The only thing I want for Mother’s Day this year—and every year—is a night alone in a hotel. I want to revel in the absolute silence of a child-free bedroom. I want to order a $36 room service hamburger and not have to share it with someone under the age of 5. I want to go to sleep between sheets that someone else has washed. I want to sleep until I wake up, after which I will enjoy a boiling hot cup of coffee and read The New York Times from cover to cover. In short, the only thing I want for Mother’s Day is to pretend I’m not a mother. Before the keyboard critics rush to accuse me of being an unloving, negligent mother, let me state for the record that I love my children—but I don’t love being with them every single second of every single day. Any woman who says that she can’t imagine needing a break from her children probably doesn’t have them. If you have even an inkling of what the average day is like for a busy mom with one, three, or 15 kids—essentially being a short-order cook and a maid and a worker bee and a chauffeur and all the other stuff you can possibly think of—you’ll understand why the one thing I ask for every Mother’s Day is a night away from my family. To be perfectly honest, the thing I need a break from the most is the constant touching. Before I had children, I didn’t understand the term “touched out.” In fact, my high-school self—the one who threw herself at any male human with a pulse—would think it was totally insane that someone wouldn’t want to be touched all the time. Flash forward 20 years or so to a life that’s filled with small humans clinging to my person from 6 a.m. (on a good day) until 8 p.m., and then sometimes a large human trying to touch me in all the wrong places from 8 p.m. on. These days, I can’t even handle wearing synthetic fabrics because they’re too clingy. It’s not just the touching, though. It’s the talking, too, and the constant interruption that has precluded me from finishing one New York Times article, let alone the whole paper, for going on six years. Sometimes I just want to read about the tragedies happening around the world while drinking a cup of coffee that hasn’t been microwaved five times. And that’s why I always tell my husband to forgo the jewelry, flowers, or other fancy gifts, and just book me into the closest hotel for a glorious 24 hours away from all of my loved ones. Experience has taught me that I have valid reasons for taking a yearly sabbatical from motherhood, and not a single one of them is because I’m a selfish narcissist, thank you very much.
After just 24 hours alone, I feel recharged.
Having the opportunity to think only about my own needs for one day makes me better able to handle the non-stop demands of my family when I return. My daily meditation practice assists me in staying patient and present most of the time, but sometimes even mindfulness and ohms are powerless to combat the frustration of never being able to pee without an audience.
If you don’t ask for what you want, you’ll get what you don’t want.
Mother’s Day can easily transform from a day that’s about you to a day that’s all about your mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and stepmother-in-law. My first Mother’s Day, I spent the day attending three separate brunches before the day ended in tears: mine and my son’s. Don’t be a martyr and end up feeling cheated out of your day.
Vacations are good for your health.
Actual scientific research shows that taking a break from your usual routine provides countless benefits, including reducing stress and increasing productivity. Take a break from the full-time job of motherhood, and reap the benefits of your time away. I know it might not sound festive, especially when you’re caught up in the excitement of new motherhood and think that your baby is the most magical and wonderful thing in the world. But just wait, mama. Wait until you haven’t showered for six days and you can’t remember the last time you ate a meal without simultaneously holding a baby. Sure, your kid may be the “reason for the season,” but I guarantee that you’ll feel a whole lot happier about your choice to breed after a good night’s rest, an overpriced room service meal, and a Netflix binge.