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My “I Hate Mother’s Day” Gift Guide

Ok, so I don’t really hate Mother’s Day, but just hear me out on what I’m feeling this year.

Mother’s Day is an important day, a day where we’re recognized for all that we do… or at least, a day where we’re delivered breakfast in bed, given sweet homemade cards from the little ones, and hopefully some sort of heartfelt gift from our spouse. And I want that, I do. (Husband take note: I’ll be a little pissed off if I don’t get the special treatment on Sunday.)

It’s also a day where we get to honor our own mothers, for whom we have a MUCH greater appreciation for now that we’re chauffeurs, cooks, maids, nurses, tush-wipers mothers ourselves.

We get it now – the sacrifice, the love, the sleeplessness, the worry, the challenges, the fierce protectiveness, the pride, the joy – the JOY OF IT, above all else. We get it now. And to my mom, Babs, thank you. What you’ve done for me goes beyond words. Your love set the foundation for all the good in my life.

So, it’s a beautiful holiday! It really is. But here’s where I feel a little rubbed.
All that hard work for just one day of dedicated appreciation? One breakfast in bed?
One fancy cheese cutter, or goat milk soap collection, or set of stacked apothecary jars?

I keep seeing all these “Mother’s Day Gift Guides” and they make me feel weird inside.
I want a day off, not a cheese cutter. Does anyone want a cheese cutter? Am I missing a domestic gene or something?

I don’t know… The gift guides kind of piss me off.

Because I don’t want a gift that puts me back in kitchen or in the position to make my house look all Real Simple’d up.

I want more than that. I want to be celebrated as a WOMAN who happens to be a mother.
I want to be celebrated as a mom every day, in little ways.
I want a full day where I get to acknowledge and dig into ALL of who I am.
I want the time and freedom to really look up, a day to distance myself from the relentless routine, to shake off the have-to-be-somewhere-do-something state of mind I always find myself in as I’m mothering about. I want a day where my life can be a bit more unstructured.

Mother's Day 2015Now – don’t get me wrong. I know what a gift in itself this is, to be someone’s mother. I pinch myself when I’m around them – their little faces and freckles, curls and tummies, out there, alive and precious and new and discovering the world.

The light that turns on in their eyes when they see me, as they launch into a pitter-pattering run, shouting “Mama! Mama!” It’s enough to make my almost-40-year-old womb scream for another one (that’s another blog).

They say ‘the days are long but the years are short.’ And I know that’s true. With every week, the “baby” in my baby makes way as a little girl emerges; and I think, all misty-eyed, ‘is that it for babies in the house? How’d it go by so fast?’

But then the girl will put on the boy’s shirt, and the boy will want it back, but the girl will refuse and kick him, and then there’s tears… and my misty eyes turn into exhausted sighs, and I try clicking my heels as if I could be magically transported away from them for a few hours, to a pretty cafe with handsome, half-naked waiters serving me and my girlfriends tall, icy glasses of sauvignon blanc. (does that place exist?)

You see, while motherhood IS the greatest gift, it can also feel like a trap.

When we’re caught up in all the mothering — all the doing – we can forget who we are. All that we are. Our identity can become a bit too narrow, and we start to believe that we ourselves are narrow… and we feel squished and trapped and a little claustrophobic – lost in a rabbit hole.

And in the moments where we do come up to breathe, we can feel disconnected from ourselves, because we haven’t had the TIME to explore ourselves outside of the grind of motherhood.

And so on a day where we’re traditionally celebrated for what we do as mothers, I’d like to take the opportunity to celebrate myself — AND ALL OF YOU — on a higher level. On a level that acknowledges ALL OF US, so that the WOMAN we are doesn’t get lost in the MOTHER we’ve become.

Because I believe — and I’ve made it my mission — that you can be a mother and a wife and still have a sexy, satisfied, turned-on life.

This Mother’s Day, I want to be celebrated as a mother while having the time to reconnect with myself as a woman.

Yeah, I’m a kick-ass mother, but I want to be recognized for being SO MUCH MORE.

So, screw the cheese plates (ok, unless you REALLY love cheese) and here’s what I really want for Mother’s Day – for all of us.

