Avoiding Restaurants on Mother's Day

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mother's day cards

I am what some people might call a realistic mother. As I sometimes tell people, I love my kids with all my heart, but I do so with my eyes wide open. This means I try to see them in all their glory -- sweet, giving, snarky, crabby, funny and everything in between.

So, as Mother's Day approaches, I am sensible enough to see the occasion for what it is: a made-up holiday to sell greeting cards and flowers, but also an opportunity for me to spend some quiet time with my kids and to collect some lovingly-made pieces of artwork with "Mommy" scrawled on them (all of which are saved in a drawer for my dotage: a time when I'll most likely forget about that incident where someone drew in Sharpie on the wood floor and remember only how cute they were). I'd also like a little time alone to read the newspaper or my book on Mother's Day, because after spending every other day doing homework with my kids, cooking, folding laundry and working, I just want a little peace and quiet by myself.

As you may have guessed by now, the last thing I want to do on a Mother's Day is get all dressed up and go out for some big brunch with my family. As with Valentine's Day, restaurants are the eye of the made-up holiday storm and I've spent my share of them dragging my own mother and mother-in-law out for brunches in years past. I have serious empathy for any server waiting tables on Mother's Day, with the big queue out the door, kids banging cutlery on the table, and everyone wanting to make their meal super special for the big occasion. Mother's Day brunch can also be as pricey as a nice dinner out. Plus the food is almost always mediocre as even a decent restaurant is usually stretched to its limits by the number of guests.

But Mother's Day does not have to be stressful and expensive. Instead of going out with the masses, why not make it a day where you or your spouse spends some time with your kids in the kitchen? Sure, you may end up with burnt toast and soggy waffles, but the payoff of eating in peace instead of in a crowded room with other peoples kids screaming while a parent tries to console them by singing "You are my sunshine" off key has a certain appeal to it, right?


I'm lucky in that my husband usually prepares a nice breakfast with our daughters while I lounge in bed reading the Sunday paper. If the planets are in alignment, someone will also have gone to a bakery that morning to pick up some lovely croissants or buns. Is the breakfast perfect? No. Are my kids beaming with pride after making mommy scrambled eggs or pancakes? Yes. Plus, I get to stay in my pajamas and we don't have to park.

If you are making breakfast or brunch for your own mother, I'm sure she'd appreciate a home-cooked meal as well. Decorate your dining area with a tablecloth and some flowers, or take the meal outside with a blanket and have a picnic. Even if a few ants join your party, it will be more pleasant than waiting 45 minutes on a busy sidewalk amongst the strollers.

Following are some recipes for an at-home or picnic Mother's Day breakfast or brunch. Made with the help of inexperienced little hands or proficient big ones, your meal will be lovely in the eyes of any mother.

Bay Area Bites Brunch Suggestions
Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Stuffed Challah French Toast with Raspberries
Steel-Cut Oats
Homemade English Muffins

Recipes From Other Sites
David Lebovitz's Herbed Ricotta Tart
Homemade hash browns from the New York Times
A perfect omelet from Chez Pim