gotten to work. My son, on the other hand, wouldn’t have been so accomodating. I imagine he would have looked at me like I’d just grown horns and a tail and take back his offer to change my diapers when I grow old and senile.
At the wedding I went to on Saturday night, I noticed that when it was time to leave, a group of us women deliberately made sure we hugged each other and wished each other a Happy Mother’s Day. And that’s what’s so great about female friends. We get each other. We understand each other’s frustrations and each other’s struggles to be the glue that holds our households together. We all know that if not for our daily efforts, our homes would disentigrate into a mess of dirty laundry and half-empty pizza boxes. When life hands you children and a husband, your female friends are often your only salavation some days. When you just can’t take it anymore, a call to a female friend can save a life.
So Happy Mother’s Day everyone. I hope your dishes got done or your lawn got mowed or your toilets got cleaned for you. If not, call me. I understand.