We can all agree that Mother’s Day is a manufactured day for people to support the chocolate, flower, and jewelry industries. But we can also agree that a mom ignored on Mother’s Day is not a happy mom.

Each year I insist that my sons do something for me. At first it was so we could be normal. (If you are thinking trying to be normal is a vapid goal, then you are probably falling fairly within the norm.) Then I did it because I wanted to make sure my sons are good to the mother of their children. (I have never met a man who didn’t treat his wife like he treated his mother.)

Now that my kids are older, I see that the most important thing to teach them is that acknowledging me is important. So they’ll do it for me when they are grown up.

So I’ve been thinking all week about what I want. I thought of asking them to do something I like but they won’t, like going to the American Watercolor exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum, but they are not in school because I think forced learning is stupid, so forced watercolors seems not right for us. I thought about having them go to a nice jewelry store and pick something out for me, but I don’t want to spend money on jewelry. (And though I don’t want to be overbearing I also hope they do not pick a wife who wants expensive jewelry.)

I thought about other things they could do for me. But we have so much time together at home that they always have time to help me if I ask. They already do all the laundry and they help me run errands all the time. And if I want something done that seems a little far from the we-are-family theme, I pay them. Like, I paid my older son to do due diligence to find out if customers at Apps4rent were happy. (They are.)

Now it’s Saturday and I woke up thinking I have to come up with an idea. The happiness of my future daughter-in-law depends on it, and so does mine right now.

I thought about, how do I wish our days were different? And I thought about how much I enjoy watching Silicon Valley with the kids. At first they refused to watch, and then they loved it. But now that we’ve watched all the episodes, I can’t get them to agree to watch anything new.

So for Mother’s Day I’m asking them to do something they don’t want to try: two episodes of Big Bang Theory. I think they’ll like it. And I want to watch it with them. If you homeschool, and you let your kids pick what they learn, it’s a gift when the kids let you pick what they do just because it would be fun for you to do it with them.

17 replies
  1. mali
    mali says:

    so sweet…HMD 💐🍫💍
    I feel like if I want to watch something with you I love you.

  2. Lucy Chen
    Lucy Chen says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, Penelope!

    I really need to start getting my son to do something. The only thing he does is make me presents.

  3. Cate
    Cate says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, Penelope. My heart goes out to you today.

    You have people everywhere, who read your work and care for you, and wish you and your boys all the best. The world is crazy sometimes and we must all realize we are not alone in this world while of course being alone in it. Purpose, meaning, belonging, center us and offer a glimpse of goodness. I find meaning in caring for my two children and I think you have found a great deal of meaning there. It’s a good North Star. Hugs.

  4. Natasha Delgado
    Natasha Delgado says:

    Love this Article!!! Thank you for your mindfulness for the future Women in your son’s life’s! Also for teaching the value in time with our kids. Happy Mother’s Day!!! It’s truly the simple things that make it special! We must plan to insecure happiness for all mother and child! Thx!

  5. jessica
    jessica says:

    For some reason this reminded me of the early days with kids. My girlfriends and I would bring the babies over to watch Grey’s Anatomy and have wine sitting across sofas while they played. It was a weekly tradition and is, in hindsight, such a sweet memory.
    Mother’s Day is about moms being moms and taking a break, and feeling included, and feeling loved and appreciated.
    I feel most appreciated when my kids are happy, I’m happy, and we are all doing things we enjoy with people we love while being grateful.
    On that note, we are headed off to the bakery, then to golf. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

  6. Virginia
    Virginia says:

    So many of the engineers I work with love “The Big Bang Theory.” Just curious, I thought you didn’t watch TV. Have you started recently or am I remembering incorrectly?

  7. Jessica from Down Under
    Jessica from Down Under says:

    Wow Penelope! I am an INFJ and usually I like reading your stuff because you give me such a different perspective to think about. BUT I also teach my sons be nice to me partly so that they will be nice to my future daughter-in-laws, and I haven’t ever heard anyone else say that they do that until now :) Wishing you and your kids happiness this week xx

  8. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    Relationships are so important. No, you don’t want to be the overbearing mom because more than likely that will alienate any future mates of your kids. My husband loves my parents and they love him too. We trust them with our kids and have had them stay with my parents for several weeks at a time, as much as they could handle. HIS MOM is a different story. I love her, we get along really well, we are both extremely opinionated but she gives me my space. It works out great for both of us since she is an ENTJ and has to stay busy all the time! My issue with her is that she is totally untrustworthy with my kids! They stayed with her for two days like 3 years ago, so my youngest would have been 2 years old, and she buckled my kids up in her car and wrapped towels around them to fill the space so she could go to Target!!!! She didn’t even tell us because it wasn’t a big deal to her, my oldest told us later, and the word ‘pissed’ doesn’t even begin to describe the level of anger we felt. We’re all good now, but…Moms, gotta love ’em!

  9. jen
    jen says:

    I don’t think mother’s day is manufactured. I think it’s lovely. People call it commercial and then celebrate it commercially. I just wish your boys had a stable dad figure even though clearly you’re like a mom and dad

  10. jen
    jen says:

    Also I do not think how a guy treats his mom is how he’ll treat his gal. My whole life guys who were good to their moms were lousy to their gals, they put their moms first. You have to put some distance when your kids become young adults but you’re micromanaging them and it’s going to be very difficult for them I think to meet girls and when they do, hope it’s not a controlling one like you or you guys will butt heads big time. I think a parent’s marital relationship affects kids more than anything. I grew up in a pretty peaceful home and my spouse grew up in a war zone so he’s hard to make peace with. His folks divorced when he was older and it was very hard on him. He wanted his parents together even though I felt they needed to be apart. There was a total lack of affection and respect and it’s hard to get old alone. I wouldn’t worry about your boys mistreating women anyway they seem to be on the more reserved side. Is anyone even dating? Aren’t they super young?

  11. Magdalena Alvarez
    Magdalena Alvarez says:

    So, we all want to know: did they like it? I hope so. It will be nice to know that ours is not the only family that obnoxiously raps our knuckles on bathroom doors, calling, “Penny.” Knock knock knock. “Penny.” Knock knock knock. “Penny.” Though in YOUR home, it would have the added irony that your name could quite reasonably be shortened to Penny (has it ever been?)
    Also, once a kid is hooked on BBT, no game of Rock, Paper Scissors will ever be the same again.
    Come to think of it, you may regret ever having asked them to watch it.

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