Mother's Day has always been a holiday that I look forward to because my husband totally spoils me (he was taught well). Breakfast, diapers, dishes, laundry, putting the kids to bed, etc. - things that he mostly only does once a year, on Mother's Day. (The BEST is when Mother's Day lands on a Sunday. Really.)
But, this year, I feel different, and I have been trying to figure out why. I wondered if it is because my children are old enough to appreciate the holiday and present me with gifts. My 5-year old daughter described to me the "surprise" mother's day gift she is making for me as I drove her to pre-school this morning. I told her that I am very excited about it (a necklace - wow!). I wondered if it is because of the ever-present, hovering cloud of stress due to The Move in 2 1/2 weeks.
But, finally, while writing this, I think I've pinpointed the reason. Last week, while pondering about my oldest son and how he seems to ignore about 80% of what I say, and is, therefore, constantly getting into trouble, I recognized that I am trying to control my kids through discipline, rather than instruct and guide them. Since then I have tried to see and treat him differently, using more positive reinforcement than negative. The effects have been noticeable and encouraging.
A friend, an extremely reputable source, recommended this book: The Mother in Me: Real-World Reflections on Growing Into Motherhood. I immediately ordered it a few weeks ago and read it today while my kids were playing outside. I couldn't put it down. Some of the reflections touched me deeply. Some thoughts explained word for word the experiences that I am having in my life right now. Some thoughts brought back strong feelings from when my children were newly born. As I read them, I felt strengthened, saddened at times, and lifted as I was reminded of the enormous and wonderful work mothers are blessed with.
As my children grow and become more independent, I am simply humbled and amazed by them. I expect a lot of them, but I desperately want them to be happy. So much is clouded day after day with the little responsibilities of life. I recognize now that this Mother's Day is serving as a reminder for me, more than anything else, of my responsibility to mother, nurture, teach, love, and guide my children. Any gifts or acts of love that I receive this year from my husband and children will only be added bonuses to this gift, this reminder, that I have already received.