If Mom's Not Happy...

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It's Mothers Day and I hope that most of you mothers were able to sleep in this morning, at the very least. At best I hope you received flowers, breakfast in bed and a one hour spa massage. 

When other mothers tell me they don't like to make a big deal about this day I simply do not understand. Mother's Day should be a monthly holiday in my opinion. I don't know about you, but I sure as hell earn it. 

People like to remind mothers to appreciate every little second, that it is a privilege to be a mom and an even greater privilege to be able to stay home with those kids instead of working outside the home. Those people usually aren't mothers themselves or if they are, their children are older and they have started to forget the great difficulty of remaining pleasant, and relatively coherent while attending to the thousands of detailed needs of other peoples lives while ignoring your own.  Because that's the part no one likes to talk about - the reality of motherhood in America.

I say America because the United States is embarrassingly inhumane to mothers via equality in the workplace, healthcare (physical and mental), access to shopping, quality of products and training to do our jobs well. 

Mad on Mother's Day. That's probably not what you were looking for. But you are thinking about motherhood today. Perhaps you are feeling sentimental about you own mother, wistful about your kids. You remember all Mom did for you; you bask in the amazing love that comes from parenthood. And yet... and yet.

I became a mom by accident. I'm not ashamed of that. It's not like I was shooting heroin and don't remember how it happened. I was in a lovely new relationship with a co-worker at the time. We carpooled to work together, ate lunch together and generally were soaking up each others lives. Shortly before we found out about the baby growing in my belly we had a random, but sweet conversation in which we both confessed that were happy.  Neither one of us had been happy for a while, so that was new too. The pregnancy was a shock, to say the least. In fact, the moment I realized I was pregnant, my feet lost the strength to hold me and I thought I might vomit. Telling Mike was the hardest news I've ever had to deliver. Our futures were sort of wiped away and replaced with one choice after another, starting from scratch and working our way forward.

We were lucky, however. That's how I see us. Lucky that our daughter was healthy; lucky that I had healthcare; lucky that our families gave us emotional and sometimes financial support; lucky that we were capable of making all those decisions together; lucky that we continued our relationship and the love grew. We were also lucky that full time motherhood has not pushed me over the edge into some lock jawed abyss the way it does for many women. 

Motherhood is hard. We all know that. But what more than half of you don't know is how hard it is. And I guess that's what I'm driving at. I'm one of the lucky ones. And yet it's all I can do to not throw a rack of clothes to the floor at a mall boutique because they are positioned so close together that I cannot navigate my stroller through to get to the sale they have advertised.  And yet, I have to endure Rhianna videos being played in the mall food court while my five year old daughter asks me why she is singing in a "swimsuit". And yet any time off I am given is labeled as a "treat". And yet the expectations of my children and myself continue to rise while the monetary and household support remains relatively unchanged in the last three decades. 

In case you haven't heard, my children are precious. They have been talking to me throughout this writing, bringing me coffee, breakfast in bed, "super soft pancakes", kisses, hugs and Mother's Day wishes. I couldn't be more in love with these kids. That's why I want you to appreciate motherhood and make changes to help all the mothers you know. My daughter might be a mother someday. My son might be married to a mother someday. What is our job if not to do our best to see that our kids have better lives by not making the same mistakes we did?

My own mother did not complain much. Perhaps I am making up for that. Perhaps I am just coming to terms with the ungratefulness that seeped from my pores while I was in her house. I am flabbergasted at my stupidity. 

So, this is where it begins for me. 


I love you more now than I ever thought I could. I appreciate you now more than I can express. I treasure this time with my kids, as I know you did, in spite of the terrifying obstacles I face while trying to be everything to everyone. I'm going to try to forgive myself when I don't leap beyond my own expectations. I'm going to fight to remain true to who I am regardless of what others say. I'm going to insist that the rest of the country give mothers the help they need to do their jobs right. I'm going to keep saying the way things are without feeling like I have to pad all my thoughts with disclaimers that I love my kids and husband because anyone who thinks I don't isn't thinking clearly. I'm going to do these things and much more because I know that is what you want for me and your grandchildren. 

Mom, today is a day we all say thanks. But not a day goes by in my life when I don't think of you and the things you did for me. I'm proud to be your daughter.

Have a talk with your mom today, not just about your family, but about what you can do to help another mom out there love her life more. That will change the world for the better, which is what all moms want for their kids anyway.

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