Mother’s Day – Gifts and Guilt


“World’s best mom!” declares the decorated frame on door leading from the garage. Childish scribbles proclaim love. I smile each time I pass the door, occasionally lingering to touch the hearts made from red marker.

Exhaustion and an irritation that has been building through the day escapes through a fissure caused when I open the lunch boxes at the end of the day. Pattu’s box is untouched. I stand at the sink, radiating anger. I push the box back at her and ask her to finish it. The evening is punctuated by incessant crying and clinging from Laddu. I am ready to peel her off me and walk away from the house for a few moments of respite. The sounds of the garage opening feels like music.

Dad and daughters are in a circle eating mangoes and strawberries. I lock myself in the study. My Facebook feed is already featuring mom and children pictures. I change my profile picture. I lean back and wonder how I would like to celebrate a day earmarked for moms.

A day to myself. Just I, me, myself.

I realize that’s all I want. A day free of everyday parenting demands. A day to sleep in. A day to stand under the shower without having to hurry up. A day where I am not automatically thinking of the next meal, the next chore on my list. A day free of physical contact from any tiny beings. A day without having to worry about homework, untouched lunch boxes or whining about clothes that do not fit.

Just saying all of this in my head brings with it guilt and shame. It creeps over me like an invisible skin. I sigh and think of practical things. Coffee and donuts will be great as well as take out for dinner.

Laddu is on the other side of the glass door that separates me in the study from the rest of the home. She stares and ambles off in search of her sisters. I look at the clock and realize I have to get started on dinner.

From my reluctance to mark the day a couple of years ago, I have learned to embrace it, warts and all. Even as I soak in all that love, this Sunday I will be thinking of moms who lost their children to adoption, moms who have lost their children to miscarriages and stillbirth, children who have lost their moms and women who mother children not born to them and sending a wish into the void for an inclusive day.

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