This Mother’s Day, I am celebrating being all of the things at once – a new and humbling experience for me. I am a mother, a wife, an executive director, a homeschool teacher, a neighbor, a friend, a volunteer, and a daughter. I am all of those things, every day, without the village of people, regular transportation, and coffee services that I have become accustomed to. It all feels a little too much and every night, I keep promising myself that I am going to start prioritizing what I want and what I need. This is not only to treat myself, but also to survive.
Ok, maybe a little to treat myself. This year, I am not going to drop subtle hints about dreaming of sleeping in until after the sun has come up and not having to scavenge for coffee. I won’t allude to the fact that I want a card from every member of my family (including the dogs) with an acrostic of my name – Maya or Mama will do – and the reasons that they love me. I am not going to pretend to care what people want for dinner and everyone will get bonus points if I don’t need to order in my own sushi. I know what I want, I know what I need, and I’m going to ask for it. I hope all of us do, whether we’re celebrating Mother’s Day or just prioritizing our mental health – two things which for me, go hand in hand during this season.
For my mental health – to survive – I need something different than the over the top love expressions that I expect.. nay, demand.. on Mother’s Day. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve started to experience panic attacks and I know I’m not alone. The stress, uncertainty, and fear of this moment are provoking psychological, physical, and emotional responses in so many of us. They started as these jolts that would interrupt me when I tried to go to sleep as if my body was sensing a need to relax, and then it’s like my brain would scream, “how could you possibly rest in this moment?!” followed by a list of reasons why I shouldn’t take a break. I would sit up and breathe, trying to steady my dizziness and wait until the storm inside my chest and my head passed. Now, they’ve started to appear more regularly and I’ve begun to create an arsenal of tools and tips to deal with them. I’ve never needed our work more, to be honest.
For Mother’s Day, I’m going to give myself the peace of naming my overwhelm and taking small steps to try and tackle it. I’m going to log off of social media and channel my urge to share with the world into journaling, kind notes, or a ChannelKindness.org piece (you can write one, too – learn how). Lastly, on Mother’s Day, I’m going to sleep until after the sun rises, read the mushy notes from my family, drink coffee, eat sushi, and ask them to make donations to our favorite organizations in my name. If you want to follow my lead and pay it forward, share this link to donate to Born This Way Foundation with your community to make a donation in your name.
And if you want to be a part of my card writing experience (thanks to our friends at Minted for providing our team with Mother’s Day cards), I’d love to be your pen pal and send a note of gratitude and appreciation. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my story with you, I am honored each and every time you read my words, and I’d love to learn your story, too, especially the moms out there! I encourage you to click here to submit your story to ChannelKindness.org.
To anyone caring for a kid, experiencing fear, waking up (or missing sleep) in the face of uncertainty, or pining for the routine of their lives, I am here for you and I am proud of you. Happy Mother’s Day.