It's 8 a.m. I slowly rouse to consciousness and look around my dark bedroom. The only inclination of morning is the sunlight peeking through the blinds. Other than that, it seems as if it's the middle of the night. The house is so quiet you could hear a pin drop, and my husband is soundly sleeping next to me. After a few moments, he wakes. I nestle up to him, and we begin talking about how we're going to spend our day. Leisurely coffees outside while we read the paper? Respective trips to the gym? Ooh, using the bathroom in complete and total privacy. It's going to be a relaxing one.
And then, of course, I wake up, because this is just a dream. I have two kids; 8 a.m. is pretty much lunch time in my house.
When I was young, like most kids, I DIYed most of my mom's Mother's Day presents—a mug in ceramics class; a macaroni necklace; a coupon for half-cooked eggs and burnt toast in bed (minus cleaning the kitchen afterwards). And then when I got older, her gifts were typically purchased—a bouquet of flowers; a fancy hand lotion; a gift card for a manicure. I know my mother appreciated all of my efforts (I dare you to find a mom who doesn't love a good macaroni necklace), but now that I have kids of my own, I realize that that's not what she really wanted. The best gift of all to her would have been a day, or even a few hours, where she could have focused on herself and remembered that there was more to her than being "Mom" with a capital "M."
I know it sort of sounds counter-intuitive to focus on the non-mom part of yourself on a day that's for moms. But something I've learned over the past few years is that nothing is quite as restorative and necessary than a few kid-free hours—where you're free to do whatever you want.
Now, look. I love pedicures and massages just as much as the next mama, but what I'd truly love more than anything this Mother's Day is to wake up to a quiet (clean) house and have the morning all to myself. To walk downstairs to an already-brewed pot of coffee and drink a few cups before they go cold. To read blogs; scroll through Pinterest; organize the cabinet in my kitchen that houses diapers, iPhone cords, a baby monitor, pens, a lighter, and "Frozen" stickers. Maybe I would even take a few moments to (try to) meditate, though having three to four carte blanche hours to myself is its own form of meditation for me these days. It would change my entire day. I would be calmer; more patient; a better mom, wife and general human being.
I love my children more than anything in this universe, but, like many moms, before my eyes are remotely close to being open each morning, there's an adorable, messy-haired, crusty-eyed toddler demanding things of me; and then moments later, a hungry baby waking up in his crib. There's no "waking up" anymore. It's more being "ripped from unconsciousness" each day, and—need I even say it?—it's not the most serene way to start the day. I had a brief stint of setting my alarm for 6 a.m., so I could have coffee and get some work done before the kids were up, but their wake-up times keep getting earlier and earlier. These days I would have to get up around 5 to have a few minutes to myself. But, such is life, no?
When I decided to have children I knew that I was signing away the luxury of "sleeping in" ever again—and that's fine. It's a small price to pay for the amazing two kiddos I got in exchange. But, for just one day, it would be nice to wake up on my own volition and have a little peace and quiet and time to myself before "real life" begins.
And, of course, when real life happens, I would be honored to don a macaroni necklace and drink cold coffee out of a homemade mug.