I gave birth to my first child two days before Mother's Day
2004. I was still in the hospital recovering from a C-section after
48 hours of labor with my wee 11-pound, 24-inch-long firstborn. The
emotional and physical tolls were evident. My swollen legs were the
size of two mature oak trees. Lack of sleep and raging hormones
resulted in some orange Jell-O getting flung at my husband, Joe.
And every time I waddled down to see Daniel (born with a
pneumothorax), I discovered visitors making fun of my giant-sized
baby. When the hospital handed me a schmaltzy card celebrating "my
special day," I told them exactly where they could shove it.
I wasn't exactly the Hallmark image of glowing new
For my second Mother's Day, I was six months pregnant. Joe,
Daniel and I headed out for brunch at a fancy downtown restaurant.
Within minutes of our food arriving, Daniel started to choke. Joe
quickly leapt to his feet and performed a masterful Baby Heimlich
Maneuver. The end result? The full contents of Daniel's stomach
landed directly on my Eggs Benedict.
By the time I arrived at my sixth Mother's Day, the writing was
on the wall. Plague, pestilence, and famine were bound to find me.
That was the year I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I decided to hang out at a local bookstore for the day.
My husband was appalled.
"Don't you want to spend Mother's Day with the kids?" he
"I spend EVERY day with the kids," I responded. "Today, I just
want a day off."
Over the last few years, I have taken my own mom out to brunch,
gone shopping with girlfriends, and sat blissfully alone in a
theater eating popcorn I wasn't required to share. And every year,
I return refreshed and more in love with my husband and children
The founder of Mother's Day, Anna Jarvis, spent much of her life
protesting the rampant commercialization of the holiday she
created. Flowers, cards, and candy were never her intent, but
rather a day devoted to honoring the person who molds you like no
I can't help but think Ms. Jarvis would want the women who
shoulder such immense responsibility to be well-rested and full of
And if my husband is reading, a back massage would be nice,
Happy Mother's Day, Chicago Parent readers!
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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