The calendar is a bitch over the holidays, amiright?
You know what would make things way better? If you made the calendar your bitch instead.
And that, ladies, is exactly what I’ve done. This year, I cordially invite you to set aside December 26th to celebrate National Mom’s Day Off.
This is a totally-made-up holiday that I’ve been celebrating for about nine years now. How does it work? We’ll get to that in a sec.
First, let me regale you with a poem about the day, and then I’ll get into some FAQs about how to celebrate.
THE BEST DAY OF THE YEAR
a poem by Yours Truly
You’ve cooked, you’ve cleaned,
you’ve plotted, you’ve schemed
to make the holiday bright.
Now … you’re tired.
Up to your elbows you’re mired
in things that were meant to delight.
You need a break,
a drink (and a cake),
some bad TV wouldn’t hurt.
Let the family eat leftovers
while you dine on Russell Stover’s.
All kid requests you divert.
“You got new toys yesterday!”
“No, there’s no cooking today!”
The car keys remain in your handbaggy.
No shower for you,
no clothes except PJs, it’s true.
Your hair can stay limp and saggy.
It’s December 26,
time to get your one-day fix
of being the Lordess of the Couch.
The remote is YOURS,
into your glass, the wine pours
You’ve earned your day off, all could vouch.
Gee, this sounds awesome! How can I commemorate this day?
Excellent question. Here are the rules:
- Mom is Supreme Lord and Ruler of the remote from the time she wakes until bedtime (and possibly beyond, as it is perfectly acceptable to fall asleep on the couch).
- The car does not leave the driveway.
- Wine may be consumed starting at 11:30 AM. (OK, 11. Or 10:30. Whatever. I’m not your parole officer.)
- No new food will be cooked. The menu is leftovers or anything that is scavenge-able, microwaveable, or self-serve.
- No getting dressed. (I adhere so strongly to this rule that one year, when I had a family event that was unmissable, I arrived in my pajamas and slippers.)
- Naps. Naps all over the place. Nappity nap nap nap.
- Anyone who is not mom is not allowed to bitch about anything. (This rule usually gets broken all day. But it’s worth a try.)
- Feel free to ignore rules 1-7 and celebrate however you like, as long you’re doing stuff that makes you feel relaxed and happy.
What’s the origin of this holiday?
I created this personal holiday years ago when I realized that from around December 22nd until December 25th, I sat down approximately three times. By the 26th, I was pooped.
The first time I attempted to celebrate Mom’s Day Off, I had a 13 month-old, a six year-old, and a (now ex-) husband who was presumably someplace in the house.
It took me literally four and a half hours to watch Julie and Julia between interruptions, but I still count it as one of the greatest days of my life. To this day I have a Pavlovian response to that movie — as soon as it comes on, I start looking around for the red wine.
Isn’t this selfish?
Delightfully, deliciously so.
What about my kids?
Fuck ’em! It’s Mom’s Day Off!
Kidding! But seriously … some people need to chill on this.
I wrote a piece in Scarymommy about this holiday two years ago and I got literally thousands of Facebook comments. Most of them fell into one of three categories:
1. Awesome! I’m in!
2. Bummer, I have to work!
3. Trish, you’re a horrible person! I’m a mom EVERY DAY and I love my kids too much to take a day off! I feel bad for your kids!
Those people in the #3 category? Oy vey. I got so much crap that I was even included in a Redbook story about moms who were shamed online.
A far-flung cousin of mine, whom I hadn’t seen in years, suggested that I was leaving my kids in the care of “some 15-year old babysitter sitting on the couch with her boyfriend.” “Not true,” I told him. “I sent them down to the basement to watch porn and brew crystal meth.”
Let’s get a grip here. I’m not telling you to lock your kids in the closet. I’m not saying don’t feed them or change their diapers.
What I’m saying is let your kids go play with all the crap you spent the last month buying and wrapping. Don’t spend the day cooking up activities to entertain them. Don’t plan any holiday outings meant to provide further delight and photo-worthy moments for your social feed. If you live in America and you can afford a few presents and you have enough disposable time to read this article, I’m willing to bet you’ve already delighted the crap outta your kids plenty this holiday season. Take a load off, woman.
But isn’t this neglect?
No, asshole. Neglect is not feeding, washing, or changing your child. Neglect is ignoring them to the point that it causes lasting psychological damage.
You watching some TV in the middle of the afternoon is not neglect.
I disagree. My children are the light of my life and I would never take “time off” from being a mom! It’s a full-time job for me and I’m happy to do it!
You’re right. You’re perfect. You’re perfectly fucking up your kids by showing them that you only exist in relation to them and you have no wants or needs of your own. You’re an inspiration!
And now, in my mind, I have shrunk you down to a teeny, tiny size and made your voice all tinny and high-pitched. I am picking you up by your complaining head and dropping you into a bucket I’ve labeled Eager to be Offended. If you ever tire yourself out, I may let you out.
Can dads celebrate, too?
Here’s the thing: Normally I try to be inclusive, but I hesitate to give this a full-on greenlight. There are dads who are helpful and there are dads who are not-so-much.
Let’s gauge it this way: If you’re a dad, have you done everything you were asked to do to help with holiday preparation? Yeah? You did? Or you think you did?
Well, sorry guys. That was a trick question.
Because the key here is that you should be taking some initiative to help out instead of acting like you just landed on Planet Earth four weeks ago and you’re unfamiliar with concept of the December holidays.
Otherwise, if your ass hits the couch on Mom’s Day Off, I promise you that your lady will begin fantasizing about smothering you in your sleep. (And yes, if a kid yells “MOM!” on December 26th, go ahead and just translate that to “DAD!”)
My husband would never be able to take over for a whole day!
It sounds like your husband sucks. Divorce his ass. (Just my opinion.)
Further suggested reading for you: The Giant Man-Baby Phenomenon.
What if I have to work on the 26th?
Honey … what is the lesson here? Make the calendar your bitch. Pick another day and do it up!
What if I’m a single mom?
Ladies, I was a single mom for five years. I celebrated this with a 2 year-old and a 7 year-old. Was it the most relaxing day ever? Hell, no. Did I have to make sure my TV selections were of the PG variety? Yep.
But I still dialed all my duties waaaaay down and chilled as much as possible.
But [insert special circumstances here that make it impossible for you to celebrate this day]!
Look how dead-set you are on not being able to take any time for yourself at all. Can you spare a tiny window of time? Two hours, maybe? Work up from there and shoot for three next year?
Now, in my mind, I’ve shrunk you down to a teeny, tiny size and I’m depositing you into a bucket labeled Martyrs.
The whole idea is that you find some way, in whatever circumstances fit into your own life, to take some time for yourself. Even if it’s just 15 minutes on the crapper with a good book … find a way. Find. A. Way.
As for me, this day has evolved so much that I’m planning a movie binge with my 15 year-old daughter on the 26th. What a giant surprise! Kids grow and you can share interests? Who saw that coming?
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