Mother’s Day Chat: Is This Holiday Weird Or The Weirdest?
Meaghan: Ahh hi! It has been too long since we’ve been in a Google Doc together.
Ester: Yes, absolutely! We miss you! How’s PDX?
Meaghan: I don’t want to be one of those Portland evangelists but also: AMAZING. Though I suspect much of that has to do with having rooms and a washer & dryer. Do you live in the Bronte castle yet??!
Ester: No. SIGH. Like all castles, it was beautiful but impractical—I would have needed a Vespa to get anywhere, and though the idea of being like Princes Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday was tempting, I let it go. So glad you’re enjoying your west coast idyll though. Here’s the most important question: What are you and your little family doing for mother’s day?
Meaghan: Ha ha, WELL we have no idea, but Dustin said maybe I could just spend the day alone, tell no one my plans, and not check in at all.
Ester: So you mean I’m ruining everything for you in advance?
Meaghan: Ha, well the magic is in not telling HIM my plans, I can tell the internet (actually, I do kind of live by that). I don’t know what I’ll do yet. Maybe go see a movie? As you presciently told me when I was pregnant, I have been to the movies exactly twice in the past year.
Ester: What’d you see? And was each worth it?
Meaghan: SNOWPIERCER!! With the baby at baby movie hour in Brooklyn. And Boyhood. And yes! This was all like, nine months ago. What about you guys? Do you have plans? You are an experienced Mother’s Day human.
Ester: K, so here’s my thing. I think Mother’s Day is *weird* and I don’t know how to celebrate it except as a daughter. I’m totally fine taking my mom and grandma to brunch or whatever, though come to think of it I’m not sure that’s ever actually happened.
This year I made a contribution to Nepal Earthquake Relief in my mom’s honor for Mother’s Day and she was thrilled; she’s more that kind of person than a cards-and-flowers person. And we’re going to Asheville this weekend to throw Babygirl at her other grandma (Ben’s mom) and great-grandma, who live down there. But as far as I know we’re not doing anything me-related and that is FINE.
Meaghan: It is so weird!! Somehow I imagined that when you are a mother you are no longer a daughter or something. I mean, something has shifted in my relationship with my own mother, I think. Like, she is now much more concerned with her grandson (ha?!) and misses HIM and now that I think about it, it’s kind of a relief? Like I don’t have to feel as guilty for her missing me all the time—it’s all on my kid, and he has no idea. No, I know it’s also on me, but I don’t let myself feel guilty about it. Yet?
Ester: Anything that eliminates guilt from your life is A+, short of sociopathy anyway. It’s interesting to think though that you’re primarily not a daughter anymore once you’re a mother. I mean, I think you’re RIGHT—but it’s interesting. The focus shifts. Do you feel like you should / deserve to be celebrated too, though? On this fake Hallmark holiday?
Meaghan: Ha. God my first reaction is, HELL YEAH. This was a hard year. But that may be unrelated to Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is just so LAME isn’t it? It has such bad connotations for me. I don’t know why.
Ester: It does seem lame! Lamer than Valentine’s Day even. Maybe that’s my discomfort with it. I want to be too cool for this silliness—except, at the same time, who doesn’t like chocolate and flowers and being thanked? It is a Quandary.
Meaghan: Right like, does our resistance come because Oh my god, we are MOMS? That means we’re old. I would like a new holiday that has nothing to do with my own mother. Hehe. But having a kid did make me stop and think, “Damn, I should send my mom flowers. She’s my mom.”
Ester: Hee! Yeah. After having a kid, I realized that on my birthday I should send my mom flowers. She did all the work! Not that I’ve done it, but you know. I’ve thought that I should do it.
Meaghan: YES! Lordy.
Ester: Do you feel old, Meaghan? #RealTalk You left the Never Never Land of NYC and moved across the country, you’re living in a house in a smaller wholesome city with your partner and your infant son …
Meaghan: Okay I don’t feel OLD, but I do feel like an adult. And the time it really hit me, like I am a MOM, was when I went to Target and put the baby in a shopping cart. There was something about the cart, and loading bags into the back of our station wagon (!!!)—apparently these are the subconsciously embedded signifiers of motherhood to me. Shopping, errands, car trunks, the sound of carts slamming into each other in the parking lot. It’s kind of fucked up.
But yeah something about being somewhere new … in New York it was like, “Hi, this is my regular life, but now I have this BEING to take care of, and my body is ruined.” And in Portland it’s like yep here we are, some thirty-somethings with a kid and a station wagon and our freelance careers, i.e., like everyone we meet here.
Ester: Park Slope / Prospect Heights is kind of like that—constant stroller derby on the sidewalks—and yet still kind of not, because I can’t strap Babygirl in a car and take her to Syms the way my mom used to do with me every Saturday, so I feel like I live in this limbo. Still not quite an adult. I am making more mom friends, though, which helps. Have you made mom friends out there? Are they different from East Coast mom friends?
Meaghan: I have one Mom Friend!! She is amazing and I’m obsessed with her. I mean I have about three friends total, including my Mom Friend’s husband and Amanda Bullock who moved here from New York at the same time we did. Ha. Anyway, I don’t have much to compare it to, I do think the Williamsburg Moms I met were semi-INSANE, but so was I at the time; all new moms are insane. Now our kids are turning one and we can laugh about the early “dark days” so it’s different. But overall I do think the culture of this city is more accepting of children? For better or worse! Ha. Every time we go to take him into a restaurant I get all panicky and then the waiter is like, HELLO here’s a high chair and a kid’s menu and crayons, I just had a baby myself, etc. etc.
Ester: Snort. That’s great, though, I’m glad. So what movie do you think you’ll see, as your special treat in honor of being a mom who survived this long and hasn’t throttled anyone yet?
Meaghan: YET. Well I am embarrassed to say but in the interest of disclosure: THE NEW BAUMBACH MOVIE. I know Dustin will never see it with me and say what you will and so on but I just want to see it!
Ester: Go forth! I maybe would if I didn’t have a serious allergy to Ben Stiller. I wish Pitch Perfect 2 were open; I could make a great argument to my little family that I need to sneak away and see that by myself.
Meaghan: Sneak away for something! You are going to be in in-laws land!! It is your placenta-given right!
Ester: Do you ever wish you’d eaten your placenta? Or done something crafty with it? Because I have to admit I don’t. The thing looked like a jellyfish from outer space.
Meaghan: LOL yeah I debated about this a lot while pregnant and then when the time came I was like, Oh my god, who cares—least of my concerns. But who knows! Maybe I would have been so chipper, flush with my own meat! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!