I can’t speak for all mothers. Just me and my newest mommy mentor/friend (“Why make happy children happier?”) from across the street. We spoke about our secret wish in hushed tones at a birthday party last night over some really good beer.
We want to be alone.
It’s not that we don’t love our kids or relish the homemade gifts we will be showered with tomorrow morning (before we would actually rise on our fantasy Mother’s Day). We do. Very much. It will warm the cockles of our hearts. We will be touched.
But the Mother’s Day brunch…the trips to the playground, the shore, the museum…or whatever we…you…have planned that day will still be work. There will still be bodies to wash, mouths to feed, diapers to change, sunscreen to apply, clothes to don, wills to battle, books to be read, car seats to be fastened (and unfastened and fastened and unfastened again).
It might appear to the untrained eye that we do get breaks—naps, evenings, an hour here and there while our husbands or babysitters or parents are pinch hitting for us. But these breaks are either teases, a few stolen moments infused with the anxiety of getting stuff done and getting back on time, or marred by exhaustion. Case in point: I went to sleep at 9 pm last night.
This is what mother’s day would look like, if I ran the world:
Kevin and I would swap bedrooms (see Nothing to Be Ashamed Of) so that he woke to the sound of her voice in the morning, and I woke whenever my circadian rhythms dictated. I would take a shower. A long, hot shower. I would blow dry my hair. I might even put on a little mascara. I would come down to breakfast where Sophia and Kevin would be curled up on the couch reading with each other. Sophia would be changed, dressed, fed and content. They would both kiss me goodbye on my way out the door.
And then—I can’t believe this—I’m drawing a blank. What is wrong with me? In my fantasy, I’m standing on my front porch, thinking, “Where am going without Sophia?” Wait. That’s my guilt talking. There is no guilt allowed in this fantasy.
And then, I’m out the door, the whole wide world around me, a whole day before me, with nothing that has to be done. The day is perfect. I hop into my car and drive fast. Much faster than I ever would if I had Sophie in tow. I drive to the ocean and swim in it. I run along the beach. I read a book. I eat too much ice cream. I watch the sun set and the stars come out. One speeds across the sky. I make a wish that will come true.
I jump back into my car and drive back home to my family, not with a sense of obligation or duty, but with joyful anticipation.
They are waiting for me. They have missed me. They are happy and have survived my disappearance without incident. Mother’s day is over, and I am ready to be a mother again.