Mother’s day: The Expat Dilemma
Which day should I really celebrate ‘Mother’s Day’? (I mean who are we kidding – we all know, Mother’s Day should technically be celebrated everyday!). But I think to make things easier for the family, I should choose just one day out of the entire year! (Ridiculous. I know.)
As a US expat living in the Middle East, with children studying in a British school, the celebration of Mother’s Day can be slightly complicated.
The Middle East celebrates this day on the 21st of March. This means I start to receive texts from stores and restaurants offering the much publicized Mother’s Day brunches and gift ideas. Should I indulge in some pampering for myself now? Is this really ‘my’ time? Should I be forwarding the texts to my spouse. Or better yet, is he receiving them too?
Mother’s day in the UK falls on March 26th for this year. This is when my children bring home an oddly shaped craft that they have made in school which I will probably have no use for, but must show my immense excitement when I receive it. Should I celebrate it this day, because this is when I get the actual ‘hand-made’, ‘un-assisted’ gifts from my children?
However, since my first Mother’s Day was while I was living in the US, that is the one that has become our family tradition. This year it falls on Sunday May 14th. Tomorrow.
Mother’s Day: What I really really want!
Every year, as this glorified Hallmark Holiday rolls around, my husband probably gets a reminder email that Mother’s day is coming up. Now that the kids are older, they tag along with him to buy a present for this celebrated holiday. One year, I told my husband, to just let the children choose whatever they felt like getting for me – without any coaxing. I received an orange nail color from my then 6-year-old daughter and I think some gel-pens from my son. Now, I let him coax and direct – as needed.
Quite honestly though, I have never been a huge fan of receiving presents for myself. Whether it is jewelry, flowers, or bags – that is just not for me. I very much appreciate the thought that goes into them, but at some level, it just makes me feel uncomfortable. (Another blog post on that sometime).
But that’s not to say, I don’t want anything for Mother’s Day. I came up with a list of five things I would love to have for this very day.
- To read a book – without being interrupted.
- To binge watch my favorite show – without kids coming out of their rooms to ask which show I’m watching and then googling the name and questioning my choice.
- A back rub. No strings attached.
- Being able to wear my pre-kid jeans . I still have them.
- Sleep-in past 6am. My kids let me sleep-in, it’s my body clock that doesn’t allow it.
See. I told you. Complicated.
Mother’s Day: The Guilt. The Pressure
Over analyzing, self-doubt and mom guilt – the feelings that often consume me as Mother’s Day approaches. It is a constant reminder that I am the ‘mom’. The one making the decisions for them now, the one shaping them to be decent human beings. The one ensuring that they make it all the way in school. Pressure much?
What if I let them down as a parent? What if my best isn’t good enough? What if the decision I made has far-reaching negative consequences for them? If we had made the choice to live elsewhere, would they be better off?
These thoughts of self- doubt can be a source of constant anxiety, but until these feelings wear off, I hope that love will be enough. The unconditional and limitless love I have for my kids. Here is hoping that it will take us through these years and beyond.
And on that note…. I am blessed that my children are celebrating Mother’s day with me this year and I for one, am very fortunate to have my mother here with me as well. But my heart goes out to all those for whom this day is a reminder of loss. For those friends, who have lost their mothers this year. For those friends, who wanted to be a mother, but couldn’t. For those, that feel sadness because they have lost children. Allow yourself self-care and love. This day is for you too.
Happy Mother’s Day!