This alternative “gift” guide will leave you feeling loved up as a mama, but with the space and freedom to unplug from your responsibilities and reclaim your identity as a multi-faceted, sensually-alive woman who wants to FEEL all that life has to offer:

If you’d love to receive any of the gifts on this list, share it with a playful but genuine Hint, Hint, Wink, Wink…

To make me feel: BEAUTIFUL
Give me an all-expenses-paid day at the beauty parlor (and the babysitter to cover), or just let me have an hour to luxuriously primp for Mother’s Day brunch without the kids busting through my bathroom door.

And while we’re on the subject, tell me I’m beautiful every day of the year, whether I have my make-up on or I’m sweating profusely, trying to get the kids off to school.

To make me feel: like I have MORE unstructured free time
Give me a one-year subscription for a FULL DAY OFF EVERY MONTH. From start to finish — no breakfasts or dinner or bedtimes or anything in between. I want a full day of unstructured living – to wander around, to frolic with my friends, to sit at a cafe and brainstorm a new business idea, to just see where the day takes me without any restriction.

I want to experience the freedom I had before the kids popped out. This would be priceless to me, and I’ll promise to return to the family feeling refreshed, inspired and feeling like a total champion.

To make me feel: SEXY
Gift me with lingerie that says you know me. Choose a set in my favorite color, from my favorite brand… Or pick a style of panty that you know would compliment my shape, and won’t pinch or squeeze my extra bits in an unflattering way. Then, when I dress up for you, be sure the look in your eyes says everything. Show me that you’re wowed.

Let me know that you have-to-have-me-now. Put your hands on my body with an urgency that reminds us both of when we first met.

To make me feel: like I’M DOING AN AMAZING JOB
When we’re out to dinner with friends, brag about me to them. Tell them you think I’m an amazing mother, and how proud you are of all that I do. Be specific. Tell stories. Let me know that you’re paying attention. Let me know that you notice the little things, and the not-so-little things I do. Show me how impressed you are.

And remind the kids. Help them take notice too.

To make me feel: like I HAVE SPACE
Hire a babysitter or do it yourself, but take the kids on, and take them OUT OF THE HOUSE. I want time to be alone in the house, to dance naked, to read or catch up on work. To nap without the sounds of their voices in the distance.

I want to feel the spaciousness and expansiveness of being untouched and unencumbered, if only for a short while.

To make me feel: APPRECIATED, today and every day
It’s wonderful that I don’t have to nag anyone on MOTHER’S DAY to help me around the house, but how about we all make it a habit, like every day? Pick up a few extra tasks or chores, or remind the kids to do their part.

Breakfast in bed is much appreciated and special, but… psst, I make breakfast every day. A simple acknowledgment and helping hand will go a long, long way.

To make me feel: like I’m not crazy
Yes, motherhood has made me a little crazy. Like when I start wondering if our 20-month-old has “enough words” or I’m having a panic attack about kidnappers crawling through windows… just listen.

Don’t try to fix it, just listen and then tell me everything is going to be okay.

To make me feel: like I’m still SMART
Even if the smartest thing I do all day is recall which Dora episode includes the “spider wiggle” song… remind me that my brain is still good. That it hasn’t been eaten by babies. And that one day, when both kids are in school, I’ll have MORE focused time to do the work I’m passionate about.

I’m still the smart, witty, sophisticated women you remember, if only slightly more frazzled.

So there you have it, ladies. If you’re anything like me — and I know at least some of this rang true for you — you’re not feeling the traditional Mother’s Day gift lists, and you just want to feel like a woman again, who happens to be a mom.

What about you? What do you want?
How do you want to feel on Mother’s Day?

Take a piece of paper and jot down a list like this for yourself. And PLEASE, share it…

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!

PS: Soon, a small group of women will join me on a journey to rediscover & refresh who they are as mothers and lovers and women… Stay tuned for more info on that in an upcoming FREE Mommy Mojo Video Series that starts next week!

  • Annie

    LOVE this Dana. So true! I want all of the especially a day off a month. It would be so nice to have that time and frolic as I use to. I miss that side of my old self.

  • Tamara Krinsky

    Lovely and all so true. I still remember when I was pregnant with Curly Girl at 8 months, meandering in a CVS, stopping to browse the magazine rack, and consciously realizing it was probably one of the very last times in my life that I was going to have time where I wasn’t on a ticking clock.