autism

My Honest Look at Mother’s Day.

{disclaimer to the chicks: you all would have been invited to this event, but sadly, my meltdown came not only on the Sabbath, but also on Mother’s Day. It’s hard to call people up and say “Hey, want to go witness Lexi’s total implosion tonight?” on such a day}

So it’s Mother’s Day. You’re an unbeliever (SHUN! SHUN!) and so you’re out living it up on the Lord’s Day. You see a woman slumped over her steering wheel in a Micheal’s parking lot. You know she’s a mother because she’s driving an 8 passenger SUV that you can smell the curdled milk from your car down the line. And because when she opens the door, three empty boxes of chicken nuggets fall out. She’s crying. Sobbing, really. The kind that makes her shoulders heave in and out. On Mother’s Day. You want to go over and comfort her, but then you notice that her heaving shoulders are starting to shake. You hear a guttural moan that turns into a cackle. She’s laughing. Really really hard. You realize that she’s probably insane and get the hell out of there as fast as you can.

 I was that mother.  Crying my eyes out on the phone with my own mother, doing my best to wreck her day, too. But, true to form, my mother quickly turned the pity fest into laughter. So much laughter.

I’ll back up. I hate Mother’s Day. I can see why someone created the holiday. “Let’s celebrate Moms! They do so much for us! Let’s show them how much we love them!” but oh did that backfire! Being a mom is HARD. And we moms of special kids don’t have the corner on that market. When it really comes down to it, it’s not even the Special Needs that’s the hardest part for me. It’s the day in day out monotony of doing things you know are just going to be undone a second later. The cleaning. The laundry. The dishes. It’s thankless. And when I’m alone with Peyton, it’s loveless. So when Mother’s Day rolls around, to me, there’s nothing that anyone can do that can even come close to making it all worth it. That sounds terrible. But I told you I’d be honest.

Mostly.

On Mother’s Day I want what every mother wants:
To not have to do any mothering. 

The day started off with Lance trying to let me sleep in. It lasted until 8. Casey had already been in my  room three times to hug me and say, “Happy Mudders Day!”. Sweet boy. Someone was playing a recorder downstairs. There was wrestling. Lance comes in and tells me he’d forgotten to go to the store the day before to get food. Sttttteeeeerike 1!

(I should put a clause in here. My husband shouldn’t have to do anything for me for Mother’s Day. His everyday treatment of me would be the sweetest MD treatment for someone else. He’s SO good to me.)

I tried REALLY hard this year to not have any expectations for this holiday. But the day comes around and I feel TERRIBLE. I search my brain rolodex for a reason, and all that comes up is poor Lance’s card.

Lance did everything he could. He got the kids clothes ready, fed them etc. But he also had to plan his lesson in the morning which I’d begged him the week before to stop doing. So even though he had taken care of everything else, I found a reason to be mad at him.

The weird part to me, is that I expect my kids to be different kids on Mother’s Day than they were the 364 days before. Casey’s not supposed to act autistic. Carter doesn’t torture Peyton. Peyton loves me. Because everything should be different on Mother’s Day.

After yelling at my kids in the car Lance told me to “calm down”. Sttteeeeerrrrrikkkkee 2! I hate being told to calm down. Even when I’m being a total wench. It’s the worst thing anyone can do.

Casey didn’t want to go to church. Which meant wrestling him in the back of the sacrament meeting room until I knew he just couldn’t take it any more and I had to take him into the foyer. In our ward (up until now because of my sweet sweet Bishop) they don’t take the Sacrament out into the foyer. So like too many Sunday’s in the last 7 years, I didn’t get to take it again. I felt like I was being punished. 

Sweet Alexa J. mentioned me in her talk. She said that I was one of her favorite examples of a Mother. (I wonder if people mention me in their talks just to see how fast tears squirt from my eyes?) Then Jill H. gave the most amazing talk. It was an answer to prayer. I wish I’d worked harder to hold on to the Spirit I felt when she spoke. She reminded me that by small and simple things great things are brought to pass. There are days that I just feel like my calling as a mom is much to big for me. That there’s too much to do, too much weight to carry and I just can’t do it all. I needed to be reminded that it’s the small things I do every day.

Anyways, back to my complaining. So there wasn’t anything special for dinner. Using this as an excuse for the third strike I worked myself into a full meltdown. I had felt it coming all day. It wasn’t anything anyone did or didn’t do. All of the crap I wrote above really wasn’t the problem at all. Mother’s Day to me just makes me think about how I’m falling short as a mother. About how hard it is and how some days it’s just too much. It’s just a reminder to me that I just don’t feel cut out to be a great Mom. There are women who were born to be mothers. You know the type. They’re the ones that wrote Status Updates on Facebook about how much they love it. I’m not one of those moms. Being a Mom does not come naturally to me. Nurturing doesn’t. It’s something I have to work really really hard at. I’ve had to learn how to be compassionate and caring from my sisters and my husband.  And as fiercely as I love my children, I don’t love the work that comes along with it. A little too honest for you?  I’m working on it. Thankfully, I’ll have a lifetime to work on it. Maybe that’s a part of the reason why God gave me kids that I’m going to have to take care of for their entire lives. Maybe it’s because I need a lot more practice than most moms.

