What Moms Deserve

A modest manifesto on Mothers' day and every day

by Sandra Dawn

What I'd like this minute is a cup of tea.

I walk to the kitchen to put on the kettle and notice I haven't put away the food from lunch. I flip on the kettle and tidy up. Sweep. Fold laundry. Then remember I came in for a cup of tea. The water's gone cold, so I turn on the kettle again. As I do, I see egg bits staring at me from the frying pan. I clean that. Why was I here again? Right, tea.

I flip on the kettle once more. It doesn't take long to boil because the water was still warm. I pour a cup. Aaaahhhh, it smells good. Now it's too hot. Give it a second. What else should I do?

I need to change the sheets in the guest bedroom for my friend's visit, so I do. Of course I run into the garbage and recycling on my way. I make a run to the basement. (It's such a huge pile it blocks the apartment door.) Baby stirs. She falls back to sleep. It's 1 p.m. I have one hour before I need to wake my 2-year-old to get my 5-year-old from school. I think I might have a bit of time to squeeze in some work.

My tea is cold.

We juggle. And we do it day after day. Sometimes effortlessly and other times the tasks feel insurmountable. But we do it. And often our tea goes cold.

This Mother's Day I say, "Let us drink hot tea!" We deserve that and more. This modest manifesto is just a taste of what we merit:

1. We deserve to have an uninterrupted conversation.

2. We deserve to take 20 minutes every day to uni-task something we want to – a passion, a shower, a nap.

3. We deserve a non-compete clause with every other mother out there.

4. We deserve the occasional mind erase to let go of moments that should live in the past. And then we deserve a redo.

5. We deserve to cook one meal for everyone.

6. We deserve to never apologize for the mess in our house.

7. We deserve a magic alarm clock that keeps our children in bed until 7 a.m. 

8. We deserve a playlist unrelated to the trials and tribulations of animated characters.

9. We deserve regular guilt-free time away from our mothering responsibilities.

10. We deserve even bigger chunks of time away from those responsibilities. A weekend away. A week. Whatever we can get, we deserve to take and enjoy it.

11. We deserve to enjoy intimate moments without having to worry about the baby waking up or the kids walking in.

12. We deserve to say no – to too much homework, too many sports, or too much volunteering. No to the umpteenth plea for ice cream at the park just because their friends are getting some. No to anything we want to refuse. Period. 

13. We deserve to extend ourselves the same tenderness and forgiveness that we would to a friend dealing with the exhaustion and difficulties of mothering.

14. We deserve to let go of guilt and replace it with pride and self-compassion.

15. We deserve to know we're great moms – even if we don't like wiping tushies or changing sheets more times than we ever imagined necessary, and even when we want to run screaming in the opposite direction of our kids (usually when they’re whining). Those emotions don't take away from how great we are. They just prove we’re human.

Happy Mother's Day. You deserve it.

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Sandra Dawn

Sandra Dawn is a freelance writer and former television and radio journalist who lives in Brooklyn with her two daughters, son and husband. When not writing, doing laundry, or making tea, she enjoys baking bread and long walks on the beach.

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