Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dear Mother's Day. . . Ummm. . . You and I need to talk.

Dear Mother's Day,

Since you're obviously female, I will talk to you like a girl. I totally love you--you know that, right? And we (meaning all of the mothers) totally love you! But. . .

I think it would be really good for you to know that there are some things you really need to work on, and in the spirit of Charity, I'd like to share them with you:

10 Things I Hate About You

1) You are always, always on a Sunday. Whose messed-up, masculine-centered, warped idea was that? Don't you know that I always have three hours of Church on Sunday? Don't you know that our husbands always have meetings on Sunday and that we are left alone to pioneerishly fend for ourselves in a sort of ragged, harried, Sunday morning seizure of Church Preparations?

Sunday, by its very nature, is the day on which it is the most difficult to maintain a nice, smiley, patient, maternal disposition. You, Mothers' Day, should know that! Getting the kids ready for Church for two hours, and stuffing something in their mouths that won't get their Church clothes filthy right before Church does NOT bring out the best in me! (Oh! The SHOES and the SOCKS alone! All of the finding and squeezing and wrestling and buckling and finding again!) My Mission President loved to describe me as "sweet and happy." And that is pretty much true in general, I think. But on Sunday mornings, I turn into some twisted Mormon housewife version of Joan Crawford.

In fact, if I took a poll of my children and asked them when they think the time of the week is that Crazy Mommy comes out to play, it would be unanimous. Sunday! Crazy Sunday Mommy's screams of, "What time is it?!?. . . We're NOT going to make it!. . . Get your shoes on! Your shoes don't fit?!? You just wore them yesterday!. . . Who put GUM in your hair?. . . You just ATE your scriptures?. . . How did you get claw marks on your neck?. . . Get ready right this second so we can go to Church and learn about LOVE, DARN IT!!!!" aren't heard in that freakish, shriekish, shaky pitch any other day of the week! I am so nice and calm on Tuesdays! Why can't you be on a Tuesday?

2) Breakfast in bed.

I don't like eating in bed. It's where I sleep for goodness sake! The idea of crumbs in my bed makes me envision all of those millions of dust-mites the Kirby Vacuum Dude described in surprisingly vivid detail all coming for a picnic on my person. And not that I spill food, but just the IDEA of the food in the same place that I slumber makes me want to rip my lips off. (Okay. That's a lie. If you know me, you know that I notoriously slop sauces, drizzle liquids, and generally smear the front of myself with anything edible.)

And yet you make everyone who is not me in this house feel obligated to serve my first meal of the day to me in bed because of some weird ideological conspiracy I don't understand. Does it date back to the 50's when the table-tray market needed a leg up and mothers felt like they were more valued if they just weren't on their high-heeled feet for a few morning minutes? I don't get it.

3) I cannot, no matter how hard I try, make it to Church on time on you (Mother's Day--to whom I am speaking). See #1 and #2.

This morning I lay in bed way past the time when I needed to be up and at 'em to get the kids ready for Church, knowing that every minute of the wails of, "SHHHH! BE QUIET!!!! MOM'S SLEEPING!!!" was one more minute late we would come skulking in to Church looking grumpy and angry at the world.

I lay there in bed, listening to my sweet husband yelling curse words in French as he tried to cook the breakfast with the kids' help until he finally came storming into the bedroom in frustration. (But the bacon and leek quiche really was delicious and I didn't end up helping one bit! And because he had "spoiled" the "surprise" by coming to get me, I got to eat at the table! No bed bugs there! YAY!)

By the time breakfast was over, Eric had to guiltily rush off to a meeting, and I was left having to bathe all of the kids who didn't bathe yesterday because they were out shopping for me during bath-time. (And I was not singing sweet songs of maternal bliss and glory as I dunked them in the tub faster than they have ever been dunked. . . and neither were they.)

We were exactly twenty-four minutes late. I am a terrible mother who can't even get her kids to be on time for Church ON MOTHER'S DAY!!!

4) I don't like my role as a Mother being the center of attention. The whole day is like being targeted by MAMMA-Razzi of the endearingly naive newlywed and/or forgetful elderly variety and I just want to enjoy my twins and sextuplets in privacy! (Oh, wait. . . How about. . . It's a crazy life, but it's our life? Oh. . . sorry. I got off track.)

