What I Want for Mother's Day by Yoko Shimada, Founder of Mitera
So, I am supposed to write about mother’s day. What does it mean to me? What do I want? But I have not been able to concentrate enough to put all my thoughts onto paper because, 1) I had to pick up my kids early from 'school' because they had an ‘early release’ at 1 p.m. (way too early!), 2) spent a better part of my early afternoon dealing with their complaints and whining that I forgot to arrange a playdate, 3) eager to get back to work, my attempt to put them to bed early and tired (having sent them to the pool with our nanny in late afternoon) backfired.
My kids sleep on a bunk bed but some nights they spend a little too much time jumping from the top bunk to a giant pile of stuffed animals than trying to sleep. Tonight was one of those nights. I started off being calm tucking each of them back into their bed, kissing their foreheads good night. After hearing the loud thuds and giggles after not even 5 minutes, I went in to give them a stern warning. My third attempt included trying to separate them - moved one into our room and left one in the kids’ room - but that attempt ended in violent protest cry from the little one. I left her crying hoping she would fall asleep from being tired from crying. But she just cried harder, and when I went in for the 4th time, she wanted me to cuddle with her. I was thankful that the older one was now fast asleep on our bed but could not help wondering why the effects of all the ‘sleep training’ we did with the kids when they were little somehow reversed themselves.
After barely managing not to fall asleep with my daughter, I managed to come back to my desk to write about what I want for mother’s day. As the founder of a motherhood brand, I think about mothers all the time. In fact, motherhood is pretty much all I think about. My mission with Mitera is to celebrate and support modern women through their unique motherhood journeys. Mitera exists to support those bold, beautiful and strong women who hold tiny hands and have big dreams to first be the moms that they aspire to be and also do amazing things beyond motherhood - let it be starting their own businesses, running the NYC marathon or becoming the president of a country. I truly believe motherhood is not a penalty but an advantage through which you become a stronger, more compassionate, passionate and deeply connected human being.
Like any normal human, I asked Google. I read articles about 5 best gifts for tech savvy moms. I read another about what moms really want for mother’s day (aka time away from kids). I saw loads of articles about the best places for a mother’s day brunch. The best wine for moms, the flowers for moms, the best spas for moms, etc., etc. But what I know is I don’t really want any of that. I don’t need or want a jewelry. I have more than enough bottles of wine in our wine fridge (we got rid of our dryer so that we could fit a wine fridge - one of our indulgences). Handmade cards with hearts and stickers and glitter would be adorable but do they look any different from the ones they make for me everyday (yes, I feel lucky that they make me lots of cards)? A brunch will be spent pleading our kids not to leave their seats and eat something, trying to shove food into their mouths, and apologizing to the waiters for the incredible mess we just made for them to clean up (and having more than one ketchup stains on my shirt). A day at a spa sounds nice but when I really think about it, I know deep inside that I don’t want to spend time away from my kids on mother’s day. I’d rather cram a ‘spa morning’ when they are at school so that I can be there at pick-up time to catch and swing them as they run full speed towards me all smiles. If I can ever justify doing that away from work…
I think about what our kids - a 6 year-old boy and a girl who just turned 4 - might do or be capable of doing on this year’s mother’s day. They would probably give me adorable handmade cards that they made with their teachers. They will probably give me paper airplanes or paper roses that they made with their nanny. They will probably give me, via my husband, a bouquet of flowers. They may even attempt to cook me breakfast? Take ‘me’ out to a brunch? Do they really understand what mother’s day means? Probably not…
As I lay next to my daughter in the dark, gently stroking her back, her tiny hand reached for mine and she tightly squeezed it 3 times to let me know she loves me. It is one of my non-verbal communication methods to let them know I love them and she was using it for me. Until then all I wanted was for my kids to go to bed so that I could get back to work. I wanted my peace and quiet so that I could tackle all the things on my physical and mental to-do list and maybe try to at least eat their leftovers for dinner. But in that moment, when my daughter squeezed my hand three times before falling asleep, I realized that I have not been doing a good job about ‘being present’ and ‘mindful’ about what our kids are really doing everyday, what they are saying, thinking, and where they are at in terms of their cognitive and emotional development. Every day is spent juggling work, school and after school schedules, making sure they don’t forget their PE uniforms, trying to remember to cut the grapes vertically, buying birthday presents for 10,000 birthday parties that seem to happen every weekend, etc., etc., that I rarely have time to really think about and appreciate who our kids are becoming. Motherhood is relentless with all its joys and challenges. It can be really difficult to appreciate all the little moments that make a day, a week, a month, and even a year.
So, this mother’s day, I want to try my best to be present and mindful and appreciate my kids as they are right now, at this time, in 2017. I might not save the artwork they make me for mother’s day (I am trying to subscribe to the Kon-Mari method.) but I will for sure take the time to really appreciate it. I will let them ‘take me’ out to brunch if they so choose and will try not to give a f… about whether or not they eat their vegetables but try to enjoy eating together as a family. And I might even let myself fall asleep while putting the kids to bed not worrying about my to-do list.
The word mindfulness has been thrown around a lot lately but this is something I want to think about more. For me right now, mindfulness means taking a conscious decision to slow down and take a step back to really observe and appreciate what’s going on with my kids and around our family. Really sit down, go down to their level and play with them. It sounds cheesy but this is all I want for my mother’s day this year.
In celebration of mother's day and women's health month, we will be digging deeper into the subject of mindfulness. Stay tuned~!
What do YOU want for Mother's Day? We would love to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org