Put down the flowers and back away from the box of chocolates.
What is this, “my first office romance” or marriage? Marriage is war people, a box of candy or a rack of roses that take a whopping 20 minutes (at most) to order and carry to your car are not going to win on the battlefield. This is real and it counts, so buck up fellas and get serious.
One thing I know for a fact about women is that they come to play. They have expectations, they have long memories that catalog when these expectations are not met, and they sure as heck aren’t going to be satisfied with you spending 30 bucks on some contrived gift you picked up on the way home from work.
How can you prevail? Here is the key to the whole thing – it’s Mother’s Day, not her birthday. (If your wife’s birthday happens to fall on Mother’s Day, please stop reading. I have no help for you.) Gifts are for birthdays, and while fine as a supplement on Mother’s Day, they are not going to get the job done on their own.
The secret to success on this day lies in the name of the day itself. It’s about celebrating the special women in your life in their roles as mothers. Defining that role can be complicated, but for me it’s about one thing – raising her children to the best of her ability.
This is by no means an easy thing. It doesn’t just mean feeding them and tucking them in at night. It means sacrifice, patience, kindness, rulemaking, following through with those rules, accountability, endurance, thoughtfulness, and much, much more. It takes changing the bed sheets at 2am after your kid just threw up in their sleep because of the stomach bug. It takes not breaking down and being strong for your child at the hospital while awaiting results from the doctor. It takes cleaning the kitchen after spending 12 hours on your feet shipping the kids off to school, going to work, picking them up, making dinner, putting them to sleep, and everything in between.
It takes Mom.
Credit will always be given to the dads in this column, but in my world I like to call dads the foundation of the house while moms are the electricity. For example – do you ever really think about the lights being on after the initial flip of the light switch? No, but they are on doing their job regardless of your recognition. That’s Mom.
Just last year we lost power to our house for 5 days. After the first night we ended up getting a hotel room but I would go back often to check on things and sometimes try to will the power to come back on with my mind. Not for one second during those visits did our house ever feel like a home. It was eerily quiet, there was no warmth and there was no love. Despite the house standing there on its foundation and 100% intact, it was simply not our home until the lights came back on.
That is the key component of Mother’s Day for me – appreciation for that which is taken for granted. When you open up the snack cabinet and ponder whether you should have Cheez-Its or Oreo cookies, remember how they got there. Teach your kids that even though they are sick and believe that the world should stop revolving because of their calamity, that their sheets and associated throw-up didn’t clean themselves. When you sit back on the couch with a beer in hand and get ready to watch the playoffs with a smile on your face, don’t forget why that smile is really there.
Sure I will get my wife a few gifts for Mother’s Day and even buy a few to give from the boys, but none of that will compare to such simple acts as waking up with the kids, bringing her breakfast in bed, letting her go shopping by herself in the afternoon and maybe even providing her with time to lay out with a book if it’s nice.
But most importantly of all guys, tell her that you love her and appreciate all that she does – seen and unseen.
To all Moms of the world – we love you and appreciate you and thank you for all that you do.
‘Brad the Dad’ can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter at keyword: readbradthedad
This article originally appeared on Chelmsford Patch on 5/12/12.