Today was a great day. I made brunch reservations to ensure that I would be fed and booked a massage for myself to ensure that I would relax. When I had to go to the grocery store I made my entire family come with me, to ensure I wouldn’t be bitter and annoyed by the fact that I was grocery shopping while other mothers were enjoying their day. My children, after I told them not to give me a card that says “I LOVE YOU” without further evidence of why they love me, gave me a delightful “10 Reasons Why We Love” note that was lovely and heartfelt. Tonight I am going out with a bunch of friends for drinks right around the time that I would normally be cleaning up from dinner and yelling at my children to go to bed.
Life is great.
Two years ago, I learned the hard way that I have to make my own happiness on Mother’s Day or I would be depressed. We went to brunch and I made the sad mistake of asking my children what mothering pearls of wisdom I have given them over the years.
“So like what are some things that you will always remember me saying to you?” I asked hopefully over brunch to the kids.
“Oh I know…” Sam answered matter-of-factly as he ate his pancakes. “When our rooms are dirty you come upstairs and say ‘Clean up this beeping shit.’
I sipped my coffee calmly. “No Sam – I don’t say that unless things are very bad.”
“Oh – you mean like when we come home from somewhere and you say ‘Did anyone touch your peep?” Michael asked.
“Well – yes I guess – but more like – have I taught you anything?” I asked biting into my eggs benedict.
They both ate their breakfasts silently.
Mr. Gaga apparently had tuned all of us out and was pretending he was somewhere else completely and ate in silence.
Maybe I am just a horrible mother that offers nothing except peep monitoring and yelling about dirty rooms…Oh my God am I a monster?
“Well when we complain about something you always say ‘There are people with no arms and legs.” Michael offered.
“Yes! That’s good! I do say that and that’s good right?” I answered whole-heartedly – maybe there was hope after all.
“Michael – I am always helping you to do well at school and be smart….like what do I say to you that helps?
He shrugged blankly.
I stared at him – waiting patiently.
“Well you just say so much stuff and it’s like annoying- so I don’t really listen…” he answered.
Great- so I do offer pearls of wisdom – but nobody is listening to me!!!! I knew it.
Sam started to notice that I was becoming depressed by this conversation.
“Mom – I know! You always tell me that I should eat my food because people have no food – and then you tell me not to eat junk because I will be fat.” he said eagerly.
“Ok – yes.” I answered with less enthusiasm. That was not exactly a sparkling moment of genius.
“What about like what I tell you to be good at sports and life?” I asked with exasperation.
“Oh well – when you ask us if we won an activity – and we tell you that there were no winners – you tell us there’s ALWAYS a winner! And you tell us to always be the best!” Michael said with annoyance.
“Oh yes! That’s great advice!!” I answered – pleased with myself, finally.
“Well Mom, sometimes there’s no winner!” Michael answered back.
“If you think there’s not someone doing the best – you need to pay closer attention.” I persisted.
I gave up and when we got home from brunch I was changing my clothes and feeling sad about what a horrible mother I was.
“Do you think it’s bad that the kids don’t love me or think that I have taught them anything?” I asked Mr. Gaga as I threw on a t-shirt.
“Nope,” he answered robotically.
I got my things together and was heading out to my car.
“Okay – so while I go grocery shopping can you just make sure that you get Michael’s baseball clothes out of the laundry? I threw all his clothes in at 6:30 AM to be sure they would be clean for his game – and also can you help him get his homework done?”
“Sure.” Mr. Gaga answered disinterestedly as he tinkered with the lawn mower.
I only asked him to do those things because it was, in fact, Mother’s Day and I thought that gave me the right to ask him to do stuff that I would normally do. Also, as the luxurious brunch part of my day was over I was officially back on duty to go to the grocery store and clean, etc.
As I drove to the grocery store to buy food for dinner I was thinking about how I could change my parenting style. I resolved to be more positive. I should swear less. I should be more comforting and supportive.
“I will be a good mother and my children will love me and appreciate me,” I thought as I wheeled my grocery cart into the store.
Just then my phone rang. It was Mr. Gaga. I had only been gone for twenty minutes – what could he possibly need from me?
“Yeah so – Michael didn’t finish his homework – he had a meltdown…And also he had his ‘eye-black stick’ in his pocket….”
Just so we are clear – the ‘eye-black stick’ is what men wear in baseball to prevent glare…seen here – and also seen on my 8 and 9 year old at their baseball games…you know…because of the “glare.”
“Oookayyy….” I answered waiting to hear the end of his tale.
“And the eye-black was in the pocket of his baseball pants and then those pants went into the washer and then they went into the dryer….”
“and sooo….all the clothes are black and the washer and dryer have black in them……” he finished softly.
I mean – why do I even buy clothes??
Why do I spend every dime I have on clothes for children that are unappreciative?
And why should I not swear about this fucking bullshit?
And why should I feel bad when other mothers judge me for swearing?
It’s fucking mother’s day and I can swear if I want to.
And if you all think I am a bad mother and if Mr. Gaga thinks I am a bad mother – And my own flesh and blood children don’t appreciate me – well perhaps they haven’t noticed all of the wonderful things that I have done.
I have protected their peeps.
I have made sure they eat all of their food.
I have encouraged them to come in first place in everything that they do.
I think that’s pretty dang good mothering.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!! IT’S A TOUGH THANKLESS JOB!! ….XOXO, LADY GOO GOO GAGA