Mother’s day is here again and this past week I’ve heard friends and family members express mixed emotions about this holiday. Maybe you’re excited to spend uninterrupted time with your kids and family. Maybe you’re fantasizing about some time alone to escape and recharge. Or maybe you’re overwhelmed with feelings of grief and loss based on your relationship with your mother, your children, or your experiences when it comes to motherhood.
All of this got me to thinking about the myths we create around Mother’s Day that often lead to frustration and get in the way of whatever joy is available to feel. The idea that this one day in May is “supposed” to happen a certain way, convey a certain sentiment, or represent something grander than the other 364 days on the calendar can backfire and set you up for disappointment.
So, in an attempt to help set you up for the best Mother’s Day possible, here are the top four myths—debunked, for your Mother’s Day pleasure.
MYTH #1: Mother's Day is all about spending quality time with your kids.
This is only true if you want it to be true. And, if you don’t—if you’re tired, depleted, or simply longing for a moment to gather your thoughts without being needed—that’s perfectly fine.
There is no right way to spend your waking hours on Mother’s Day and if you want to do something special with your kids and family, make it happen. If you want to lock yourself in the bathroom and climb into the tub for two hours while your kids are otherwise occupied, that’s great too!
MYTH #2: Mother's Day is all about honoring your mother.
All mothers are also daughters. If you're fortunate enough to have a healthy relationship with your mom you probably want to do something to honor her, or her memory. That said, it’s okay to set boundaries on Mother’s Day, especially if you don’t have an ideal mother-daughter relationship.
So, if making plans with or for your mother causes you stress and makes you wish Mother’s Day didn’t exist, stop and give yourself permission to pull back and find a more comfortable, healthy way to celebrate.
MYTH #3: Mother's Day means you get a day "off."
So, anyone who is a mom knows this simply is not true. There is no such thing as a day off. Even if you manage to escape to the spa for the entire weekend, you’re still on call when someone needs to find their favorite stuffed animal they can’t sleep without, the sweatshirt they need to wear to the game, or the box of cereal that’s probably right on the pantry shelf.
Mother’s Day does not exempt moms from dealing with tantrums, acting as referee, or playing nurse to a sick child. FYI, stomach viruses don’t follow the Hallmark calendar.
MYTH #4: Mother’s day is magical and full of happiness and gratitude.
I’m not saying your Mother’s Day can’t be a page out of a fairy tale, but in the real world, Mother’s Day is actually just another Sunday in May. Is it nice to get a little extra appreciation or acknowledgement or whatever makes you happy? Sure, but if you really want it, or anything else for Mother’s Day, please ask for it.
There’s no playbook that kids, husbands, and partners receive, and even if you are loved, respected, and appreciated, no one can read your mind. Give yourself permission to create your own happiness, whatever that means for you on Mother’s Day.
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