BY KATHY P. BEHAN
What do I want for Mother’s Day? Certainly not chocolates. And I can even do without the flowers this year. What I’d like most of all is what I, and probably every other American mom with young children hardly gets anymore, time alone.
It seems as if every minute of my day belongs to someone else. I’m shopping, cleaning, washing, erranding (is that a word? If not, it should be), carpooling, caring for, and just generally, schlepping from morning until night. I’m not complaining (well, not much) because this is actually the life I’ve chosen for myself right now. But accompanying me, during all these endeavors are usually one, two or three other people — my kids.
To be fair, I do have some time by myself. I can sometimes arrange to take showers alone, and have actually managed, on rare occasions, to go to the bathroom without accompaniment. But that’s about it.
That’s why I’d forgo almost any expensive gift, and opt instead for “down” time. Maybe I’d like to take a long, meandering walk in the sunshine. Or sit on the deck and read. Oh, or have a long bubble bath with dare I say it, a tall gin and tonic with fresh lime, in my hand.
For some reason, this type of day never materializes. That’s why, for me, Mother’s Day has occasionally become Frustration Day. Actually, it’s my own fault. I keep expecting my husband to read my mind, and just completely take over the kids and the house for the day.
My sweet, well-meaning, but at times, completely out-of-touch husband has a totally different vision of how to celebrate this important holiday. Much to my dismay, Patrick believes Mother’s Day is actually, Family Day. Therefore, we should spend every moment, all together doing family-type things.
Take last year, for instance. Pat decided that it would be nice to take me out to brunch. This of course, was a fine idea. But because of long lines everywhere, we ended up at The International House of Pancakes with a thousand screaming children, and their hapless moms. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that this wasn’t exactly the brunch I had envisioned. After all, he looked so proud, beaming at all of us across the sticky, syrup-encrusted table.
But this year it’s gonna be different. Honey, let me spell it out for you, so there’s no confusion. What I’d really like for Mother’s Day is breakfast in bed, and sloppily sentimental cards from you and the kids. But most importantly, even though I’m crazy about you all. Just like Greta Garbo, “I vant to be alone!”
Kathy P. Behan, a mother of three, is a nationally published freelance writer, specializing in health and family issues.