There is too much pressure to be a good Mom when everyone is talking about it for a WHOLE day. If I am caught in the hallway (at Church, of course) with a misbehaving child on Mother's Day, what kind of a mother must I be the rest of the year? Anything I do today is suddenly a reflection of what kind of mother I am. It's like my annual maternal report card and no matter what grades I receive I feel like I should have done better.

5) Husbands getting sucked into the consumer vortex out of pure guilt and fear.

I'm sorry, but Eric is NOT my child and I am NOT his mother! First of all. . . eeeww, let's not get all Oedipus today and second of all, he feels guilty enough on Christmas, my birthday, Valentine's Day, and Arbor Day anyway (I just really dig trees), without having one more day that forces him to show me the quantity of his love for me in dollar signs.

6) I am not old enough to wear a corsage to Church and I don't like them anyway. It's like everyone thinks it's the Mom Prom or something. Again. Eeeew. No thank you.

7) Every year, all the women I know (That's not a generalization. I know A LOT of women.) talk about how Mother's Day makes them feel inadequate, inferior, and guilt-ridden, yet we keep on celebrating it the same way every year. Why do we have to talk about how much we hate it in some sort of dysfunctional ritual, and then still say and do the exact same things in a perpetual Ground Hoggish Day sort of way? Can't we just take a vacation from Mother's Day one year and give all of the money we would have spent on cards and flowers to a nice charity?

8) I never know what to wear on Mother's Day. Since I feel like the Mamma-razzi has their eye on me, I need to look especially put-together, fashionable yet modest, and just a little sassy, like I'm nurturing, yet with-it, right? And yet every Mother's Day, I only have about a minute and a half to get ready because I've been held hostage in my bed all morning! And then, like today, I make my grand entrance (Exactly twenty-four minutes late, remember? So I get the full effect of all of the gawking) in a wet up-do, wearing the same outfit I wore on Friday to teach, and then again yesterday to go to the temple. (Yes. Just stop counting. I realize that makes three days in a row. Yeah. So, not only am I totally tardy, and embarrassingly disheveled, but I probably have B.O. too. And on Mother's Day of all days! Have I no respect?!?)

9) I'm going to be totally honest. I don't really have ten things that I hate about Mother's Day. It just sounded good. But I'm sure I can think of two more things to whine about if I think hard enough. I'm so conflicted about you, Mother's Day. I secretly LIKE getting a gift at the end of Church. Today, at the end of Church, I felt my neck actually craning to see what kind of loot I was going to walk off with. It kind of felt like Oprah for a second.

10) After berating Peter for nearly clawing out Caleb's trachea this morning, and giving him the fastest bath in the west with zero play-time, and then listening to him cry that he was a "Bad Boy" for five minutes, I hollered at the kids to give me the time. I had exactly fourteen minutes left before we needed to be at Church, in our seats, looking familialy fabulous.

I looked down at that pouty little kid sitting on the floor in his Sunday best, his hair still wet from his dunking, and I gave up. My hair was still wet. I was still wearing my rainbow pajama pants and my shirt that was housing more food than Chuck-a-rama. Those old ladies at Church would surely wrinkle their perfectly lipsticked mouths and surmise that I was the most terrible Mother in our grand city, and everyone would surely lower my maternal grade ten points as we walked in late, but I was going to sit on the floor and I was going to love my boy.

I sat on the wet floor and hugged Peter tight and whispered to his curly little head, "No, Peter. You're a good boy. You're a good boy." And I sat with him as the seconds ticked by and I rocked him and I held him close, knowing that those seconds in my arms count more for him (and for me) than for the ladies at Church or my report-card.

Eric screeched in from his meeting five minutes before Church started and he saw me sitting there with Peter, still in my PJ's and still not caring a bit. He helped me get Marie dressed and sang to her about her shoes. He didn't even glance at the clock.

We took pictures of the kids, then I asked Eric to take pictures of me with the kids. We strolled over to Church, and I touched Holden's arm and noticed how tall he's getting. I memorized the way Eve and Marie bounce-stepped in tandem, hand in hand, Eve calling Marie her "Little Pumpkin Pie." I told them all as we walked how happy I was just to be with them, even if we were a few minutes late. And I meant it.

I walked in twenty-four minutes late to Church. I walked right up to the fifth row, which was the only free row (because we need that entire row) with my messy head held high and my hand in Peter's.

Oh, how I love being a mother. It was my choice before it was even a choice. It is the reason I wake up in the morning, for breakfast in bed or not.

