Back when I was battling the monster that is infertility, the thought that I may never get to celebrate Mother's Day was soul-crushing. Each year that went by without children was more depressing than the last. And then, after years of trying, it was finally my turn to be celebrated, and I was very much looking forward to it. But, surprisingly, it felt pretty anticlimactic.
It turns out that Mother's Day felt an awful lot like Valentine's Day to me (of which I am also not a fan). Like Valentine's Day, cards, flowers, brunch, jewelry, or a spa day seem to be the standard Mother's Day gifts, and here's the thing: I think that cards are overpriced, flowers die in a couple of days, and while jewelry or a spa day is nice, I'd much rather spend the time and money doing something fun as a family. And to me, there's just something about having a day where everyone is required to tell you how much they love and appreciate you that doesn't exactly feel all that warm and fuzzy.
I love that my family makes an effort to celebrate me once a year, and I've got nothing against the holiday — if you love celebrating Mother's Day, then go for it! All mothers deserve to be appreciated. But in my mind, I also shouldn't really need a set date on the calendar to hear how much my kids love me, or for my husband to thank me for being a good mother to our children. Because our family values praising each other on a regular basis.
Clear communication is something that my husband and I have worked hard on over the years — and something we practice regularly with our children. That communication includes sharing how we feel about one another. Just as I tell my husband regularly how proud I am of his SuperDad skills or his many professional accomplishments, he never forgets to let me know how impressed he is by my ability to effortlessly (or so he thinks) mother our three children. When my best friend invites me on a girls-only weekend getaway, he encourages me to go because I work hard and deserve a break, in spite of the fact that he finds wrangling our children on his own to be something of a challenge. We never go to bed or get off the phone without an "I love you," and in spite of my feeling that they're a waste of money, my husband does come home from work with the occasional bouquet of flowers for no reason other than he was thinking of me.
Our children have picked up our displays of affection and follow suit. Our 5-year-old spends hours creating artwork for us that usually depicts all of us hugging or holding hands, tells us how much she loves us at least 100 times a day, and always names us first in her bedtime prayers. Her 16-month-old sisters regularly bombard us with cuddles and slobbery baby kisses, complete with enthusiastic "muahs" that make us laugh as we wipe the drool and snot cocktail off of our faces.
It is these unsolicited displays of affection from my children and gratitude from my husband that mean more to me than any Mother's Day gift ever could. I don't need one scheduled day of the year to know how much my family loves me, because they show me every day — a thing I will never stop appreciating. And no mushy card will ever compare to the sweet family photos that my 5-year-old draws. So, no, I don't really care about that second Sunday in May because, luckily for me, every day is Mother's Day.