Fights over who gets to make Mom breakfast in bed is just one of many ways Mother’s Day can be destroyed. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Fights over who gets to make Mom breakfast in bed is just one of many ways Mother’s Day can be destroyed. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Pandemic reminds us of all of that Mother’s Day gone awry

This mom will never forget when her kids, 9 and 4, fought over who would make her breakfast in bed.

Celebrating Mother’s Day in the middle of a pandemic isn’t the day of leisure moms like me anticipated.

But let’s be honest — Mother’s Day is never the day of leisure we deserve. At least for me, today can’t be worse than Mother’s Day 2014. My kids were 9 and 4 at the time, and my husband was on a work trip in China.

Unfortunately for me, I was laid up with a broken wrist. I couldn’t tie my shoes. I couldn’t button my shirt. I could barely drive my car. When I typed my column, it took forever because I could only use one hand. Plus, I had weird nerve pain that was the beginning of complex regional pain syndrome, an unfortunate side effect of my surgery.

I didn’t have high hopes for Mother’s Day to begin with, but Saturday night I heard my fourth-grader putter around in the kitchen. He took out a serving tray, got the Keurig set up, and put out some dishes.

“How do you use the electric omelette maker?” he asked me. “You like milk in your coffee, right?” I was impressed. My son was planning to make a special day for me, which was nice, because he’d been ornery all weekend. I fell asleep looking forward to being “surprised.”

I woke up the next morning to see my daughter’s pretty brown eyes. She was only 4 years old but quite capable thanks to two years of learning at Edmonds Montessori.

“Happy Mother’s Day,” she said, a huge smile on her face. “I brought you breakfast in bed.” It was a piece of bread with jam on it, and a glass of water. Plus she gave me a present she’d made at school, a beautiful handpainted scroll.

I ate breakfast, put my robe on the best I could, and came downstairs to make myself some coffee — which was where I discovered the Keurig primed and ready to brew. That’s when I became confused.

What had happened to my son’s plans for preparing me breakfast? Had my kids worked out a deal or something?

Nope. I shuffled out of the kitchen in my slippers, but it was too late. My son stood on the stairs glaring me. “What are you doing out of bed?” he demanded. “I was going to bring you breakfast.”

“I already brought Mom breakfast,” said my daughter, with a superior look on her face. “And gave her a present.”

“What?” my son screeched. “How could you? I was going to make Mom breakfast.”

All hell broke lose. Insults were hurled. Names were called. I was accused of ruining everything. They couldn’t speak to each other for the rest of the day without squabbling.

Time moves on and children grow up. Now my kids are 15 and 10. When they asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I told them: “I want one day where I don’t have to do the dishes. Can you take care of that?”

“Sure,” they answered, smiling sweetly.

But as soon as I turned around, they begin to argue over who would unload the dishwasher.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal. Email her at

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