Spoiler Alert: You’re Not My Mom

Oh Mother’s Day … I don’t even know what to say about this one.  As a mother of young kids, you kind of feel like you’ve been through battle, and then there is this one day that’s supposed to be yours. I’m a MOM darnit, celebrate me.

But the crazy part is that the moms who are in the trenches with the little ones who need this day the most, are usually the ones most neglected. If your husband is like mine, you’ll feel the irony of this day. I’ll never forget one year when the kids were 2, 3, and 4, and I asked about Mother’s Day; he looked at me dead in the eye and said, “You’re not my mom.”  

Sweet. Wrong answer. I know he was half kidding, but also half really not.  He planned to spend the day with his mom, not taking care of our three kids and letting me kick back and just enjoy them. For just one day, I didn’t want to be the go-to diaper changer, fight breaker-upper, meal planner, cook, cleaner, and bath and bed time supervisor. I wanted to be there with a glass of wine watching him be in charge of bath time and bed time.  I wanted him to be the one giving goodnight kisses, not walking them back to their beds 30,000 times.

But, I’m not his mom and our kids were too little to make this Mother’s Day fantasy come true. So, just add Mother’s Day to the list of things that were better in theory than in execution.  (With three kids in 2.5 years, that was kind of our family motto). We usually spend the day torn between trying to please my mom and my mother-in-law. And of course, I’m in charge. This type of planning does not fall under my husband’s skill set. While he has many amazing (like serious freegin awesome) skills, this type of planning is not one of them. We have been married over 11 years and he has not once planned a party for me, or the kids, or anything. He will build me amazing tables for a last-minute dinner with the doulas (that really happened); but no, he does not plan them.

So here are my two cents, if you have a vision of how you want Mother’s Day to go, whether it’s a day at the spa with your mom while hubby takes the kids to see his mom, or if it’s family brunch, or a massage, or dinner with friends, or just not being in charge of everything, figure it out and tell your partner and make it happen. Don’t wait and then be disappointed that there was no unicorn parade in your honor.  

Mothers are among the strongest, most amazing group of people I will ever know. Selfless, loving more than I ever thought possible – the sacrifice, sleepless nights, and the worry. I didn’t think the kind of strength that motherhood requires actually existed until I had kids. You can’t comprehend it until you’ve been through it.  Obstacles come my way, and I literally laugh: I’m a mom, I can handle anything. So, cheers to all you mothers out there, you are my heroes.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Love,

Angie & Dr. Cap

PS – That was going to be the end of this post, but if you’re still reading, I’d love to tell you a little about my mom…my amazing, strong, brilliant, bad ass mom. My mom was born in Greece in 1949 and is one of five girls. She was basically raised by her grandmother because her parents spent their days running the village’s only hotel and restaurant. This small village at the foot of the mountains in mainland Greece did not have running water or electricity. She shared one bed with all five sisters AND her grandma – not a room… a BED.  I can’t even wrap my mind around what it must have been like to grow up like that. I get frustrated when our internet is slow, or when I have to wait for the water in the shower to get hot. Anyway, I digress.

My mom was the fastest girl in the village and super smart, but she wasn’t allowed to compete in athletics because my grandpa didn’t think that girls should do sports. She also started doing poorly midway through elementary school because she couldn’t see and needed glasses. She just didn’t know it. There were no “well checks” and certainly no pediatric ophthalmologists.  

Of the five girls, they would send my mom to do the tough jobs.  She was fearless and would get stuck doing the jobs her sisters refused,  e.g. she was the designated chicken killer. If they needed a chicken for the restaurant, they would send my mom out to catch it and get it ready to be cooked.  She would tell me stories of how hard it is to catch a chicken who is running from you. There were feathers everywhere, squawking, chasing, pecking, and she and her sisters just laughing at the chaos.   

As the girls got older, my grandparents knew they could not afford dowries for five girls; they wanted to give their kids more opportunity and a better life. So, one by one, the girls were sent to live with relatives in the United States.  My mom moved to America in 1967 when she was 18; she and her mom were the last to come over together. She started working in a factory in Chicago, in the basement. She barely spoke any English but could solve problems and would fix the circuit boards when there was an issue that no one else could figure out.  The other employees would tell her not to work so fast because she was making them look bad. My mom refused. If she did anything, she did it at 100% with passion and pride. It took almost freezing on the side of the road, walking home with her sister carrying groceries, to make her find a warmer place to live. She still remembers that day when she says she thought she was going to freeze to death.  They dropped the groceries and staggered the rest of the way home, leaving the bags on the side of the road.

My mom was able to move to San Diego and live with her dad’s sister who owned a little Greek market downtown in the Gaslamp district. She started taking a few classes at city college and waitressing.   The stories she tells me of the other women complaining are the best. The constant complaining about things that are so insignificant in the scope of her childhood problems: laundry isn’t hard when you have a washing machine and running water, cooking is easy with a fully stocked refrigerator, school is a privilege, and life is beautiful.  

My mom met my dad through the Greek church, they married not long after at age 30, and had my brother and I shortly thereafter.  At 40, they risked everything to follow their dreams and open a Greek restaurant which they ran for almost thirty years. My mom turns 70 this month.  I am so inspired by her strength, tenacity, and kindness. My mom is one of the kindest, hardest working and best people I know. She is proud, classy, and doesn’t take crap from anyone.  She stands up for what she believes in and would do anything for her family.

Our mothers shape who we are.  They are love and our reprieve from the world.  When I call my mom she still answers the phone “hello little sunshine!!” in the happiest voice you can imagine.  Be the kind of person your kids can count on, love them unconditionally, and set the tone for the people you want them to be in life.  If you want them to work hard and be kind, show them. If you want them to be happy, show them. If you want them to love their bodies and believe in themselves, show them.  You are their world right now and who you are will someday help define who they grow up to be. I’m so grateful that I was blessed with the mom I have; she set the bar high, and I aspire to be that kind of mom for my kids.  

PPS. I can’t wait to tell you next year all about how amazing Dr. Cap’s mom is.  She is an inspiration.

PPPS. He wants me to tell you that he CAN plan things, he just chooses not to.  hahaha.

PPPPS. [<– is that even a thing??]  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU ALL INSPIRE ME.  NOW GO PLAN YOUR RAINBOW UNICORN PARADE AND CALL YOUR MOM.