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5 ways to avoid Mother's Day disappointment

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HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY WEEK!'s safe to assume that we're all focused on taking care of our own Moms this week, right? We're reminiscing about special times with our moms, and sending them sweet notes or gifts, and maybe planning to do something nice for them on Mother's day.

Because that's what grown-up, thoughtful women like us do, right?

I mean, it would be totally selfish of me to be thinking about myself right now...dropping heavy hints to my husband and children, and hoping that maybe my family will remember to spoil the living daylights out of ME on Mother's Day.
(Wouldn't it?)

But here's how it typically goes: And this is just me, because I know that you're waaaaaay more mature than I am.

Each year, I start the pre-Mother's Day week well: I send cards, order flowers, or whatever Dave and I are going to do for our moms...And it never fails, that sometime during the week one of the kids in my family asks: "What do you want for Mother's Day?" To which I say something like, "Oh nothing. I just want to spend some time with you guys." Which is really a dumb thing to say because that's pretty much what I do every day of the week, and know.

What I really meant to say was "I want to sleep in, go running, and be taken out for breakfast lunch and dinner. I also want a clean house, a few gifts, and a massage. Oh, and some chocolate."

But of course I don't say any of that. In fact, I try not to consciously think any of that, because that is soooo selfish and greedy. And that just isn't me at all. (no comments please.)

So Sunday-Mother's Day comes around and I'm mentally prepared to not think about myself. I give myself some pep-talks about being unselfish and content, and I almost believe it.

But somewhere deep down in me there is that thing. What do they call it? Hidden expectations? And as hard as I try to stuff them, they begin to bubble up. By Sunday afternoon, I might just find them seeping out into full exposure and suddenly I'm in a sad state of self-pity. And in a really weak moment, I might have once or twice voiced my dark heart with, "Well, of course I said I didn't want anything--Don't you know that means I want everything?"

And suddenly the truth is out there: I really did want to be spoiled on Mother's Day. I wanted me-time. I wanted food that I didn't cook, and dishes that I didn't do. I might have even wanted...presents.

But now I have no one to blame but my self for saying those words: "I just want time with you guys." (Big liar.)

What I've learned: Well, I've got four kids now, and this is my 19th Mother's Day, so fortunately I have learned a few things along the way. The good news is, my Mother's Days are no longer a cause for anxiety, or disappointment. No matter what. And not that you need these, but just in case could use some tips, I thought this might be the perfect time to share a few things I've learned with you.

avoiding mothers day disappointment

1. Plan ahead.

Don't wait for Mother's Day to decide that you really DO want breakfast in bed. Or to be taken out for brunch. Or maybe you want a day all to yourself on Mother's Day (I've done it. It was super great.) PLAN AHEAD. Let your family know what you want and make your own arrangements if you need to.

2. Take the pressure off your family.

If there is something that you'd really love to have for Mother's Day, why not do the shopping for your family? A restaurant you'd like to go to? Make a reservation! Know your family well, and be a realist.

Last weekend, while Dave and I were on a little date and we happened to go into the mall, I walked him straight to the perfume counter and grabbed the gift box of my favorite perfume and said, "Let's get this for my Mother's Day gift." He hesitated for about a millisecond, and then with a very contented expression, pulled out his debit card and handed it to the sales clerk. I won't open it until Sunday, but guaranteed I'll love what I get!

3. Adjust expectations.

Seriously, expectations might be our worst enemy when it comes to holidays. Do we really imagine that we'll have a carefree day on Mother's Day when we still have a houseful of kids, laundry that completely disregards holidays, and (at least for me,) a husband that still has to go to work. We only hurt ourselves when we imagine that our day will be anything other than another Sunday, with a few little perks if we're so lucky.

4. Make a rain check?

Some holidays are just inconvenient. This Sunday, my son has a surf contest, and my husband works. He still plans to take me out to dinner (he's really good like that,) but the reality is, I'm not going to be walking around on flower petals all day. SO... I have already made arrangements to spoil myself a little after Mother's Day: I made an appointment to get a massage next week (the first in two years--so YES! I'll appreciate it,) and I'll extend that time to include a few hours to myself.

The reality is that sometimes the restaurants are booked, or your kid is sick, or your husband completely drops the ball overlooks the day and you just need to say "No worries! I'll take a rain check." As far as I see it, any day can be Mother's Day.

5. Keep perspective.

On a more heart-felt note: This past year I have spent time with moms who have lost children to cancer, or are themselves fighting a disease. I am praying for moms who are battling for their lives. Hello perspective: These things make me slow WAY down and realize that when it all comes down...I really do want to just HOLD and LOVE those kids that have made me a mom. I want to remember the man who teams with me to raise them. And I want to ENJOY them all.

If I can keep a healthy perspective at the front of my mind, then my Mother's Day ought to be quite complete just hugging my boys every ten minutes until they can't take it any more. No breakfast in bed, gift wrapped perfume, or day at the spa can compare to the incredible gift that my family is to me. Flaws and all.

So what do you say, Moms? Let's face Mother's Day with a plan, and some healthy perspective.

Now: Go have yourself a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!

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With Aloha, Monica

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