My working title for this post was "How My Family Celebrates Mother's Day," and I was going to share the approach my husband and I have to our respective special days. In a nutshell: It's our day, and we get to spend it alone.
Sure, since our kids have been old enough to know what's going on, we always log the obligatory breakfast, but then it's "me" time for the rest of the day. My husband spends it at a beloved coffee shop on the upper west side of Manhattan for as many hours alone with his journal and thoughts as he wants. For me, it's a pedicure (massage if we are flush), lunch with a friend, and maybe a little shopping. It doesn't really matter as long as I am far away from the responsibilities for which I am being honored.
People always seem surprised when I explain this. What makes perfect sense to me is novel to those who have had their brunch reservations in place for months. So I was excited to share with the world my brilliant take on Mother's Day: It's for you, lady! Go be alone! Do your thang, girl!
And then something changed. While I still firmly believe that mothers and fathers should spend the day any way they wish, because it is, after all, their day, this year my wish is to go see a matinee of Mary Poppins at the local art house theater with my 6-year-old.
For the first time, I don't see this day as a sanctioned break from a job that has me worn ragged, but a time to celebrate the special relationship I have with the people who are part of it. What a change.
Nearly seven years and two kids into this gig, I'm finally getting the hang of it. My second child is now two and can ask for what she needs. (No more unsolvable screaming!) I am over my two bouts of postpartum anxiety. My 6-year-old is entering the age of reason where meltdowns are the exception, not the rule.
And about five months ago, I realized I had the time and bandwidth to start taking care of myself on a regular basis through better eating, drinking way less wine (make that none), regular soul-releasing Zumba classes, a consistent bedtime, and the healthy challenge of training for a 10K. The result? I am a much happier, more balanced person who enjoys the job of mom much more.
I'm still not going to write a glowing post about the magic of motherhood, and I'm still going to vent about the difficulties when you ask me how things are going on the playground. But as I begin to hit my motherhood stride, I can honestly say that the only job I have ever known that I wanted, and the hardest job I have ever had, is now the most enjoyable. And it's time to celebrate that!
When it comes to motherhood, my goal as editorial director of Seleni is to have an honest conversation about everything that encompasses the experience – the good, the bad, and the tragic – so that we all understand that this is a struggle we share, that our stories are heard, and that there is help. And even when things are awful, they can get better.
Life is messy. Motherhood is messy. And there are enough marketers and folks out there putting on the whitewash (many of them sitting next to you in the sandbox). My job at Seleni is to let the unvarnished truth shine through.
Today my truth is that the role I play in the lives of two young girls is a privilege I do not take for granted, and it's one I enjoy more and more every day. I couldn't fully understand that until I had some space and peace to rest and take care of myself. But now that I do that on a regular basis, I have less need to cram it all into one day. And more desire to spend that day like many of the mothers I know – with the people that gave us the honor.