Growing up, I used to use Mother’s Day as an excuse to make my dad buy something pretty for my mom, on behalf of me. One year, it was a porcelain carousel horse, another year it was body lotion scented with her favourite perfume. Swarovski figurines, a pendant, a decorative teapot. In more recent years, I would make my mother-in-law and my own mom matching pairs of earrings, because I had a jewellery business.
This is nothing unusual. Mother’s Day has long been a kind of second Christmas for moms everywhere. Visit any major retailer’s website and you’ll see a “Gift Ideas for Mom” category, where you can find everything from diamond earrings to chic-lit books to InstantPots™. What does mom deserve? How much should we spend on her? What is motherhood worth?
Motherhood, the act of mothering, is priceless, obviously. But that doesn’t stop most people from buying into the idea that it needs to be quantified on this one day of the year. And social media has done nothing but encourage it. I know countless mom friends who humblebrag what their families treated them to, on Mother’s Day. Hashtag Blessed.
What if we could change the conversation? Scratch that. What if we could start a conversation?
When I became a mom, five years ago, it felt like a monumental shift. I’m an only child, and having come from the world of opera, I was quite comfortable focusing on myself, on growing me. All of a sudden, it wasn’t about me at all. I was happy to focus close to 100% of my energy on this tiny human, but I really felt like I lost myself, for a good number of years. I mourned the identity of my childfree self, while still celebrating the entrance of my children into my world.
It wasn’t long before I truly began to understand what moms want, at this time of year. We want to embrace connections with the people in our lives who matter most. We want to walk away from all the day-to-day obligations we’re normally faced with, and find our way back to who we are, at our core. Mothers, yes, still mothers, always. But so much more.
I had the opportunity to do exactly that with my own mom, recently. The Keg Mansion, in Toronto, held a special event for a few select moms to enjoy an evening out. No expectations. No obligations. Just great food and great conversation.
And I mean really great food. Check out my salad!
My mom has an unusual challenge, when it comes to eating anywhere. She has multiple food allergies that can cause her tongue and eyes to swell for days. These allergies aren’t life threatening, but they make eating out difficult. There are plenty of places she just can’t eat at, due to lack of choice, and she generally has to bring food with her when she goes to someone’s house.
She’s used to it, to be sure, but what made her experience at The Keg so fantastic was the choice and the staff’s incredible attention to detail. Our waiter was able to advise us on safe menu options, but the house manager came to talk through my mom’s choices. In fact, he came rushing back to our table to advise her that the salad she had chosen–one that she generally has no trouble with–came with dressing that had one of her major allergens in it. The relief on my mom’s face was visible!
And so, we spent our evening chatting and laughing, my mom with her dirty martini and me with my Keg-sized glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. We ate until we were stuffed and talked until we ran out of things to say.
After years of buying my mom little gifts to celebrate what she meant to me, I finally found a way to truly celebrate with her. This evening out, during which she didn’t need to cook (and neither did I), and didn’t need to worry about cleaning the house for company, where she and I could just enjoy a drink and a spectacular steak, plus have some laughs and just generally spend quality time together–this was a gift that both she and I could appreciate.
My mom is my best friend, and I felt so lucky to be able to celebrate her with an evening out like this. I hope that one day, my daughter does the same for me. And you’d better believe I’m going to make sure she takes me to The Keg. Because look at this ridiculous dessert.
This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and The Keg Steakhouse + Bar #TheKeg sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.