A Mother’s Day Resolution

Mother’s Day – one of the annual events where we hope to get a lie in, breakfast in bed or maybe lunch out and for someone to tell us how bloody marvellous we are, reassuring us that our efforts are appreciated.

I can remember making my mum breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day when I was young. It wasn’t decadent – it was a bowl of cereal, served on a tray, in bed. Some years I pushed the boat out and added a slice of toast. I’ve been thinking about this ‘treat’ as an adult and fellow mum. The sentiment was right, but I imagine after reassuring her that she could have a lie in, I dawdled downstairs, took 20 minutes titting about getting all the bits together (probably shouting up the stairs ‘Mu-um, where’s the tray/spoon/bowl?’) before presenting her with a bowl of All-Bran. I remember that it was always All-Bran. I probably stood back smugly, awaiting ‘Mmm’ noises and heaps of praise, and then left her to take the tray down and clear up the hurricane of devastation I’d left in the kitchen.

Now I don’t mean to sound ungrateful – if my kids bring me breakfast in bed, I will coo and smile at their eager little faces. But there are two words that keep coming up in feedback from blog posts so far, and grand (or not so grand) gestures a couple of days of the year aren’t going to resolve these. The first is Relentless. Much of the week is spent at pace – there is always something to do, something to clean, somewhere to get to, a nap or meal to be on time for, a behaviour to tackle, a list of stuff to buy – and if you think you’re making progress with all that, someone gets ill and cocks it all up again.

When I’ve turned to my older and wiser friends for comfort that this will ease up, some look a little glassy-eyed and say ‘sure’ and move the conversation on. Some take a breath and explain that it changes and, whilst it’s not as hard as the beginning months – when we have no idea what we’re doing and on no sleep – each ‘phase’ adds a new challenge. So basically, relentless is here to stay. Which brings me to the second ‘R’ word…Resentful.

I’m not going to dwell on resentment too much. Except to say I think it’s often the reason behind most rows between partners with young kids and it goes something like this:

‘Since having kids my body is ravaged, my career is on hold, my role is harder than yours, the responsibility is on me, my life has changed more than yours and I’m exhausted. I know you’re tired too and it’s not a competition. But if it were I’d win because I am more tired than you’.

No one wins these rows. They too are relentless. There is nothing helpful or constructive about feeling this way, but it’s still a very real emotion.

So I’m wondering, do we need to take matters in to our own hands? When we’re steaming about doing everything but feeling resentful, no one is enjoying themselves or ‘winning’.

Could we have a Mother’s Day Resolution – like New Year but rather than giving up stuff we enjoy and trying to improve ourselves, we make a commitment to take time for ourselves? Not wait for someone to spoil us on our birthday, or bring us a bowl of All-Bran in bed once a year (I really am sorry Mum), but do something for ourselves that brings us the calm and space that we miss, and do it as a regular practice because we deserve it, and it will bring more harmony to the house? I know plenty of blokes that want their partners to take this time out as they recognise that it is beneficial for everyone, but maybe it is often us that put up the barriers to actually doing it?

My mum told me that on a Monday night when we were young she played Badminton with some friends (it was the 80s – it was either going to be badminton or aerobics), and they’d have a gin in the bar after. I think some weeks they bypassed the shuttlecocks and just hit the gin. The fact she still remembers what night of the week it was 30 years on indicates this night to herself must’ve been sacred. When Buster was a few months old, I had an hour gym session booked once a week. I always left the house flustered, would suggest perhaps I shouldn’t go, anxious he’d need me and balking at my post-baby lycra-clad body. I always returned feeling calmer and happier and was nicer to my husband for at least that evening. I’d have cranked up some motivational Beyonce, maybe chatted to some randoms in the changing rooms and had space to think. One hour. The benefit to the whole household of that hour to myself was priceless at a tricky time that felt anything but calm.

Nic mag pic

 

A friend and I were talking about this and a few days later she sent me this picture – she’d stopped at a café after doing the shopping and taken 20 minutes to herself to read a magazine and have a hot drink and described it as bliss.

So it’s not that we need a spa weekend or a raucous night out with the girls. I mean, we might like those things, but not on a weekly basis. I’m not suggesting men don’t also need time out either. Generally though, I think they’re better at taking it. They skip out the door a lot easier, not fretting about what those of us left behind will eat and whether the pyjamas are laid out. They seem to have more ‘occasions’ that apparently warrant time out – stag dos, a can’t-miss match, a trip to the tip. They even manage to make a solo event out of a visit to the loo, something many mums can only dream of. (If you haven’t seen it, please watch ‘This is 40’. It’s very funny and almost uncomfortable viewing because it’s so accurate).

If we’re waiting for someone else to step in and make it easy for us, we could be in for a long wait. So this Mother’s Day, I will enjoy whatever my lovely little family do, and I will hope my husband has remembered a card from the kids; FYI chaps, we LOVE a card. Stick a few heartfelt words in it and for some women, the gratitude may even reach Domestic Chores levels. And then I will ensure that I keep my Mother’s Day Resolution and take some time to myself each week to just ‘be’, which will make me nicer and less resentful. Everyone wins.

Is this something you do already, or is this something you feel you should do more of? As always, I would love any comments or thoughts

We’ve been nominated for Closer Magazine’s Mum Blogger of the Year award – if you like what you’ve read you can vote for us (v easily and quickly – here by clicking on Sisterhood and all that. Thanks!

