May 5, 2010

Make This Mother's Day Me Day

I've been getting such beautiful comments about redefining motherhood for Mother's Day this year. Alex writes that motherhood is "the wanting to take care of someone. It's the desire, more than the ability." This year, she's in limbo in the 2ww during Mother's Day. It's a unique place to be in; go visit her and wish her luck! Kakunaa considers herself "a mother...maybe not to my own children, but I am the mother of my friends, to my furbabies, and in my heart." And Sonja puts it so simply and eloquenly when she says "mothering is a state of mind." She says further: "It might not be the definition of the term "mother" that I grew up with, but you know what? This works for me now." Kudos to those of you who are board with redefining motherhood this year!

I'm fortunately in that don't have the same Mother's Day blues as many other women. I'm blessed and thankful that my mom and mom-in-law are both living and well. And since we were never actively trying, it's not like I'm missing out on something, as though this holiday is leaving me out. For others, they become the afterthought at Mother's Day gatherings, the room oohing and ahhing over the moms and then stopping at The Infertile One and going "Oh, right, well have a lovely day too dearie!" Danya shares how painful the experience can be:
Like many other woman I dread Mother's Day. But mostly because I dread other people's pity. I'm always someone's "afterthought" on this day. Especially at church. Everyones running around exchanging flowers and gifts with cries of a "happy" Mother's Day until they notice me, get "that look" on their face and go, "Oh yeah, ahem, Happy Mother's Day to you too, Danya! Cuz you'll be a mother someday too! So you can celebrate too! Ummmmmm.... Oh! Here's an extra flower! You can have one too!" Gee thanks. I've always wanted an afterthought Mother's Day flower drenched in your pity.
Danya's right. We shouldn't be afterthoughts on Mother's Day, or any day for that matter. And too many times in our IF journeys, we become our own afterthoughts: we'll hold of that vacation because we need to save the money for this cycle. I don't need to buy new clothes in case this cycle works. I'll put off using that gift card I got for XYZ holiday/event/birthday because I don't need to go shopping now. A fascinating NYT article from December of 2009 reports on a psychological phenomenon known as pleasure procrastination. We do it all the time, letting gift cards expire before ever cashing them in, never visiting local tourism like museums, monuments, and parks because we kind of take them for granted. In think in the IF community, we are always putting our pleasures, our joys, hell, our lives- on hold.

Here's the thing: when we pamper ourselves, do even just one little something for ourselves that makes us feel good, we feed our bodies some delicious feel good brain chemicals. I'm no scientist, I have no idea what they are, but I'm going to say comfortably that this happens. (Why yes, I do have a PhD in Making Up Scientific Facts as Needed. How ever did you guess?!)

So this Mother's Day, if everyone is celebrating around you, without you, despite you: I say, celebrate yourself! In fact, let's change the name. It's now Mother's Me Day. This is a day to do for you. If you have to go to that family function, do it. But get your hair done, paint your nails, buy that pair of strappy sandals you've been eyeing and arrive in style. Do for yourself and make yourself feel good!

And Mother's Me Day is the perfect excuse to go out and splurge a little on some home spa products, or jewelry, or clothes, or books - hell, even a new computer! (I might be speaking from personal experience. Let's just say, there's been a major party shift in the Zoll household and I friggin love my new laptop.) There are TONS of sales geared toward the mommy demographic that are just as applicable to the IF demographic. We read books. We wear clothes. We like perfume and gift certificates and spa packages. All you have to do is replace Mother's with Me and bam: it's a week of sales just for you! Look, I know it's a crap economy, but sometimes, you just gotta splurge once in a while and celebrate yourself. Sometimes even just a couple hours of retail therapy can do wonders.

But like the NYT article mentions, we wait for special occasions to celebrate ourselves, and that we need to let that notion go. Case in point: last week, Larry really wanted cake for dessert. Not cupcakes, not pastries: straight up "frosted all over made in store looks like something you'd take to a potluck or dinner party" cake. And you know what? We bought the cake. We invited a bunch of friends over to help us eat said cake because yanno, we didn't want to be total fatties eating the whole thing ourselves. Did we wait for a special occasion? Nope! We said, "we're having cake because a) we want it b) we're awesome and c) we don't need a reason." You might say we... had our cake... and ate it too... I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself.

This Mother's Me Day, celebrate yourself. You deserve it, you're worth it, and if you're going to wait around for someone to do it for you, you'll have wasted a perfect opportunity to indulge yourself.

Everyone's situation is different, so when I shop it out, others might need something a little more substantial. Be sure to check out these great articles for coping and surviving Mother's Day and Father's Day.
What other things do you do or will you do differently this year to make it through Mother's Day?


~Jess said...

Wonderful post!

Virginia said...

Thanks for your Me day post.

I have an older friend who, though she never had the opportunity to bear children or adopt, nurtured and taught me in very meaningful ways when I was young. I try to remind her that she is one of my "Significant Mothers" around mothers' day. Her contributions to my development as a person and an artist have been tremendous and a little bit of her mothering shines through in the person I have become.

I also want to let you know that I posted your video over on my blog today. Thank you for producing it. Thank you for blazing a good trail.

jensays said...

I am pretty sure that this mothers day would not bother me so much if my SIL wasn't in the hospital giving birth right now. I am definitely going to have a hard one this year.

Lauren said...

I usually spend the day w/ my mom and mother in law. But a couple years ago we decided it was too hard. I wasn't in an okay place - so we just stayed in our small town and John made me breakfast and we did whatever I wanted to all day. It was marvelous! :)

Alex said...

I love this post! You're right, we all need to take care of ourselves. I love the idea of pleasure procrastination - I am so guilty.

Thanks for the shout out - I really appreciate it!!!

TeeJay said...

Great post! I'm a step-mother and I feel even more left out sometimes because I STILL get overlooked on Mother's day. This year, we have planned a get away. We leave on Me Day for the shore. We'll walk the boardwalk, shop, nap and probably have some cocktails at the hotel bar. It's about ME this year!

Kakunaa said...

I love your blog. Day after day you inspire me, give me hope. Thank you.

stef said...

I'm making cakes.. one for my mother and one for my step-daughter's mother (at my step daughter's request). I like baking so that's bit I'm doing for me!

Ashers said...

I think your post is wonderful and I think motherhood and being "motherly" is how you define it. Being nurturing and loving is an important aspect of any human being in any situation, not just mothers. I can tell by your blog that you are a nurturing and caring person and that should be celebrated too.

FET Accompli said...

An awesome post!!

geralyn said...

Keiko, I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for the email and I hope we can echat again. I love your spunk and openness!~ Happy Me Day!

Nine said...

Virginia, I love your phrase, "Significant Mother!" What a lovely way to honor the special relationships we have.