Can we talk about life post-Mother’s Day?
First, let me just say thank you to all the sons and daughters out there who did something thoughtful for their mother on May 12.
In my case, my son and daughter spoiled me by treating me with love and respect. The breakfast in bed — which I pretended to be asleep for so my children could surprise me — was delicious. The handmade cards, poem and sugar scrub made my day and added to my collection of adorable kids art I’m amassing in a not-too-small pile for safekeeping.
There were no squabbles, tantrums or unpleasantness of any kind. Mother’s Day was magical and special because it only happens once a year.
Now, my question is this: “Does it have to only happen once a year?”
Hear me out.
I’m not talking about perpetual adoration to all of us mothers out there. Creating a poem or handmade card for every day of the year would be excessive — even for this sentimental lady. I don’t expect breakfast in bed on the regular. I only have one of those staying-in-bed, feigning-sleep performances in me anyway.
What I am proposing is this: keeping the spirit of Mother’s Day — that happy willingness to help out and not complain — going well past the actual day itself. It doesn’t have to be just for special occasions.
This dawned on me the night after Mother’s Day. After my Sunday of relaxation, I felt invigorated. I channeled that energy into making something new for Monday night dinner — a sweet batch of teriyaki chicken and rice.
The meal took 20 minutes to make and about five seconds to be roundly and audibly dismissed by my children. Within moments of them getting to the table, I was met with a chorus of complaints. “What is this?” “I won’t eat it!” “Why can’t we have what we want to have?”
It took my 9-year-old son, Declan, an hour to finish one ounce of chicken, four carrot sticks and half an apple. My 7-year-old daughter, Mara, couldn’t even do that. Instead, she chose to clear her half-finished plate and forgo dessert.
The same went for picking up their bedroom. When I asked them to clean their room the week following Mother’s Day, I was met with crossed arms, a stomped foot and a sharp shaking of the head.
If any of this had happened on Mother’s Day, they would’ve played along to save my feelings — even if they weren’t happy with the menu. My request for them to clean their rooms may not have been warmly received, but it would have been executed with minimal push-back on my special day.
So if having the Mother’s Day spirit follow children all throughout the year means me giving up being “queen for a day,” I’m happy to make the trade. The week-in and week-out acceptance of “strange” foodstuffs and being willing to pitch in around the house is worth more to me than a soft-boiled egg served to me bedside once a year.
But if the kids want to make me the occasional hand-drawn picture or I-love-mom-themed poem, I’m all for it.
Molly Cavanaugh of Channel 94.1 FM’s “Big Party Show” in Omaha is a mom to two children living in Chicago. She writes weekly for Momaha.com.