The cards are sweet.
The flowers are charming.
And who in their right mind would decline a Sunday brunch of pastries, pancakes, coffee, and, perhaps, a mimosa (or two)?
Not me. Sign me up.
But, as a mother, I have to admit that I want more—but not in the way you might think.
I’m talking about less pomp and circumstance and more substance. I mean, sure: pomp and circumstance makes us giddy and garners a ton of likes on Facebook and Instagram.
Substance, on the other hand, isn’t shiny, can’t be worn, and is not perceptible by the taste buds.
But substance brings a lot to the table.
Substance is the stuff of inner peace. It provides us moms reassurance. It makes us feel good.
Substance enables us to sleep well at night.
Here’s how Merriam Webster defines substance: “a fundamental or characteristic part or quality; ultimate reality that underlies all outward manifestations and change; practical importance: MEANING, USEFULNESS.”
So, let’s explore what substance might look like when applied to the daily lives of mothers today.
Well, for starters, it looks like putting an end to the rat race manufactured by society that pits career moms against stay-at-home moms. (Um, hello: Isn’t it high time we acknowledge that all mothers work?) How grand would it be if everyone—employers, partners, and we as women in general—was on the same page about a mother’s work being as diverse as the shells in the sea.
But work is work, nonetheless.
Substance might also look like making motherhood—as an institution—a judgement-free zone so that mothers in all forms are recognized and lauded.
Not all mothers arrive at this destination by way of the same path.
Remember: While some mothers carried their babies in their wombs, others found their children in the classroom, through adoption agencies, and by way of the most unlikely scenarios.
But we are mothers all the same.
Substance might also look like doing away with the qualifier still with regard to characterizing a mother’s appearance and/or aptitude, as in: She had those kids years ago, and she still hasn’t lost all the baby weight or You mean to tell me her kid is still taking a bottle?
In the words of supermodel Paulina Porizkova, people “only use the word still when they’re referring to something they believe a person has lost.”
Furthermore, when the time comes for us moms to send our children off to school—and, later, out into the world—we want the comfort of knowing that they’ll be accepted and included by others, despite our children’s differences or challenges.
Additionally, substance looks like our husbands and partners being secure in the knowledge that we tried—and will never stop trying—even though we may have missed the mark on something as important as a pertinent decision or as trivial as attempting a new recipe we found on Pinterest.
And for the love of everything that is holy, substance means having our attempts at self improvement measured by something other than calories, a scale, or a size on a clothing tag. We want to wear the darn bikini—stretch marks, pooch, and all—without the weight of condemnation or comparisons to an airbrushed celebrity.
And another thing: I just turned 45, which means that I’ve officially arrived at the age where I finally understand why people on game shows are so excited to win a household appliance.
I’m sure you recall Flood-a-Geddon—you know, that horrible flood last June that ravaged many a basement in Wayne County, many of which were right here in our great city?
Well, I straight-up cried like a baby when that flood took out our family’s washer and dryer. (Yes. The horror.)
Wouldn’t it be great if substance also meant an eternal warranty on all the appliances—technological devices included!—that we couldn’t bear to live without?
So, there you have it: The ultimate substantive Mother’s Day wishlist.
Oh, the glory.
And while it’s more likely that chocolate will be made a bona fide food group before all of the above comes to fruition and then becomes the norm, a mother can dream.
In the meantime, we’ll most certainly be grateful for that brunch, bracelet, and a thoughtful card.
Ultimately, we mothers just want to be loved. On Mother’s Day, yes, but everyday.
Courtney Conover has called Wayne home since 1995. She’s a wife and mom of two kids, and you can find her online at courtney-conover.com, where she blogs weekly.