I just HATE you, Mother's Day. Nothing personal.

Love ya! 'Preciate ya! Don't tell ya enuf!


P.S. Despite all of the negative, tongue in cheek (sort of) venting, I do have to thank you, Mother's Day. It was because of you that I got to eat the BEST quiche of my LIFE today! As Holden grated the cheese and Ethan helped with the crust, Eric called them his, "Quiche-sters." While we ate, we kept telling each other to, "Quiche me, baby!" and other equally annoying puns.

PPS Since I know you like to cook (you sort of HAVE to, being Mother's Day and all), here's the recipe:

PPPS I think I just burned dinner because I was writing YOU this letter!

Bacon and Leek Quiche

1 pound thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 large leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
8 ounces cave-aged Gruyère cheese, shredded
(Eric just used Swiss since Gruyere is harder to come by here than a sunny day!)
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half

Preheat the oven to 375°. On a floured surface, roll 1 disk of the pastry to a 12-inch round. Ease the pastry into a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom without stretching. Trim the excess and use it to patch any holes. Refrigerate the tart shell for 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining pastry.
Line the tart shells with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the tart shells for 30 minutes, just until dry. Remove the foil and pie weights and bake the crusts for about 15 minutes longer, until they are dry and golden. Transfer the tart pans to 2 sturdy baking sheets.
MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING: In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain the bacon, leaving 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan. Add the leeks and thyme to the skillet, season with salt and white pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Stir in the bacon and cheese.
Divide the bacon-and-leek filling between the tart shells. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the egg yolks and heavy cream. Season lightly with salt and white pepper. Pour the custard into the tart shells and bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through for even baking, until puffed and lightly browned. Transfer the quiches to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove the rings, cut the quiches into wedges and serve.


Tiffany said...

LOVE THIS POST!!!!!! Could NOT agree more! Only our church is now 22 minutes away (assuming you don't get pulled over for speeding, which actually only happened once on the day I was supposed to give a talk, but I digress...), and no matter how hard I try, we are not on time. (Chris has meetings at 6 a.m. Today they weren't until 7:20 a.m. Didn't really help in the getting-the-kids-ready dept., but at least he got a little extra sleep!) I was really HOPING it would be different today--Mother's Day, for pity's sake and all--but we were 7 minutes late. (It would have been only 5.5 min., but someone in front of me dared to go 50 in the 55 mph 2-lane road to church, where I usually ride at 58.) Anyhow, at least the baths were done last night, but we lost a tie, couldn't find shoes, etc., etc., and I, too, sported the soaking-wet updo to church today. Not the long flowing tresses I had wanted to display, but at least it was clean. I tell myself it was sleek & chic. I can't ever cut my hair short just b/c then how would I do my hair on Sunday mornings?!?

My one reason it was not 24 minutes late: I BEGGED the kids not to give me breakfast in bed this morning. I told them if they really loved me, they would just let me eat a protein bar in the car on the way to church. They were disappointed, but they complied! Yes!

Okay... sorry I wrote a post re: your post... but, dang, you hit this RIGHT on!

Steph said...

I'm going to read this at least ten more times. I can't stop laughing!!!

mimi said...

Lol...Sarah,You are the Best!!!LOL...I Loved this!!!!

Joseph and Mary + Six said...

Sarah, you somehow managed to read my mind on the topic of Mother's Day (or really, any Sunday!) I was laughing during your "10 things" list and then crying over your sweet moment with your Peter. Why is it that too often we overlook those precious moments. Being a mom is the best thing and some times we need to stop and smell the roses (or the freshly bathed baby bums, whichever!) Thank you for so wonderfully stating for all the rest of us Moms this great letter to Mother's Day. I loved it! You have beautiful children and YOU are a beautiful mom! Aww shoot, now I need a hug! Thanks!!

Kimber said...

Can I add my signature to this letter?

I do appreciate Mother's Day working out a deal with Mother Nature for a sunny, slightly-warm, mildly windy (rather than blustery) day. And after a really tough couple of days I decided to set aside all expectations and was pleasantly surprised at the thoughtfulness of my family.

I'd still sign though. One year of sunny weather does not make up for the 18 others that I have put up with.

Jesse said...

Hah...Sarah, this just made my day. I laughed so hard I cried.

Lorie said...

