Monday, May 15, 2017

On Celebrating Mother's Day



Yesterday was Mother's Day, and I had this nagging feeling all day that I didn't really feel like "celebrating." Not to suggest that I was upset about something -- the closest word I could find to describe how I was feeling was - undeserving.

Then we took a family trip to the grocery store, and I suddenly became aware of what it was that I was feeling. It had nothing to do with me and feeling "undeserving" of a good mother's day; it was actually a reinvigoration of appreciation for my husband. It's not that I didn't feel like celebrating Mother's Day, it's more so that I had internally redirected my focus on the strength of our relationship. I felt like it should have been a "Parent's Day" instead of a day focused on me.

We were in the checkout lane, and the cashier made a comment about how "it was dad's turn to cook" and that I deserved the day off. We chatted about how busy the restaurants were going to be that day, because, as the cashier put it: "the men don't know how to cook, so everyone goes out to eat on Mother's Day." We laughed, paid for our groceries, and then made our way to the car. This was the moment in which it all sunk in: I really did marry the right guy. The reason I don't feel like I "deserve" a mother's day where everyone caters to me on hand and foot is because I NEVER feel that I am the sole person responsible for caring for our family and tending to our household. I'm so incredibly blessed to have a husband that shares all of that work WITH me! We BOTH cook (so much for what the cashier said!), we both clean, we both do laundry... we split the work. I never feel unappreciated or that the weight is entirely on my shoulders to take care of our family.


Of course, dividing the overall work equally doesn't mean each person does 50% of each type of chore. There are some things that he owns while other tasks may be primarily done by me. But in the end, we both feel that the split is equal across all of the tasks. I think the format may be different from family to family - maybe one person works full time while the other cares for home and family (which is also a full time job!). Regardless of the distribution of work-work to home-work - the way everything is divided should be a conversation and an agreement between the two people involved. In our scenario, we both work full time so we split all of our home and family efforts. And we periodically discuss who will handle what, and ensure that we both agree that the distribution is fair.

Equality between a pair is an important part of a relationship's foundation, and is intertwined heavily with the respect you give to each other. This counts for marriages, and all other types of relationships, too. I will ensure that my daughters see how their father and I respect each other and treat each other as equals, so that they can apply the same expectations to their relationships (some day in the distant future... maybe I'll allow them to date when they are 25 or so).

And if you are wondering - yesterday was a fantastic Mother's Day. We ran some errands and found ourselves at a hardware store buying random things. We purchased and installed a bird feeder outside, and released 1,500 lady bugs into our yard (partially because they are a natural form of pest control, and partially to watch my girls' faces light up at the sight of 1,500 lady bugs). Then we barbecued, and played all afternoon. It was what we call a "no plans day" - we do whatever we feel like. And it was perfect!

Not an actual photo from yesterday - there were WAY ladybugs than this!

Takeaways:

  • All relationships - not just marriages! - should be built upon respect and equality
  • If things are not equal - discuss and come to an agreement, together
  • Buying and releasing 1500 ladybugs into your yard is as fun as it sounds