|Daniel rocking a Peruvian alpaca sweater|
Something I’ve found hard as a mom is responding to other people’s expectations of what I should be doing. (Or what I think other people think I should be doing.) The most innocent question, like “what are you doing for Daniel’s first Easter?” can induce rage, defensiveness, derision. “Uh, he has no concept what Easter is, so nothing,” is what I want to say. I felt resentful about what everyone seemed to think I should do for his first Christmas, so you can imagine how I feel with his first birthday approaching.
I know moms who have formal pictures taken for every holiday – even St. Patrick’s and Valentine’s Day. I know moms who knitted stockings for baby’s first Christmas. I know moms who are planning elaborate first birthday parties. Because I have a tendency to compare myself to others, when I hear this I ask myself, why aren’t you doing that?
But recently a new thought occurred to me: maybe those moms do those things because they enjoy it, not because they’re caving to social pressure. I really enjoy dressing up. I’ve had people ask me, snottily, why I was wearing pearls on a Tuesday afternoon. The answer is, I just like to. It makes me happy. Similarly, I love to put my little man in cute outfits. I suspect very soon he’ll start having opinions about what he wears, so I’m taking advantage of this time to dress him the way I want to. Not to impress anyone. Not because formal wear is important for babies – just because it makes me smile.
So here’s my thought for Mother’s Day: motherhood has plenty of drudgery. Let’s all make a pact to not make it harder for ourselves than it has to be. I’m going to do mom things that bring me joy, and leave the photo shoots, crafts and parties for the Martha Stewart types. Happier mom means happier Daniel. So it will be pizza and cake for his first birthday, with whoever can show up on a Tuesday night. Maybe I'll wear pearls.