Here’s How to Really Reclaim Your Time On Mother’s Day (and Every Day)

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POP QUIZ: Behind the Brunch Imagine your upcoming Mother’s Day brunch. You appear in a springtime sundress. You are handed a special menu and are served warm croissants as your adoring family raises a glass to sing your “Best Mom Ever” praises. The scene is picture-damn-perfect. Snap one before it fades. Leading up to this well-deserved celebratory moment, what was really happening behind the brunch?

Choose one: A. You highlighted the date, May 12th, on the calendar and hoped your husband would take this “cue” to make brunch reservations. When he admitted on Saturday that he hadn’t yet made a single call but, “Don’t worry, I’ll get to it, Babe,” you remind him that, “Ahem, Mother’s Day is the busiest restaurant day of the year!” After spending nearly an hour of your time searching for an open table, the café down the street has a cancellation. You’ve saved your day.

B. An hour before leaving for brunch, your youngest has a seismic meltdown, while your pre-teen sulks, “Brunch is so boring. And, you know I hate eggs. You consider leaving them both at home to enjoy two hours sans kids, but then that would mean scrambling in the 11th hour to find a sitter. You charge the iPad and pack a snack bag once you realize you’re stuck with them.

C. Having the foresight that A and B are likely scenarios (this isn’t your first eggs benedict), you secure a table a month in advance for you and your best girlfriends. You’re relishing your free time together. That is, until you each begin receiving texts from husbands, babysitters and in-laws who wonder: The kids are coming undone. When are you coming home? Right on cue, you inhale your croissants, pay the bill and return home to relieve babysitters, prep lunches, finish homework, pack book bags, and gear up for another busy week ahead.

If a version of this “behind the brunch” is likely to play out in your own reality show, consider an alternative, a re-imagining of Mother’s Day.

This time around, what if you gave yourself permission to re-imagine yourself beyond your role as a wonderful parent and partner? What if you truly took Mother’s Day “off” and instead, reconnected with other aspects of yourself—all the other things you do, or did, that make you feel vibrant, passionate, engaged, and alive? To be clear, I’m not talking about self-care (getting a manicure), or friendship time (shopping a sample sale with your BFF). These are wonderful examples of back-to-me time that deserve a regular slot in your crowded schedule. I invite you to consider what you would do if you had more time and space to reclaim, or discover and nurture, the natural gifts and interests that make you uniquely you, driving you to be the fullest expression of yourself.

Lady, you say: Who has time for “nurturing gifts” when I have to make a Sunday Costco run?

If you’re like the majority of women who juggle nearly 75 percent of the work required to run a home and a family, the idea of carving out creative headspace may feel like a fantasy. In fact, it doesn’t exist—until you create it. And this requires collaboration with your partner.

Behind the Brunch: Scenario D A few weeks in advance, you clearly communicate to your husband your desire for him to make brunch reservations for Mother’s Day. He agrees to take the lead and when the day comes, he confidently rallies the troops and gets everyone out the door on time. He’s fully owned brunch by remembering to plan, and then by following through on every aspect of executing the plan without reminders.

What a guy! What’s more, because you pre-negotiated for two hours post brunch to take a solo hike where you can contemplate the business idea you’ve back-burnered since having your second child, you feel reenergized about your life in ways you haven’t imagined in years.

When you and your partner can agree on explicitly defined expectations and clear delineated responsibilities within the home, you can begin to rebalance the domestic workload for more efficiency and fairness. From there, a magical thing happens: You will be able to create more time to recommit to the interests that drive you to be the most alive version of yourself, content in your relationship and parenting.

This is the Mother’s Day gift you can give yourself.


This post originally appeared on Hello Sunshine.