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What do moms want for Mother’s Day? To be left completely alone

Mom looking out window in robe drinking coffee
Jamie Grill Atlas/Stocksy

It’s everywhere you look—TikTok videos making it clear that moms don’t want bath bombs for Mother’s Day. Facebook posts that declare how badly moms need a break for Mother’s Day. Article after article, essay after essay about a kid-less, spouse-less, silent holiday for moms.

Let’s talk about why that is.

If you’re a mom who loves to brunch with your family for Mother’s Day, that’s delightful. Far be it from me to ever turn down an opportunity to indulge in mimosas and chicken and waffles at the same time. But the ideal mom-centric holiday for most moms is, well, a break. Time to read, time to binge Netflix, time to shop or eat or see a movie all on her own. To her heart’s content. Without interruption.

For the last two Mother’s Days, my husband has given me the gift of a night away to do whatever I want to do. I don’t return the favor for Father’s Day, because it’s just not the same thing. He’s an involved dad, an equal parent, and he would absolutely scoff at the idea of gendered tasks and roles in our parenting dynamic (he’s a really good dishwasher and vacuumer, I’m actually better at taking out the garbage than he is). But I absolutely deserve a break more than he does.

Why? Because I’m the default parent. I’m the calendar creator and the appointment-maker and taker most of the time. I’m the work-from-home parent so a lot of housekeeping and meal-prepping falls to me so that it’s not all getting done at 8 p.m. I’m the laundry doer and clothes hanger-upper. The grocery-orderer. I’m the one our girls want to lie with them until they fall asleep. It’s only when I leave the house that our girls protest and even cry sometimes.

The list goes on, as it does for every mom.

Motherly’s 2023 State of Motherhood Survey shows 58% of moms report they are primarily responsible for the duties of running a household and caring for children this year, up 2% over 2022. The majority of moms (62%) still report getting less than an hour to themselves each day.

LESS THAN AN HOUR. And you know what, we feel it. It adds up, too.

So what better way to spend the one holiday dedicated solely to mothers than to spend it the way we want to? Christmas is all about hosting, house-hopping, and playing Santa. Our birthdays usually consist of a chaotic family celebration or a haphazard night out with our spouses. So yeah, if this holiday is really all about us and what we want to do, well, why shouldn’t we be left alone for Mother’s Day?

I do enjoy the little arts and crafts my kids bring home from school. And I actually really like picking out flowers for our garden and planting them with my kids. My husband is excellent at picking out the perfect card and writing the perfect message inside, which I also love.

But here is what I don’t want to do on Sunday, May 14:

  • To cook.

  • To clean.

  • To do laundry.

  • To have to wear dress clothes or hard pants.

  • To go to a restaurant where I will undoubtedly sweat from anxiety over my kids not behaving just to get some good Instagram content.

  • To attend any gatherings with extended family.

  • To get up and down 956 times for snacks, drink refills, hunting for toys, etc.

  • To be responsible for all of the things I am usually responsible for in our family.

I want to make up for that daily “less than an hour” to myself thing by relishing in several, consecutive hours to myself to watch “Queen Charlotte” and eat non-lunchbox snacks while feeling zero guilt or sense of obligation.

It’ll be business as usual on Monday. But for Sunday, if the mom in your life needs a break—give her one.