Mother's Day is not really for mothers -- and that's OK

Mother's Day is not really for mothers -- and that's OK
A little behind-the-scenes spirit in a family photo shoot. (Michelle Maltais / Los Angeles Times)

I may have to turn in my membership to "the motherhood," but I must admit Mother's Day is not for me.

This will be my fourth one as a mom. But even four years and two kids into motherhood, Mother's Day still doesn't feel like "my day." For a day that's supposed to be all about me, none of it is actually about me.


In fact, Mother's Day isn't really for mothers. Moms aren't being celebrated for who we are as individuals, rather who we are to someone else. Instead, it is a day for the mothered -- for the children of mothers.

That said, I absolutely soak up and savor every handmade Mother's Day trinket, egg-shell omelet and silly special moment. But when my kids read this -- when they actually learn to read -- I want them to understand why. So I decided to write a note to them about why Mother's Day isn't really my day.

My dearest babies (know that no matter how old you get, you will always be my babies):

Being a mom has been defined by a lot of give and take.

You may have stolen my sleep, but you have given me my dreams.

You've made a memory of the freedom of my pre-parenting days, but you've replaced that with a renewed permission to play.

And let's face it, you have taken my body, but you have given me my heart.

You have shown me I now have weaknesses and fears I never knew one person could function with, but you have inspired in me unending wells of strength and fearlessness I didn't even think possible.

At times you do trample the shreds of my sanity, but you have taught me I can summon patience from nowhere.

You've forced me to somewhat reluctantly grow up, but you've released my long-napping inner child.

You ask questions -- often repeatedly -- that I sometimes can't answer, but you teach me to again stoke my own curiosity. (My knowledge of dinosaurs and "Star Wars" is now vast and ever-expanding.)

You both always crash my personal potty time, making it party time instead, but you've ensured I never feel alone.

You've taught me what it is to hold on so tight you can't breathe, but too soon I will learn to let go and just hold my breath.

You've stolen the identity I've worked my whole life to hone -- I'm now known simply as your mom -- but you have given me a new name with purpose and superhero status.


You have taken and changed my "me," but you have created and given me "us."

Being your mom has given me the reason to celebrate Mother's Day, and that's the most amazing gift I will forever cherish.



Going through the growing pains of parenthood? Join me on the journey: @mmaltaisla