Holy Moly! I am laughing until my sides hurt!!! My favorite was "Mom Prom". Just a thought... a pin-on corsage migh just help off-set your B.O. in the dress you wore 3 times in a row. Also, you know that a bump-itz is always in style! I'm going to have to save this blog for the next time I need a good laugh. You are great!

Dacia said...

lol! We were almost late for church today because of mother's day festivities. 8:30am is not my most favorite time of day to go to church. I only have half as many kids to get ready and my kids probably all think I'm the devil every Sunday morning :) Today, I didn't care if I was going to be late or not, I was not going to be the screaming demon this Sunday morning!

Carolyn Cox said...

Seth and I absolutely loved reading this!! Really, you should totally publish something like that! We were laughing for a very long time! We sure miss your family, but we enjoy catching up on the blog.

Ellie said...

Amazingly, I have solutions to several of your grievances.

1. There shouldn't be any meetings on Mother's Day. Eric might have to tell your bishop, but that's the most important part of what they do for Mother's Day (and Easter & Father's Day, and if your birthday or anniversary or valentine's day fall on Sunday, it's your husband's job to skip the meetings no matter what his calling is). Chocolate is a close second, but canceling meetings is #1. And with the meetings canceled, Dad is free to help find the shoes and socks, iron the shirts, whatever he needs to do (except maybe fixing the girls' hair) while you take all the time you want to do whatever makes you feel pretty for the day.

2. Breakfast in bed, at our house, means they bring breakfast up on a tray and sing a little song, then we all go downstairs together and eat breakfast at the kitchen table. Very occasionally we have a picnic on the bedroom floor, but mostly we just take everything back downstairs and eat in the kitchen. We do this for all birthdays and nobody has ever figured out that we aren't actually having breakfast in bed.

3. We used to have a serious problem with being on time to church every week. Father's Day was pretty much the only day we were on time and it was a major gift to Jeff b/c we would be on time every week if he had his choice (or if he was home on Sunday mornings). But we have a new system that we like to call bribery and coercion. When we have early church, we bribe the kids by offering breakfast for lunch if we have good helpers in the morning and extra toppings (whipped cream, chocolate syrup, etc.) if we are actually on time for church. The year we had 8:30 church we had pancakes with whipped cream for lunch almost every Sunday the whole year. When we have late church, we coerce the kids by offering a nice snack/lunch before church if we are all ready to go in time to have one. If we're not ready early enough, whatever we have is quicker and less delicious. It totally works.

6. Our YW made corsages out of fake flowers and sold them as a fundraiser for camp this year. Everyone bought one. When I went to put mine on yesterday, it looked a little (or a lot) wrong. So I tried to tweak it, and tweak it a little more, and tweak it a little more until . . . it broke. It was time to leave so I didn't have time to fix it. Rats. I was the only woman at church without a corsage and I was so happy. The missionaries had a tray of extras and offered me one. No thanks.

9. We got Lindt truffles. Yea!

10. Glad there was a happy moment in your morning. The pictures are great. And Eric's quiche looks fabulous. Glad you got to eat it at the table.

Thanks for a great post. Happy Mother's Day!

T said...

How is it that I can be laughing so hard one minute and then shedding tears the next minute? Good job, Sarah! Loved it!

Jennifer said...

Funny Sarah! I agree! Our ward doesn't have extra leadership type meetings on Mother's Day. Sounds like a lot of your problems could be solved if you put a bug in your Bishop's ear! And surprisingly the ward doesn't fall to pieces without those meetings. :)

Shelly said...

Thank you Sarah! Absolutely loved this... you express so vividly so many of the things I feel not just on Mother's Day but EVERY Sunday. I loved the "crazy mommy" who only comes out on Sunday and the image of Eric driving up 5 minutes before church starts (that has been happening around here for the last two & a half years and it drives me crazy every week). We were late to church too (and it starts at 1:00 you'd think we could get it together by then). The hubster left to pick up someone who needed a ride to church & as I was trying to change into a dress, little Sophie got stuck in a drawer & ripped the strap of her dress right off. So much for being on time!

Mel said...

Amen. Amen. Amen. I agree whole-heartedly and yes, I was a bit grumpy myself this Mother's Day, not because I didn't WANT breakfast in bed, but because I didn't GET breakfast in bed! In fact, it was I who had to get up and get the kids breakfast--it was supposed to be my day off! Oh wait, no such thing as a mother. I SO feel your pain.

Heather said...

Dear Sarah,
See you again next year.
Love always,
Mother's Day

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