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Girl, Get Your Nails Done (And Happy “Mother’s Day”)

Such is the message my best friend sends every single Mother’s Day, as we both brace for the disaster that always, without fail, occurs during this sacred “celebration.” I have been a mother for two decades now, and I’ve seen so many moms, myself included, transmute into emotional basket cases, feeling deep disappointment on the one day our hands should be sponge, spatula, and diaper-free. Whether you’re a brand-new mom this year, or you’ve been experiencing similar soul crushing letdowns for years on Mother’s Day, I offer this summation of thoughts to hopefully bring some comfort and assurance that we’re not alone in our delusions of grandeur, nor our disappointment.


Mother’s Day Delusion #1: Scoring Some Extra Sleep

First and foremost, we want to sleep past 7 am. Maybe 8 if there are no infants under roof. Not only do we want daddy up at dawn, brewing coffee while brokering juice requests on his own, we really do want breakfast in bed. We want trays full of burnt toast ends buttered by chubby little toddler hands, garnished with Crayola scribbled cards and a showering of morning hugs and kisses.

What will most likely occur:

If you’re breastfeeding, well, there’s always next year. You’ll be up before dawn, and even if you pretend to fall back asleep, the others have snuffed out your presence. Mother’s Day morning or not, they’ll come demanding food, help with Netflix navigation and requests for AA batteries while daddy continues to achieve full REM. For the rest of us, we’ll most likely break down in hunger or caffeine headaches before daddy returns from his Starbucks run after either forgetting how to cook, or forgetting the holiday altogether.

Those of us with more seasoned husbands might catch some extra Zzzz’s whilst the family works like a village to build an omelet.  It’s heartwarming, but the kitchen will surely replicate a post-apocalyptic war scene when done, with every cabinet, utensil and perishable item out, and your 3- year-old’s first degree wound after tending to the stove, alone.  If you’re lucky enough to get cards, flowers and even gifts, do let them fill and inspire your heart for the next two hours we’ll likely spend getting the kids ready for church. Which leads to the next grand wish…

Mother’s Day Delusion #2: Having an Epic (or at least non-disastrous) Church Experience

I haven’t a clue why Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis would institute Mother’s Day on a Sunday, knowing full well her husband couldn’t get the kids ready for church, even for but a day. Because for the church going gals out there, this is what we want: We want to spend the morning sipping coffee, scrolling through Insta and curling our hair, while daddy makes the kids publicly presentable. We for once, don’t want to be the one yelling “I don’t care if you’re in a match, turn the game OFF!” up the stairs and taking the dog out to poop before singing praises to Jesus.

What Will Most Likely Occur:

We will soon find ourselves in a car full of arguing and whining kids in stained clothes that your husband’s 20/20 vision apparently could not detect, while implementing an A grade silent treatment after discovering he forgot to grab his mom a card (and it was on the list).  Then we’ll spend an hour fighting back tears during an overly emotional Mother’s Day sermon (if we’re lucky enough to be outta the nursery working years) feeling a mix of guilt, frustration and overall surge of unwelcome estrogen. 


Mother’s Day Delusion #3: Uninterrupted, Non-Digitized Family Time

There are two camps of moms out there. The first would like nothing more than the entire child-free day to herself on Mother’s Day, enjoying a day at the spa, or brunch/shopping with friends while the daddy gets his annual dose of parental reality. Admirable choice. I however, belong to the larger camp who simply want a day of present, uninterrupted family fun. A big family brunch followed by a hike, or day at the beach. A trip to the movies or minigolf, or a day of board games and takeout Chinese, etc. We want this day to incorporate zero planning or responsibility on our end, including planning of meals, packing the bags/backpacks, making potty runs, putting baby down for nap, etc.

What Will Most Likely Occur

In an almost uncanny juxtaposition of our wishes, we will most likely spend portions of the day divvying up visits with our mothers, mothers in-laws and grandmothers- all who have long transitioned from the tireless trench we call motherhood. Now we love our mommas and grammies. But celebrating grandparents on Mother’s Day always felt like watching Canadians celebrate the Fourth of July.  In my humble opinion, if you haven’t wiped another’s butt, burnt an unthinkable amount of chicken nuggets or sat waiting in at least five school/soccer/dance parking lots in the past week, you are not actively mothering. Grandparents Day is your day. But alas, we usually find ourselves on an Amazing Race of sorts, delivering flowers across the tri-state area and biting our lips when being gifted with Costco-sized Vitamin D bottles in return, because we “always look so tired.” Hmmmmm.


Mother’s Day Delusion #4: Enjoying Love & Appreciation From The Descendants We Slave Over, All The Other 364 Days A Year

Doesn’t seem too much to ask, right? We just want our kids to stop fighting over device chargers and Barbie ownership, for one day a year. For one day and one day only, we want zero teenage eyerolls, or painful cringes when we attempt a hug.  Maybe even sprinkle some acts of service in there…i.e. picking up their wet towels and bringing in their bikes/scooters so we’re not hauling ‘em in at 10 pm.

What Will Most Likely Occur

Our kids will not care. Past sweet age of four or five, when anything out of the ordinary incites enthusiasm, these children will not, and do not care if it’s your sacred day.  They’ll continue to carry on like a bunch of animals, looking for hot food, clean socks and approved screen time requests, and to expect anything more is some fairytale-fed nonsense.  Your 10-year-old will still beg to ditch family time to play with the neighbor he sees daily. Your 15-year-old will eye roll it up when you ask them to come downstairs, and your five-year-old will not hesitate to throw an Oscar-worthy meltdown at dinner when you say no more salt. I’ve survived two solid decades of Mother’s Days and I can confidently state the only way to get these kids to show any kind of special treatment on Mother’s Day would be to change the WiFi password and strap it to our personage like the Unabomber. Who loves me now...

So friends, what shall we do with this annual quandary of sorts? I’ll say it again. Get your nails done. Or whatever else makes you happy or feel pampered. Make a back-up plan. Hide a gallon of that gourmet gelato or your favorite wine for later, when you’re in the bubble bath, or queuing up your show. Tomorrow we happily return to the thankless normalcy we’re derned used to. Cheers to that, and Happy Mother’s Day, UnMoms. Maybe get the pedi, too. Xo.

“I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mothers’ day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it,” -Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis.

For more Mother’s Day encouragement, check out my post, 6 Ways to Avoid Emotional Disaster (Again) This Mother’s Day.

Love to hear your best Mother’s Day survival hacks in the comments below, and don’t forget to join the UnMom family by subscribing to our e-family below!


Jessica Kastner is an award-winning journalist, author and contributor to the Christian Broadcasting Network, Huff Post, God TV, Beliefnet, Crosswalk and many more. When she's not burning dinner, daydreaming about the beach, she can be found on the trampoline with her copious amount of children, wishing she'd ordered the turbo shot.

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