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A lavender card, and some tender words scrawled in crayon.

A croissant balanced on a tray, a fresh flower, and a bud vase.

When you imagine a proper Mother’s Day, is this what you see?

Does your heart ache a little at the thought of this Instagram-worthy display, because you know from experience that your own Mother’s Day is a little louder, a little messier, a little more… complicated?

Who was it, exactly, who came up with this idea? How many mothers have sat up in bed, listening to the children argue (while holding knives!) over who gets to spread the cream cheese on the bagel? How do you patiently radiate gratitude to the child who insists on balancing a mug of hot tea beside a heavy plate, upon a tray, and placing it carefully on a rumpled duvet? Honestly, I couldn’t tell you, because nothing remotely like this has ever happened to me. 

If I reviewed the quantity and quality of my past Mother’s Day gifts as a yearly performance appraisal, I would definitely have to rate my mothering as somewhere between “unsatisfactory” and “file unavailable.”

Still, what about the mothers who don’t get a card at all? What about the mothers who wake up early, who make their cup of own tea, and sit gratefully in the quiet of the dawn before it’s time to face the daily emotional roller-coaster with their children? 

    Here’s what I suggest: let’s make our own Mother’s Day –  Messy Edition

    If I had to create a vision of Mother’s Day that really summed up the experience of raising these tiny humans, it would certainly not involve pressed linens or cardstock.

    My idea of Mother’s Day doesn’t fit on a tray.

    It doesn’t gleam like silverware or even sparkle like a mess of glitter.  It spatters like hot spaghetti sauce. It smells a bit like a dusty sock. It sounds like the roar of Lego in a plastic bin. It towers like a majestic blanket fort.

    On my Mother’s Day, I can’t guarantee that there wouldn’t be screaming or pinching, but there could be noise-cancelling headphones and those really expensive ice cream bars from the purple box.

    There might be eye-rolling, breathtakingly rude comments, and approximately eight thousand mentions of farts, but on my Mother’s Day, you could safely demand 200 hugs or kisses and meet that quota by the end of the day.

    And does it really have to be a whole DAY?

    One more thing: there’s no law that says our version of Mother’s Day has to run for a twenty-four consecutive hours, right? Let’s be reasonable. We need to be able to tap out, hit pause, and get on with the business of cookie negotiation, snot excavation, or weathering a howling emotional storm.

    Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t just have a Mother’s Moment: 60 full seconds of kindness, snuggles, quiet voices, and soaking up the impossible sweetness of those faces. That way, if a moment gets knocked over, shattered, stained, or stomped, there are approximately 1,439 more chances to try again.

    How are you celebrating? Come post pictures of your most authentic and unforgettable Mother’s Moment on the Facebook page: Creative Connected Parenting