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If Mothers Planned Their Own Mother’s Day, I’d Spend Mine By Myself

One of the things I love most about my husband is his thoughtfulness. Over the course of our relationship—we’ve been together 12 years—he’s honored every occasion from Valentine’s Day to my New York anniversary. And he usually goes above and beyond: I’ve celebrated February 14 at the exact table the Obamas once sat and toasted my birthday with front row seats to an impossible-to-see Broadway show. Heck, our wedding inadvertently fell on Friday the 13th, which means I get a card not just on our official anni, but also every other Friday the 13th in a given year. Aw.

But Mother’s Day? Almost annually, my spouse, um, forgets.

To be fair, it’s a pressure-filled holiday; one where, ever since my son was born, I fantasize about all the clichés we’ve been prescribed by the movies—breakfast in bed, beautiful blooms, spa treatments with cucumber slices atop my eyes.

The reality usually plays out a lot differently. Let’s just say for my very first Mother’s Day, I had to dash to the store at the last minute to buy my own peonies. My husband’s explanation: “I thought the best way to celebrate was simply to spend the day together?” Sweet, but also no.

I want fanfare! I want pomp and circumstance! I’m not a person who’s obsessed with holidays, but ever since becoming a mom, Mother’s Day has felt like an occasion to pull out all the stops. After all, parenting is wonderful, but also thankless and exhausting. (Don’t even get me started on what we’ve endured throughout the pandemic.) If all we get is one day a year to officially honor our role, I want to at least see some effort to make it feel special and over the top.

Still, that’s the dilemma, right? No matter how hard my husband tries, he’ll need to meet my impossibly high standards. So, here’s my pitch: Perhaps the ultimate Mother’s Day is the one I plan and spend by myself.

Before you call me selfish or ungrateful or all the words that get lobbed at moms who ask to put themselves first, hear me out: I love my family. I treasure the time we spend together. I just know that I’m a better parent each and every time I get to steal even a minute away and put my oxygen mask on first.

Now what would this solo Mother’s Day look like? I’m glad you asked! I’d wake up and head to a spa. I’d get a manicure-pedicure. Or see a movie at a theater all by myself. I’d drive around blasting just about anything that isn’t Moana and then stop to sip a cup of tea and eat a to-go croissant uninterrupted. I’d even agree to be back by bedtime, so we could end the day together as a family, me feeling whole again, revived, complete.

To my darling spouse who will inevitably up reading this: As the saying goes, it’s not you, it’s me. This Mother’s Day, I’ve decided that you don’t have to be responsible for the festivities; you just have to be responsible for our kid for a handful of hours.

Me? I’ll be logging off. Honoring myself. Being my own mom. And if I treat myself to peonies while I’m at it, maybe that takes the pressure off both of us.

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