I feel so silly asking this but it’s really weighing on my mind! What should I do for mother’s day? I know it’s MY DAY to do whatever I want to do, but I can’t figure it out. Every idea I have feels exhausting. I thought I would invite both grandma’s over for a family celebration but I can’t seem to commit to it. Going out to a restaurant with my kids and long wait times sounds terrible. I’m afraid to lose my one day a year where I have permission to be selfish if I don’t pick something soon! -Erin
I don’t think this is a silly question AT ALL. I actually think it’s a very important one and one that will show up every birthday and mother’s day. The big milestone birthdays can be especially difficult because there is extra pressure to make it spectacular.
Life Coaching Answer:
As I read your question, I’m wondering if you feel like you lost yourself in parenting?
Our wants and desires are key to the essence of who we are. It’s difficult to answer the question, “What do I want?” when we have disconnected from spirit.
Here are some signs that you have disconnected from your spirit:
You feel tired a lot.
You go through the motions of the day, without feeling fully engaged and alive.
You feel lonely and confused.
You’ve tried to solve your problems but it doesn’t change how you feel.
You can tell me what your kids want, your husband wants, your mother in law wants, but struggle to answer the question, “What do I want?”
Reconnecting with your essence is easier than you might think but it helps to understand how you lost the connection in the first place.
How often do your kids ask, “What do you want to do today, mom?” “What do you feel like eating?” “What outfit would you like to wear?” “What did you learn today, Mom?” “Did you have fun at the grocery store?”
The people you are with the most, stopped asking you what you want. So you stopped asking yourself that question.
I love that Erin is asking the question “What do I want to do for mother’s day?”
Unfortunately, it’s tied in with pressure and scarcity so she feels like she has to pick the perfect thing for her, her family, and suck it up for the rest of the year.
You deserve more than ONE day of the year to think about what you want!
When we aren’t giving enough attention to our spirit, we may inadvertently put unrealistically high expectations on this ONE-day event.
It’s easy to slip into thinking this one needs to be perfectly rejuvenating, inexpensive, make everyone happy and bring me back to feeling like myself again.
Let’s throw the perfectionism out the window!
I suggest you declare another day just for you to remove this scarcity around mother’s day.
I always tried to switch father’s day with mother’s day in my family. The golf courses are packed on father’s day but empty on mother’s day so we go against the tide and swap them. We’ll hit a day spa on father’s day and enjoy the absence of crowds, but you have to be careful.
Moms that are good at self-sacrificing and putting everyone else’s needs first, need to watch out for the temptation to skip over their day altogether. If you hear your brain saying, “I can skip it” or “I don’t really need it”, don’t believe it!
Claim your day, set aside some money, know that resistance might come up but don’t allow it to take over. Then start fantasizing about what you really, really want.
Look around you. Everything you see around you began in someone’s imagination. Your job is to let go of rules, fears, and just dwell in your imagination.
What would you do if you could not care what people thought?
What would you do if you had a day to yourself and nobody knew it?
If you hear your brain saying “That could never happen” or “I can’t afford that”, tell it to relax, you are just dreaming as a way to reconnect with your essence.
Children are constantly in transition, which means that our needs as parents are constantly in transition, too.
When they are babies, we just want sleep.
When they are pre-school age, we just want our own attention.
When they are angsty teens we might crave more joy and peace. What do you crave? order? calm? nature? adventure?
One year for mother’s day I was craving productivity and quiet time by myself. So much of my life was spent in circular tasks that never gave me a sense of actual accomplishment.
I sent my family away from the house for 5 hours and painted the dining room. It was so fun. Just me, my thoughts, my music, my aesthetic with a very tangible result I could look at every day.
Write out your fantasy mother’s day in your journal and give yourself permission to want whatever the heck you want. No judgment. No expectation.
Supermom Kryptonite: Maximising
In 1956, prize-winning economist, Herbert A. Simon wrote a paper about the different ways people make buying decisions. He coined the terms “Maximiser” and “Satisficer”.
Maximisers expect themselves to make the most informed, intelligent decisions with the most long lasting benefits.
Most of us would expect that “maximizing” one’s decision making would lead to superior and more satisfying results. Psychologists, however, have discovered no difference in the quality of decision but a big difference in one’s ability to be content with their decisions.
Maximisers are more likely to struggle with making a decision and then beat themselves up afterward if it proves to be less than ideal.
Putting pressure on themselves to make perfect decisions with the most long lasting benefits, drains their energy by making us avoiding decision making altogether.
In Erin’s scenario, she may be trying to “maximise” her mother’s day experience by putting too many expectations on one day.
She wants to tap into her essential self and use this day to reconnect with what she wants, but she also wants to make the grandmas happy, and not be perceived as “selfish”.
Supermom Powerboost: Satisficing
Simon combined the words “satisfy” with “sufficing” to coin the term satisficing. A “satisficer” is one who looks at what they want to gain (or maintain) and chooses based on modest criteria.
They don’t feel pressured to make a perfect decision with long lasting benefits, they just want it to be good enough for right now.
“Satisficers” find contentment with what they have and don’t worry that there might be something else better out there.
What researchers have found is that “satificers” are generally happier than “maximisers”.
They have an easier time making decisions, don’t beat themselves up afterward for making “bad” decisions, (they don’t even label decisions as good or bad!) and don’t dwell in negative emotions like buyer’s remorse.
They make decisions based on what they want at the time, and allow their wants to change over time.
Becoming more of a satificer will boost your energy, your happiness and your decision making abilities.
Making decisions based on what is good enough for you right now, requires you to KNOW what it is you WANT.
This is an easy thing to lose when you are a busy mama, but that’s why it’s the first step towards claiming a day just for you.
Quote of the Day
“Knowing that you’ve made a choice that you will not reverse allows you to pour your energy into improving the relationship that you have rather than constantly second-guessing it.”
― Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less