Of course we love those macaroni necklaces. And who wouldn’t want another mug?

Cereal and syrup for breakfast? In bed? Bring it on!

Mothers truly adore everything those sticky hands make for us on Mother’s Day.

But let’s be honest here. Want to know what we really want for Mother’s Day?

We want to get away from you. All of you.

“I just want some time. Even an hour. Just an hour to sleep in. That’s what I want,” said my international-lawyer-mommy friend when I asked her about Mother’s Day. “I just want him and the kids to give me some time alone.”

This isn’t a request for a white tea harmony pedicure or sea-scrub facial. Not a girls’ night out with margaritas. Not even a shopping spree.

Just. Some. Quiet.

It’s a sweet idea, this Mother’s Day thing. Why not set aside one day to celebrate the women who birth and care for us?

It’s just the execution that’s all wrong. Take, for instance, the Mother’s Day brunch myth.

Oh, I’ve done these. In the early years, I wound up outside, walking and bouncing the kvetching baby up and down the sidewalk outside the fancy restaurant. He erped on my silk blouse and sucked on my macaroni necklace while the rest of the family stayed at the table, enjoying their eggs Sardou.

The Mother’s Day Brunch — with the prom corsages and mimosas — is high on the loathe list among moms.

“The thing I hate most for Mother’s Day is going out to eat,” said one friend who teaches cooking classes. “Mother’s Day is right up there with Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve — days I avoid restaurants if I can help it, after having worked in a restaurant on all of those holidays.”

Heck yeah. How about a nice surprise night out at a restaurant without the kids in the middle of the week, honey? Save me from just one night of dinner/dishes/don’t-get-out-of-bed-again battle.

On that night, you pretend I’m out for an important client dinner, and you take care of things at home.

Only there is no client. Table for one, please.

And that brings us to the whole Daddy aspect of things. Many fathers are confused about Mother’s Day.

One year, I tried to be proactive, to set the tone for the way I’d like to spend the day after I said nothing and ended up corralling kids in a boating store. Maybe I could ask for that hike my husband hates or strawberry picking, the kind of thing he’d never do unless I had the Mommy Card to pull out.

“What should we do for Mother’s Day this year?” I fished.

“Probably flowers,” my husband said.

“Oh, don’t spend the money on a fancy florist or delivery. That’s so sweet, but you know I love those $5 bunches of tulips at Safeway,” I demurred.

“I mean for MY mom. You’re not my mom; I wasn’t talking about flowers for you,” he said.

Okay, then.

I’m not alone in wishing Dad would step up.

“I always thought that Father’s Day should come first, so wife could set the example for husband on what to do. They seem to forget 11 months later,” my chef friend said.

Hmm. I remember some of the monstrosity presents my children have made under my guidance for my husband, including a ceramic elephant with bleeding eyes the boys did at the U-Paint-Pottery store. Maybe reversing the holidays isn’t the answer.

What about same-sex couples? Two moms have to get the holiday right. Right?

Then again, I remember running into one of my two-mommy-family friends one Mother’s Day. It was the one where I got my hike – but had to do it alone, with the kids. They were also hiking, with their three boys in tow. Not alone. Definitely not quiet.

What about dumping Mother’s Day for something that more appropriately represents our desires?

Another mom I know on Capitol Hill had the answer.

“Do I sound selfish if I say what I really want for Mother’s Day is time to myself?” she asked. “When my kids are more independent, I will no doubt relish them on the big day. Right now I want this to be Independence Day – independent from cleaning, laundry and whining.”


Petula Dvorak is a columnist for The Washington Post.

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