Thank God That’s Over With

Thank God That's Over With

Mother’s Day is a tricky one at our house. It’s not so much because I’m kind of the mom, staying home all day with the kids, dressing them, feeding them, turning on the TV for them. Yes, I perform historically mom-like tasks during the day. Yes, friends will often think it’s funny saying something like, “What’s Kate doing for you on mother’s day?” To which I’ll offer something dumb like, “I’m just hoping to get away for a little me time.” But the truth is Kate is the MOM on Mother’s Day. There is no blurring of gender roles or parental monikers on Mother’s Day in our house.

Anyone who knows Kate knows she is low maintenance. Like, seriously low maintenance. Like, sometimes we have to check if she’s breathing kind of low maintenance. She’s always been this way. Now and then I’ll get a “honey, can you just rub my back for a second?” I’ll say something like, “Like I’ve said, honey, when you hit the eight and a half months mark I’ll start doing things for you”. And while I’m saying this I can imagine how it wouldn’t go over well with some other wives. But at eight months, Kate’s pregnancy still allows her to reach an arm around and rub her back herself. Which she does. She’s just always been this way: self-sufficient, laid back, steady, fully-programmable.

That’s why it’s always a shock for me to see what Kate turns into on Mother’s Day every year.

The first one went over reasonably ok if I recall. She was a new mom. We were still in awe of our new “mom”/”dad” titles. We didn’t need much else. She, of all people, didn’t need Hallmark to make her feel more worthy or appreciated as a mom. She had her smiley, happy boy to do that for her daily.

Then the next one came around and something changed. I was still in my “screw the man, what’s ‘mother’s day anyway’ mode. But something happened to Kate along the way. She wasn’t there with me anymore. I’d scoff at the suckers buying flowers for their gullible wives and she’d just have this look in her eyes…something wistful, something a little angry.

By our third Mother’s Day together, Kate had released the hounds. She was openly weeping at my thoughtlessness. She was lashing out. Suddenly I didn’t love her. I wasn’t romantic. I didn’t CARE about her. I was dumbstruck. I just wanted to know what the hell happened to my wife. Suddenly Mother’s Day wasn’t a phony holiday anymore. And quite suddenly, Kate was…someone else…someone else I had purposefully weeded through on my way to choosing a wife.

Still, I tried: “Why do I need some arbitrary day of the year to show I love you? It should just be every day.” If Kate wasn’t a believer in Mother’s Day before I made this idiotic statement she certainly was now. We had two little ones at this point. We hardly talked to each other, let alone looked into each other’s eyes and said anything that sounded remotely like “I love you.”

“Romance should be spontaneous.” I remember saying, regrettably. “I don’t need some designated day to tell me to be romantic.”

“You’ve never once just randomly bought me flowers.”

This may have been true.

“Well why flowers?” I reasoned. “What are flowww…”

And then I saw the look in her eyes and stopped.

Its true. Flowers are flowers for a reason. It’s taken me a long time to learn this. Just as it’s taken me five Mother’s Days to learn that Mother’s Day is real. Like, really real. And when this arbitrary day that Hallmark came up with to sell greeting cards comes around, my wife turns into an f-ing monster. And there’s nothing I can do to keep her from turning into this f-ing monster. But the worst part of it is that for this great day that she’s basically sold her soul for, she’s always miserable. Why? Because there is nothing…NOTHING…I can do that will ever be good enough on this goddamn made-up day. Breakfast in bed? Eh. Pretty routine says the micro-devil-bot Hallmark has somehow planted in my wife’s brain. Flowers and some expensive hand-selected presents from your favorite store? Sure, says the parasitic bot, I’ll take it but…funny, I don’t see the three hour spa certificate anywhere here and…weird, I don’t see any limo out front to take me out shopping. Cute little cards your two children spent all morning making –with little handprints? F- that, says the bot.

It’s taken me five years to learn that on Mother’s Day Kate becomes…if not a monster or Hallmark-controlled cyborg… then just a Real Housewife of New Jersey. Its not really who i would’ve chosen to marry. But its one day. I play the game. I run hard. And I still lose. Sure, there aren’t tears mixed with “you don’t love me”‘s anymore. But they’re wanting to come out, I can feel it. Yesterday morning, the monster was opening presents and I swear I could see in it’s eyes this strange sort of frustration. Like, it wanted, needed, to get mad, to let loose and I just wasn’t letting it. I wasn’t cooperating. I was doing just well enough to keep it subdued. And mildly annoyed. So the monster shuffled through the day unfulfilled in so many ways.

Today, in the aftermath, I half expected Kate to shake her head groggily and ask what the hell just happened. She’d ask, “where did these incredibly thoughtful presents and cute little cards with tiny handprints on them come from?. And I’d say, “honey, it happened again. Mother’s Day. It happened.” She’d hold her head and say, “no, no it didn’t, not again.” And I’d just hold her and say, “It did. You were so awful and I was so good.”

The good news is Father’s Day is coming up in a couple months. And we all know how big a deal Father’s Day is. I’m already planning my rejection speech for the kid-made cards and the book I always get on How to Build Stuff, or some other reminder of my failings as a husband anda father.

I decided today, right now in fact, that from now on Mother’s Day is going to be left in the little hands of those who actually call Kate ‘mother’. If Hallmark comes up with Wife’s Day, then I’ll get back to the trying and failing. Until then, at least I have 364 more days to enjoy my lovely, low-maintenance wife, Kate.

Presents: A weird vase I knew she’d like, a shirt, $30! bubble bath (all from her favorite store, Anthropologie) and flowers (hand-arranged).

Breakfast…ready to be delivered to Kate in bed

It looks like Kate…but it’s not Kate

While the monster enjoyed it’s breakfast, I became nervous about the presentation of it’s presents and decided to wrap them.


  1. Kate (the wife) says

    Not sure I’m liking the direction this blog is taking. But for the record, it was a lovely Mother’s Day. So happy that all my whining over the years has FINALLY paid off. Hopefully next year I’ll get a massage….

  2. You must be related to your brother who also believes every day that celebrates love, mothers, anniversaries and all those gushy things are phoney. He also managed to get a killer virus on mother’s day which prevented him from getting out of bed. At all. All day. But I have to say, for about 2 minutes, the kids took over his job and made a few cards, set the table for the french toast I (bold, italic, whatever) made, and gave me a hug. I still wanted the flowers, chocolates, massages, presents. It’s one day, guys! Just do it!