OK, I’ve been too busy taking care of everyone else’s needs first to get to my own, which is a basic condition of motherhood. Getting around to making a list of things that other people can do for us as moms was, to be honest, far down on my personal to-do list. Nonetheless, the clock is ticking, so let’s get to it, because no matter what you may have heard (“Yes, it is the thought that counts”), you still have to put that thought into action in the form of a gift.
Need I remind you kids that your life was a gift—whether you wanted it or not! It’s yours now, because your mother gave it to you—you can’t regift it! I still have every doodad my kids have given me for Christmas and Mother’s Day since the beginning of time. I, too, was once an ungrateful child (it comes with the territory, and hopefully changes with maturity), but let’s talk about what’s doable between now and this Sunday.
If you want your mother to really feel that you love her, commit to doing one thing for her every day that will make her life easier. Woman up or man up or adult up, however you want to say it, and do what your mom needs—the first time she asks, without hesitation, attitude or complaint. It will give you the experience of what it’s like to be a mother. (As mothers, we give, give and give to our kids without hesitation! Now it’s your turn!)
If you want to push things a little further, the deluxe version of this is to anticipate her needs waaaay before she asks and take out the trash, put the dishes away, move the car or whatever shit chore your mom would have to do while she’s doing 10 other things for other people. That’s what it’s like to be Mom. Removing mundane tasks eases the body and mind and sets off a pleasure-reward response in my brain like somebody just handed me a wad of cash. Guess what, partners and kids? That gift of handling household crap so Mom doesn’t have to do all of it is FREE.
If you’re separated by time or distance and you can’t mother your mama by being her on-site personal task master (maybe I’ll make that my new title), click on WineLibrary.com and send her a selection of wines. Good wine is like a liquid massage at the end of a long, hectic day of mom duties.
And you know what goes with a good wine? A good book.
In Keeping Up With the Johnsons: The Black-ish Guide to Parenting, written by none other than the real-life Dr. Rainbow Johnson (the inspiration for her namesake character created by her husband, Black-ish writer and producer Kenya Barris), the book opens with a scene to soothe the soul of every mother who thinks she might not make it through the next minute. Outnumbered and surrounded in a department store dressing room by kids with needs and there’s no way out—it reminds us that laughter is the poison pill every mother needs.
(This book, like many other good books on motherhood, confirms that being a mom is not the alien abduction it can sometimes be mistaken for, like when I was burping my 10-month-old, who spewed a fountain of projectile spit-up in my mouth that, as mother’s luck would have it, happened to be open at the time.)
Next up for gifting? Sleep masks and white noise machines are right up there with Champagne and red-bottom shoes, since my party these days is at “Club Bed,” featuring DJ Pillowface. Here are my picks for setting off the quiet riot: Illumy Go to Sleep or the Total Sleep Mask System, a state-of-the-art, high-tech, blackout ski mask/eyeshade situation that comes with an app to regulate sleeping and waking times. Yes, it is way more expensive than the leftover mask you saved from your last long-haul flight, but I can’t make out what you’re saying because I’m so tired, I can’t even hear or see you.
It’s like there’s acid coming out of my eyes!
Maybe it’s because every night at 11, when dinner is finally cooked and the dishes are put away, someone has one more thing for me to do. Say what, now? Can I scratch your back? Can I get up the second I sit down and help you find your homework? No, I can’t. No, I won’t ... because these are my earplugs and this is my white noise machine. Handle it, whatever it is. I’ll see you after my nap, because forget eight hours of sleep—a nap is about the most sleep your mama and I are gonna get.
So starting now, this mom is going to gear up and shut the day down. Say “Nighty night, y’all.” With any luck, I’ll sleep until next Mother’s Day.
But please wake me for the Champagne brunch.