Last Sunday was my first Mother’s Day, and I must admit that it was a bit of a learning experience. In the weeks leading up to the holiday, I was repeatedly asked if I had any requests for a Mother’s Day gift, and I honestly had no idea what to suggest. This wasn’t like Christmas or my birthday; this holiday was dependent on the conception of my little boy, and thus, I was celebrating it for the first time at the age of twenty-seven. A day that once had been dedicated to women older than me- my own mother, my aunt, my grandmothers- and later had been dedicated to my classmates, was now about me as well. Rather than wishing other women a happy Mother’s Day, I was the one receiving all the attention. I was the one who was receiving flowers from her husband. I was the one receiving a childish-looking card “handwritten” by my infant son. I was finally a mother, and this day was dedicated to me. I had no idea what to do with myself.
Now that my first Mother’s Day is behind me, I know what I’ll say when my husband asks for suggestions for a Mother’s Day gift next year. Because in the end, I realized that as much as I appreciated my book and game, they weren’t the highlights of my day in the least. So here’s what I learned from my first Mother’s Day ever, and this is what I want as a gift next year:
- When you have an infant who wakes once or twice throughout the night, your Mother’s Day should start at bedtime the night before. When my husband asked me if I wanted him to take every nighttime feeding, I should have said ‘yes.’ Instead, I requested that I be allowed to sleep in. Next year, if John’s still waking up during the night, I’ll probably ask for both. At the very least, I’ll have Andrew take all the nighttime wake-ups, and I’ll just wake up with John in the morning. I’d much rather wake up early and sleep through the night than the other way around. I can confidently say that because as a last-minute Mother’s Day gift, John decided to sleep through his first nighttime feeding last night, which meant that I had a free pass to sleep until this morning at 6:30AM when he woke up for the first time.
- A mom should not need to take her daily shower while her baby’s taking a nap on Mother’s Day. If anyone is going to, let it be your husband. You should be allowed to use that quiet time to do whatever you want- take a nap, read a book, paint your nails. Then, once your little one wakes up looking for some fun or a bottle, go and hop in the shower. Your husband can take care of it. That’s what Andrew did for me this past Mother’s Day. He entertained our little boy while I took a nice, long shower. By the time that I was dressed for the day, John was ready for a bottle, so I plopped in front of the TV with John on my lap and watched the next episode of “Fringe” while Andrew showered. Andrew was ready to take him off my hands before John had even finished his bottle.
- A mom might need some time alone, and she shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about it. I’m still not sure if I fall into that category. I had the opportunity to go ice skating by myself in the afternoon, but I chose a leisurely walk around the neighborhood with my boys instead. It probably would have been the right choice if there hadn’t been a major meltdown in the restaurant at dinnertime. At that point, I really could have used that alone time in the afternoon. I might need to reevaluate my plans next year, and take advantage of a few hours of alone time on Mother’s Day. Or maybe things will be different, and I’ll choose an afternoon of family time again instead. Who knows what our lives will be like next year.
- A mother might want some extra help throughout the day with her infant, but she might not want to take the total hands-off approach to Mother’s Day either. Throughout the day, if I asked Andrew to help me with something, he agreed without hesitation. While I continued to give John most of his bottles and played with him whenever he was awake, if I wanted Andrew to take him off my hands for a while, he immediately acquiesced to my request. I don’t think I changed a single dirty diaper the entire day, though I did manage to clean spit up off John at least three times. By the time we went to dinner, he was already in his third outfit of the day.
- It’s perfectly acceptable to order a pizza for dinner on your first Mother’s Day. Or Chinese. Or food from any restaurant to go. In fact, it’s probably preferable. Andrew and I thought it would be fun to go to Golden Corral for dinner. Bad idea. Our hope had been that John would fall asleep during the 20 minute car ride, as he often did. No such luck. As we took our seats, John was wide awake. While Andrew went up to get his first plate of food, John began crying to be held. We spent the next 40 minutes passing him between us as we took turns going up to the buffet. It was all going well until Andrew’s last plate of food, when John decided that he was ready to go home and commenced to scream through the last fifteen minutes of our dinner. It felt like the longest fifteen minutes of my life. So trust me when I say, there’s nothing wrong with ordering pizza for Mother’s Day.
- There’s no greater Mother’s Day gift than wrapping your little boy in your arms, or watching as he takes a swing at one of his dangling toys and cries out in delight, or seeing him smile at you as you tickle him. John is the reason that I get to celebrate. He made me a mother. He is the best gift that my husband could have ever given me. The best Mother’s Day gift I could have asked for was time spent with the two loves of my life. So despite some sleep deprivation, extra laundry, and a major meltdown, this really was the perfect Mother’s Day because I was given everything that I wanted.
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!