Here’s a typical day for me:
Wake up. Check mirror. Cringe. But realize there’s no time to shower. I’ve got to get the kids to school no later than 8:25. Since this is NYC, I do not have the option to get in my car in my pajamas, drop off my kids, and drive home before anyone notices me. I have to get dressed and try to achieve some semblance of presentability before leaving the house. I also have to get my kids ready, which means endless repetitions of “get dressed, brush your teeth, put your socks on, where’s your homework, sit down while you eat, you have to go to the bathroom now?, where’s your other shoe, hit the elevator button, and do you have your Metrocard?” Once we finally achieve the impossible and leave the house on time, we have to walk the four blocks to the city bus stop, hope the bus comes, hope when it does come the dispatcher doesn’t hold it there while he yacks about the Yankees with the driver and leaves all us parents and commuters seething, ride the bus across town, walk the six blocks to school from the bus stop, climb five flights of stairs to their classrooms, and then do the whole thing in reverse. All before 9am.
Once I’m home, do the breakfast dishes, make the beds, pick up their toys, check my email, look in the refrigerator for something to eat, try to get some writing done, procrastinate by cleaning out the linen closet (really just a few shelves in my bedroom cabinet, but it makes me feel better to call it a linen closet), realize that the crack in the living room ceiling is getting ominously bigger, make mental note to do something about it…eventually, open the refrigerator again as if expecting new food to have magically appeared since the last time I opened it forty minutes ago, run some errands, go to the gym, shower (finally), prepare dinner, prepare snacks, pick up kids, serve snacks, help with homework, greet the husband, serve the dinner, clean the dishes, tuck in the kids, pay some bills, do some online shopping (my son is growing at an alarming rate), knit a few rows of the sweater I’ve been working on for three years, collapse in front of the TV, converse with husband, (monosyllables, at best), wash up, put on pajamas, get into bed, and try to get enough sleep so I can do it all again the next day.
So you know what I want for Mother’s Day? A day off. I want to wake up in a nether world where my kids don’t want anything from me other than to shower me with praise and love. I want to live in an apartment where the beds are made by invisible imps who don’t come to you with their problems, don’t put away your favorite jeans somewhere you can’t find them, and never ever ask for a raise. I want to go to the gym and not worry about how soon I have to be back, or whether or not it’s fair to my husband to have to stay home with the kids when he’s been working all week and I’ve been able to go to the gym whenever I want to (Ha!). I want to shower in the morning, and have time to blow-dry my hair. I want to make one thing for dinner and have everyone eat it. Or better yet, have someone else make it, and do the dishes afterward.
It’s not that I don’t realize that I’m lucky. My children are healthy. We are not poor, or starving, or displaced by war, or floods, or fire. I have a loving husband, a caring family, a comfortable home. I am not ill, or in peril. I get it: I’m one of the lucky ones. Which makes me feel all the worse that all I really want for Mother’s Day is a day off.
I want a Mother’s Day Off. A day off from the guilt, and the worry, and the responsibility. A day off from the whining and complaining, and instant refusal to try any new food, even if it’s just a different brand of chicken nugget. I want to have a day where no one talks back, everyone does as they’re told and my breasts miraculously return to their pre-I’ve-breast-fed-two-kids state, and pass the pencil test with ease.
I want a bouquet of freshly picked flowers, sunshine and warmth without that
humidity. I want to be like a character in an old Fred Astaire movie, burst into song, know all the words, have a full orchestra accompanying me, and dance the foxtrot like nobody’s business.
Ok, well, maybe I’m getting carried away.
How about I just knock it down to wanting to sleep in and not have to do the breakfast dishes? Oh, and if I do decide to burst into song, I don’t want anybody to laugh.
Hey, it’s Mother’s Day. Is that really so much to ask?