This post is dedicated to my beautiful, talented, wonderful mother.
Someone said to me this weekend that it must be hard to raise two little kids and I said to her, “Oh, I’m usually on the brink of being put in a mental institution.” I mean, who really knows if I’ll make it through the day without booking a one-way ticket to a remote island with a spa and no cellphone service? Thankfully though, as you know by now, I like to make life just a bit harder - but also more enjoyable for me - by trying to do things like small DIY (Do It Yourself) projects. These little projects, along with my blog, are my much-needed outlets that I love, even if they do stress me out sometimes... I realized though that you have to pick the things you feel are worth it, that provide you with a sense of joy and inspiration, even when you think you should be doing more. I don’t do things that aren’t enjoyable for me like experimenting with many different dinner recipes (“Honey, would you like garlic powder on your omelet tonight or dried basil?”) By nature, mothers are already doing amazing, important, and extremely difficult work in raising kids and making a home - and yet there is still so much pressure out there to do it all.
I believe it is incredibly important that we find a way to resist this "do it all" mentality, and create a culture that both encourages a dramatic reduction in expectations for mothers at home (who often work too), and de-stigmatizes the notion of asking for help. Our creative outlets, whether it be blogging, DIY, cooking, coffee with friends, or exercising, can help to prevent things like burnout, resentment, or even depression - which are all way more common than the person experiencing it realizes - but they're not enough on their own. We also need to have conversations with our communities, spouses, friends, and families about the help we need, along with figuring out what can be afforded and provided in terms of cleaning help, babysitting, and even financial aid. It’s extremely difficult to ask for help. But if we begin to encourage it, then perhaps we can create a society that understands that it takes a village to care for a mother. And if you ask for help, you also give your spouse, your friend, your family and your community members courage to do the same.
So in the spirit of Mother’s Day next week and to further celebrate our own mothers, here are the instructions for a little DIY project that will test your intelligence, as all DIY projects do. I'm making these for the brunch I'm very excited to have with my family for our mother. I want to thank her immensely for all of her unconditional love and support. I deeply look up to her strength and character, as I know the many people around her do as well. I also know that some of my friends are only friends with me because of her, and I thank her for the calm, loving advice she gives me on the phone at 11:00 PM when I call her in a state of panic because I haven't started cooking and I have guests the next day. Somehow, she always manages to reassure me that that everything will be okay.
Here are my instructions for "Mother’s Day Brunch" Napkin Rings
For these "very easy yet difficult" napkin rings, you'll need...
1. Pretty ribbon that you like
2. Painters tape (get a size that is a little less wide than your ribbon, or just cut it to that size)
3. Napkins of your choice
4. Anxiety medication
- Cut a piece of painters tape (if the tape is too wide, cut it to a width that’s a bit smaller than the ribbon’s) and wrap it around making a circle, with the sticky side on the outside. Wrap it so that you can stick two fingers inside (but not quite three) – this was more difficult for me than I thought it would be to execute…
- Wrap the ribbon around the sticky tape and cut it at the length you need to fully cover the tape. Good luck.
- Roll up a napkin tightly (on a diagonal), and place them inside the napkin rings. I rolled the napkin a bit tightly so the ring could fit, and then made the napkin a bit bigger with my fingers.
I would love to know – whether you’re a mother to small kids or a mother to the people and things you love, what are the outlets that save you? And what are your courageous stories about asking for help?