I know Mother’s Day is supposed to be about my family doing nice things for me.

But while I wait for remarks from the kids like, “we didn’t know what to do for you,” and for my spouse to blame the kids for their failure to make the day special, saying, “she’s not my mother,” I have decided to ignore the chaos and reflect on my role as a mother.

Time will tell if I led well by example, or led my children straight to therapy.

Parenting is not for the faint of heart, which essentially means I am unqualified. But like anything in life, it’s the hardest lessons that are the greatest ones and the best way to learn them is to live through them. Motherhood has taught me plenty about myself, like my tolerance for pain, anxiety, Disney films and questions to which the answer just leads to more questions that never seem to end. Also my intolerance for people who stuff dirty socks in the couch, for requests answered with eye rolls, for parenting books that make me feel like a failure and, of course, for Disney films (because that magic is a double-edged sword). The point is, I can honestly say motherhood has taught me the true definition of unconditional love (which means, yes, I have sniffed the laundry to be sure it was dirty. I regret that lesson.).

If I’ve taught my children anything, I hope these are the messages they’ve heard. The world doesn’t need more jerks, so don’t be one. Compassion is courage. Your words matter, even those unspoken; be kind to yourself. Be good to your friends. Be loyal, not because it guarantees they’ll be loyal back, but simply because your character is everything. Integrity matters. Humour does too. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

Be careful with your heart and the hearts of others. Resiliency is a super power, so cultivate it. Trust your instincts. Cultivate that too. Take care of your body. Believe in yourself like it is your job to do so, because it is. Every time you learn a lesson, graduate and move on. Don’t drag the past with you. Looking back just hurts your neck. Consider becoming a chiropractor. There are a lot of sore necks. And just to be clear, rap music has its place in culture, but not in my car.

Own up to your mistakes. Take responsibility for yourself. But when the toothpaste cap goes down the bathroom drain, blame the cat because Dad is going to lose his mind and tell you for the millionth time, “I’m a carpenter, not a plumber.” Also, don’t make fun of your mother for refusing to jump with you on the trampoline, or for not running to kick the ball with you. It’s your fault she can’t do any of this anymore. She resents you more than you know. Flowers once a year isn’t asking much (just saying). Finally, be good to your mother. You are never too old to need her, and she is never too old to need you.

If they heed my advice, I believe I’ve given them a foundation to go forth and never, ever procreate. Take that, parenting books. Now everybody get in my car and buckle up. I’m in charge of the stereo and we’re taking a road trip. Mother’s Day my way.

Chip truck, here we come.

(Photo taken a few years back in Belwood)