Picture: All-Bran www.food.ninemsn.com.au

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20 thoughts on “A Mother’s Day Resolution

  1. Elizabeth (Wander Mum) says:

    Love this Steph! ‘Me’ time is essential. Reading magazines really IS sheer bliss. I keep meaning to cancel my subscription to three mags because I never end up reading them. I joined a local choir a couple of years ago because I needed to feel ‘human’ so every Thursday is mine! x

  2. Tory Knowles says:

    My son went camping with his dad this weekend and I can honestly say it was so good for all of us. I pottered about, did stuff that had been driving me mad for months. Basically had the bead space to stop and think. Bliss!

  3. suzanne3childrenandit says:

    A colleague of mine booked herself into Nirvana Spa for the day cos she knew all too well that she would not get the kind of Mother’s Day she was expecting. This is me every year, I always have great expectations and am disappointed. Will I never learn?! Another friend bought herself a bunch of flowers on Monday because no one gave her any for mother’s day. Like most things….want something done properly, do it yourself! I’m treating myself to 2 hours in the spa at our trip to Bluestone next weekend and I blinking well deserve it! Great post 🙂

  4. Merlinda (@pixiedusk) says:

    I was thinking of doing skipping rope but the dishes are calling me =(
    I just want some time to do skipping rope cuz i need to be fit cuz im not feeling epic. Your post is so spot on. We need sometime for ourselves. Now if only I dont have guilt and those clothes will stop chanting ‘iron me’ =P
    #sharewithme

  5. Jenny says:

    What a greatly written post my lovely. So true, its so easy to get wrapped up into everything and not have time or even a moment for ourselves. I keep saying I will sit a relax once a week just 20 mins to me and do nothing but it never happens. I have many to do list and panic if I don’t get it all done. I really do need to learn to relax more. Thank you so much for joining in Share With Me linky. It’s always great to get to read new blogs and lovely posts like this each week. I hope to see you again soon at Let’s Talk Mommy. #sharewithme

  6. Katie Clark says:

    This is lovely and so true. I can completely relate to the idea of having a coffee and reading a magazine being bliss. I swam a few lengths and went in the steam room for 10 minutes the other week while my mum took my son to the park and it was just wonderful! #sharewithme

  7. Elise says:

    Recently I have started painting again at an art class I used to do when I was pregnant. I clear my schedule for that day every week and focus completely on the task at hand. I am loving it – it is my own creative space, my me-time and it is invaluable. I think every mum should try to do something every day that is for them only, even if you only are able to for 5 minutes!

  8. brummymummyof2 says:

    As per bab you have hit the nail on the head. I’ve been struggling recently. I’ve spoke to the hub and I’m going to try and stop beating myself up about things and relax a bit more. Eventually I would like a bit of a break each week. I think it will help. Great post xxx

  9. lisa gardiner says:

    Everything you have said is soooooo utterly and totally true. Mums breakfast in bed when i was young. Time out, yes agree its priceless, just after Xmas i set myself this challenge of a bit of me time so i started going to a spin class. It did almost kill me the first few times and is getting easier very slowly but it is a great bit of me time!! Hope all the mums had a great day yesterday, with love xxx

  10. Becky Knibbs says:

    This is something I have done since having my 1st child way back in 2008 and it comes in the form of a trip to the gym or a run outside, although I always joke that to get a break I have to run around to get it…. 🙂

  11. Stephs Two Girls says:

    Great idea, promise I will try harder to achieve this. It’s very easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day and I can’t remember how long I’ve been promising myself that I will get a massage, or reflexology, or make that doctor’s appointment… maybe just a regular walk to clear my head would do it?! thanks for the kick up the butt 🙂

  12. Nicola short says:

    I didn’t think I should say it out loud, let alone comment this to t’internet… But… All I want for Mothers Day is a day away from my kids. There. I’ve said it.
    Love you dearly girls but mummy needs to remember who she is to be a good Mummy. And a glass of gin & tonic, drank alone, will help that along nicely. Xx

  13. Jude says:

    Interesting post and yes, I totally want to do this. I hate how hard it is to walk out that door and do something for yourself for an hour but my god, I’m gonna try and do it more. I am always tragically happy and too excited to relax when I do manage it though!

  14. Hannah says:

    Brilliant read as always,So agree a little ‘me’ time makes life easier for everyone! I recently tried a running club for my time out unfortunately I joined the wrong one and it was defo not a beginners class, but as I was hyperventilating in the car after I thought to myself how much I loved getting out for the hour! X

  15. Rachael says:

    Such a brilliant read, again! I am so guilty of not taking time out, and it’s amazing how much pleasure I get from doing the most simple things ALONE! The supermarket shop, a trip to the doctors etc, I even came home from work today (I work with children and take my children with me, there is no hope!) and as soon as I walked through the door the kitchen was a mess, my other half had been working from home, and he immediately started getting the children into a crazy frenzy, so I disappeared to the bathroom, ran the shower and just sat on the floor, reading your blog in complete silence!! Utter bliss!!x

  16. Jess maliphant says:

    Recently I took my five year old daughter to a party that I thought I would have to stay at but actually I wasn’t needed so I hotfooted it to the shops. It was only when I was wandering around that I realised how much I had needed a little bit of time completely to myself. And, in just the way you describe, I felt so much calmer and more assured after. Loving reading your blog!

  17. alicia says:

    You have read my mind again!!! Genius, I have done this once prob in the last 2 years and I remember it clear as anything. I just left home an hour earlier for work as I was starting at 12, I went and Sat in a coffee shop and people watched for an hour, It was exhilarating and that’s no exaggeration. I told my mum how great it felt and I could tell she knew those moments so well herself. Fantastic blog as always x