Anyways, that back to the chick in the parking lot. My mom’s so freaking funny. We talked for a long time and she told me about my family’s rich Maternal Legacy of Mother’s Day Freakouts. It’s in our genes! The best part of the conversation was when my mom was being so silly and said,  

“You really do have a lot on your plate. I wish it were popcorn on that plate, because then I’d share it with you. I really like popcorn.”  

After I got off the phone with my mother I called back Heather J. who had rung in when I was talking to my mom. She calls on Sundays to arrange a treat swap. I told her I wasn’t home and she asked why.  Her reply? “You left without me?! You’re SO SELFISH!” and then she told me to hang tight and came to meet me. She brought along Sarah Awesome. 

We were quite the MD trio. You’ve got me who was a headcase. Heather J.’s mom passed away last year after a battle with breast cancer and Sarah Awesome who’d love for nothing more just to be a mom. You wouldn’t know it by looking at us though. We laughed until we hurt. We ended up spending part of our Mother’s Day laying on Heather’s Mom’s grave. Yes. I just wrote that. And we have the pictures to prove it. I don’t really remember how it happened. But there we were. Laughing. With Charlotte.

(the pictures were taken with my phone with a shaking laughing hand. It pisses me off that Sarah Awesome always looks so nice in every picture no matter what. I always look like a fat Chinese man)

 Being with Heather and Sarah Awesome also showed me that I had a lot to be grateful for. For my own Mother. That I was able to call her and have her talk me down from the ledge. For her example of strength. I spent the whole damn day thinking about myself and not about my own mother. I’m a jerk! It also showed me how lucky I am to just be a mom. It’s hard, but I wouldn’t trade it. Lucky is the girl who has friends who are there for her even when they’ve got enough on their own plate.

It was a catharsis like none other. And maybe, it’s what I need to do every Mother’s Day. Realize that it’s okay to not be good at mothering. It doesn’t mean I’m not a good mom. The areas that don’t come naturally I work REALLY hard at. I love my kids more than I even knew love could possibly exist. I’m a lucky mom. Like Alexa said, I’m an ordinary mom in an extraordinary situation. Not every mom is as lucky as I am. Most mom’s get to be a huge part of their kids lives until about 18. For two of my kids, I get to be there a whole lot longer. I get a lot of extra time to get better at this whole Mother thing.

16 thoughts on “My Honest Look at Mother’s Day.

  1. My friend's son gave her a card that said "You should be a super hero, cause whenever I'm in trouble you're always there.." I was reminded of it as I read your post. Super heroes never get a day off, either. And a lot of the time there isn't any recognition for what they have done. 🙂 I found your blog somehow last week and I have read a lot of your posts. From what I've read, it sounds like you are doing a fantastic job. The rewards of all your hard work will be everlasting – it's hard to remember that when you're buried in 12 loads of laundry, a kitchen full of dirty dishes and have just discovered the latest artistic rendering by your 4 year-old on the carpet or furniture. (and that's just the visible part of the proverbial pile!) I am so glad you have such an awesome husband, mom, family and friends to help pull you up when you are down.

  2. Lexi, I love you! You know, perhaps you already know this but I was talking to Peyton awhile ago about him not wanting to tell you he loves you. I got the impression that he defines "love" as that thing that boyfriends/girlfriends and husbands/wives feel for and say to each other. I'm sure he loves you, just not in an Oedipal way! Is that helpful?

  3. Ugh, I had a total meltdown on Mother's Day as well. Following a huge "discussion" (fight) with my husband. Following a day of off kilter, cranky children and other crap. Anyway, it's not just you. Although you've probably earned the meltdown more than I had. Hope you're feeling better! (I told Sean that we are, in all seriousness, skipping Mother's Day next year. Somehow I can't keep from having expectations and then it makes me insane.)

  4. I loved this. I especially loved "On Mother's Day I want what every mother wants:To not have to do any mothering." SO. TRUE!I found you thru BBC. I look forward to reading some more!

  5. If I had a nickel for everyone of my friends that blogged about disliking some aspect of Mother's Day (myself included)…well, we could all go out and have a big party with lots of cake. I love your honest take on it!(nurseheidi1 from BBC, by the way)

  6. I can't tell you all how much your comments mean to me. Seriously. Love. You. All. (did it sound in your brain like I was choking when I said that last bit?)

  7. Oh yeah…Mother's Day. I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only Mom who dislikes that day! This year was especially fun for me because I got to have raging PMS in addition to the usual let-down of kids driving me up the wall with whining and whatnot. I was so pissed to be at church and having to sit next to them and then Sacrament Meeting made up for all of the crap that happened in the hour and a half before. I'm glad your day saw some improvement as well.

  8. This was the BEST. MOTHER'S. DAY. EVER. (My Mother might disagree)BUT Someday when I have a hot husband and beautiful children (that are minature versions of my awesomeness), they will never be able to amount to this day spent with you and H. The End. I hope Charlet Anderson had a good MD too.

  9. Hi Lexi! I love reading your blog..I check in every once in a while…maybe because I'm a pediatric PT, or maybe it's because I was twins with your sister, Shelby. But, this post, as many of your are, was great! I feel the same way about me and motherhood. I have learned to ignore the day (and father's day, too), although it's hard. I'm widowed and have 2 young children, so anything that makes it another day of the norm is impossible. So, thanks for the reminder that I am not alone in my MD feelings and for the reminder that I am blessed to have the great life that I have and the love from little people I love.BTW, your children are beautiful and I can just tell how lucky those children are to have you as their mom.

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