Mothers Day For The Motherless

mothers day for the motherless

In North America, Mother’s Day is Sunday. We’re inundated by how wonderful, how noble, how fantastically loving and sweet Mothers are.

But…what if yours wasn’t?

What if your mother was a cautionary tale?

What if thinking of your mother brings back memories of neglect, abuse, terror?

Hallmark sure as hell doesn’t make a card for that.

It’s so hard to read about all these wonderful mothers, who adore their kids, their grandkids, and not resent it being shoved in your face. Be it on Facebook, TV, radio or newspapers. It makes you want to go into hiding until it’s all over and done with.

It’s even harder when you’re a mother yourself. You parent your children, and a small secret part of you wonders why your mother didn’t love you the way you love your children. You’re haunted by things done in the past, and find yourself comparing your child’s childhood to your own, and wonder why your mother didn’t treat you better. How she could be abusive, or allow others to be to you.

When the one person that should have loved you unconditionally, taught you self worth, self confidence, self esteem, sought instead to cause you pain, torment, anguish, it’s a hard thing to let go of.

When thoughts of your mother’s voice, instead of being loving encouragement, bring feelings of guilt, pain, and sorrow.

When you hear people say, “You only get one mother!” your knee jerk reaction is to think, “Thank GOD!” because there’s no way you could’ve survived two of them.

When you lost, or never had your mother, not due to death, but to addictions, mental illness, personality disorders, it makes it impossible to join in on the lauding of motherhood as the epitome of loving perfection.

Even if it was a matter of her being caught in her own demons from her past, struggling with a history of abuse she endured, that left her unable, incapable, of being the mother you needed and deserved. Not that she was a bad, or evil person, but that her best wasn’t good enough.

Others, who had a very different experience, don’t understand. Well meaning though they are, the encouragement to call, send a card, to forgive because we all make mistakes, are rubbing salt in the wound.

For the motherless among us, being estranged, be it by our own choice, or having it thrust upon us, is a difficult, painful experience. If it was our choice, it was a choice made out of desperation, of needing to protect ourselves, our children, from the toxic person who raised us. If it was a choice thrust upon us, we struggle mightily with the feelings of abandonment, and wonder why we weren’t good enough to be loved the way every child deserves.

To the motherless, I say: this is not, and never has been your fault. The failing was hers, not yours. You are worthy of being loved, you are special, wonderful, and worthy of respect and kindness.

Sometimes, the best we can do is use our experiences as a cautionary tale. To not parent as we were, to be a better mother than we had, to ensure that our children never feel the bitterness of Mother’s Day when they have a mother unworthy of celebration.

To ensure that our children never know what it’s like to feel unwanted, unloved, rejected, abused, abandoned.

To be the mother we wish we’d had. That we deserved to have.

And to you, who struggle to find your way in motherhood without a path of example to follow, to you who lie awake at night, terrified that, despite your best efforts, you’re following the path your own mother set for you, I say, it’s going to be ok. You can change your path. You can make your own way.

You are a strong, brave person. You have made it through what was, and are living what is.

You can do this.

Celebrate the mother you are, not the mother you wish you had. Celebrate you. Celebrate the mother of your children, for the mother she is.

For those who aren’t parents, I offer you the same. Celebrate whatever woman in your life that inspires you to be a better person. Be it another family member, a best friend, a best friend’s mother. They may not have been the woman that raised you, but I think Mother’s day should broaden to include those who love and support others.

Celebrate you. You are your own champion, your own protector, all those things that a mother was meant to be, but wasn’t for you. You learned to do it for yourself.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all, who don’t have a mother to celebrate, for being the person you are.

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Mothers Day For The Motherless — 7 Comments

  1. Wow! You hit my story right on the head. Thanks for your comforting words; and I do believe I will celebrate my OWN mom-ness this Sunday!

  2. I just came across your name, and saw your link to this blog. As I read this blog, I felt like finally, someone knows how I feel after 30 years.

    My mother had an affair, left my dad, and a bunch of other horrible things when I was about a year old. Their divorce was finalized when I was about two. I had to visit her every other weekend for most of my “underage” years, plus every other holiday and entire summers.

    Growing up, she was an awful mother. That’s putting it mildly and without too much out on the web. I’d say more in private if you want to know. People have always tried to tell me, “Oh, you need to talk to you mom. She’s your mother. You only get one mom. I know she feels bad for the things she did.” (Like they know a quarter of what she did.) I always to say, “So would you talk to your mother if she did, x, y, z, a, b, c, d, e, f….etc? Probably not.”

    I’ve been married 5 years now, and just being married, I’ve learned more about the dynamics of what she did to my dad, who raised me by himself. All I can think sometimes is, “My poor dad.” He’s such a good man, father, and now grandfather. Becoming a mother for the first time earlier this year, I’ve understood more about what she did to me. How could anyone do those things to their child? How could you leave your children? People tell me I wouldn’t understand, or, it must have been difficult for your mom, etc. It makes me so upset people try to make excuses for my mother’s behavior and choices, like they understand. They don’t understand, and it’s sickening people try to make excuses for abuse, neglect, or abandonment from parents. When I look at my daughter, there is no way I could do the things my mother did to my daughter. I would never want to damage her the way my mother did me. I pray every day I become a better mother than my own. My daughter deserves that.

    Thank you for this post. People don’t know what Mother’s Day is like for the motherless. This year was different having my daughter here. It made the day a bit more redeeming, but still, there is a part of me which wishes I had a mother to take out to lunch and spend the holiday with. I also think about how much she has missed out on my life, and now my daughter’s life. It’s her loss, I know, but it still doesn’t diminish the situation.

    • I’m so sorry you didn’t get the mother you deserved.

      I did edit your comment, just so the referring site doesn’t get a flood of folks 😉

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