Presents are totally fine. If your love language is giving/receiving gifts, then getting a special present on Mother’s Day (or Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Arbor Day, etc.) might even be slightly necessary.
However, we tend to celebrate without presents in our household. Instead, we celebrate with presence. (See what I did there? *nudges you with elbow obnoxiously*)
During our second Valentine’s Day together as a married couple, I was distraught. Not only was I still in the throes of severe postpartum depression, but my husband didn’t. get. me. ANYTHING.
Audience gasps collectively.
I was heartbroken. I birthed a child for this man! I kept our house in semi-decent shape! Kind of. As a 21-year-old, I organized our finances and kept everything in order (not a simple task, as a young homeowner). And this man couldn’t even get me some freakin’ chocolates?!
God bless that man, I let him have it.
He ended up getting me a ton and a half of chocolate when it was on sale the day after, but what truly matters is the lesson we learned that year.
We found out the hard way that we don’t need material gifts on specific days of the year. We still do our best to give Christmas and Birthday gifts, but our “gift-giving” abilities extend throughout the year. For him, he gets to purchase items needed for bicycle riding. He and I both have memberships to our local brewery, which gives us discounts that we use often. Not only that, but I stay home in the evening occasionally so he can go grab a brew and catch up with our favorite bar-tending ladies (y’all know who you are!). For me, I have the ability to go swing dancing a few times every month while he stays home with our sleeping boys. My husband puts together countless pieces of furniture and hangs decor for me whenever I ask him to. He puts our toddler to bed more often than not. We take turns cooking (he cooks way more, though). We make house payments on our dream home and have running water – gifts we often take for granted.
What I’m trying to say, is, our year-long gift to each other is that we make it work in the chaos. We give each other breaks, we parent as a team, and we keep our household semi-functional by gifting time and experiences. Are we perfect? No way José! We are extremely different humans who miraculously share the same ideals with faith, parenting, and politics. I pick fights and he avoids them. I talk and he loses himself in his own train of thought (a.k.a. he ignores me when I start hollering at him).
So on this Mother’s Day, I wasn’t awoken with breakfast in bed. I wasn’t handed flowers or a card from my husband. No, I was given the chance to take a long shower and even blow dry my hair, which we all know is a feat I rarely attempt. My husband got the boys ready while I got my cup of coffee ready. Maybe these seemingly small acts aren’t enough for everyone, and that is completely okay! Believe me, I wouldn’t dare shame a mama who gets a material gift on Mother’s Day. But to the mama who tries SO hard, and feels that she gets nothing in return… try getting mad, then consider the concept of giving and receiving in small ways every day. Believe me, it is more worth it than I could have ever fathomed.
Happy Mother’s Day, and cheers to all the parents who are surviving right along with me! *clinks coffee mug with fellow mamas*