Editor's Note (May 2011)

You’ve probably heard the saying “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the words painted onto cute wooden signs at craft fairs. I can tell you that I’ve never purchased one, but maybe I should. I could use a reminder that my happiness counts.

Gather some women friends around and they’ll smile and nod when you mention the expression. Why? Because it’s true. Mothers are traditionally the glue that holds families together. The problem is, not many of our families are of the traditional model these days. Mom, just as often as dad, is in the work force. And although it sounds cute and catchy, “making the bacon and then coming home to fry it up in a pan” is not much fun at all.

So what would make mama happy? Yes, the question requires an individual response. And don’t expect the answer to come easy. Motherhood is complicated; you want everything for your children, so it’s almost second nature to run yourself into the ground providing everything for everyone.

The first order of business is to realize that the expectation that you can do it all is seriously misguided. It can take a while to get to that point, especially if you are an energetic person with a can-do attitude. But you’ll never make any headway unless you accept the reality that there are just so many hours in the day and even mothers need to sleep and eat.

Once you are over that hurdle the next challenge is to find some solutions. Practically, there are things you can do, like letting go of activities that aren’t necessary. That doesn’t mean forgoing your Saturday jog, it means not volunteering to be on as many committees at school. You can also call on the rest of the family. Remember you are not asking them for help – this is a family, chores are meant to be shared. So when dad watches the children he’s not babysitting and when children set the dinner table they are not being tortured, as they would have you believe, they are merely being asked to be responsible family members.

Sure, it’s easier many times to just try and do it all yourself. Who needs the moaning and groaning on top of everything else? But resist the temptation. Being a family means everyone works together. You can calm yourself with the fact that you are teaching your children a lifelong lesson.

So seriously, what would make you happy this Mother’s Day? For me it doesn’t take much. A little recognition is nice, maybe a handmade card, a gigantic hug and an hour to take a leisurely walk all by myself. And after that – well, time with the family.

Our calendar of events offers many ideas for a day well spent together. The outing doesn’t have to be pricey, there’s no admission fee at Muscoot Farm; and it doesn’t have to totally revolve around the children, how about the Azalea Garden Festival at the New York Botanical Garden? See our full calendar of events and pick out something to do that makes you happy, because, as you well know, if mama ain’t happy. …

Happy Mother’s Day,

Jean Sheff Editor