Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. I don’t know how I feel about it this year. In years past, my feelings have been all over the map.

In my early twenties, I felt guilty and ashamed on Mother’s Day. I had been pregnant and had an abortion (never mind that the pregnancy was the result of forced sex by the college boyfriend) and I felt all the pain and guilt of that choice on Mother’s Day. I don’t have the words, even now, to explain it. I’ve made this point to avoid thinking about it or talking about it.

Then, when I wanted so badly to have a baby with hubby, and month after month of failed pregnancy attempts and fertility treatments continued with no results, I felt envious and ashamed of that envy. I hated all those women who had children to celebrate Mother’s Day with. I wanted a baby. The day brought much grief and sadness to me.

When I was 26 and finally pregnant, Mother’s Day was the best day ever. I loved being pregnant, loved my baby bump, and felt amazing. I was finally a mom.

And the first Mother’s Day I celebrated with my daughter, the next year, felt like a miracle.

In all these years, all these ups and downs, I have always celebrated my mom. I’ve always felt it was a day she deserved to feel loved, and reminded of how special and important she is to me. It’s a day I celebrated the friendship I have with her. It’s the day I celebrated the fact she is my mom, and how blessed and lucky I am.

This year…I feel so terribly conflicted. I refer to my mom as my best friend. I have called her that for a long time. In many ways, she has been my biggest supporter, my biggest cheerleader. She has always believed in me. And yet. I feel like I can’t talk to her. I feel like I have to hide who I am, and pretend to be the daughter she wants. She rewrote history a long time ago….if I’m honest she rewrote it as it was happening, and I went along. Her version of our lives is so much nicer, so much prettier, so perfect. But it’s not true. It’s all a lie. We love each other, that part is true. But the rest? It’s not the life I remember. It’s crazy making, to pretend to be someone I’m not. To go along with this perfect version of history. It’s so much more tiring than I remember.

I love my mom. But I’m hurt and angry and confused. She is my best friend, but I can’t talk to her, I can’t share my truth with her. She loves someone who doesn’t exist. I’m still terrified if she knew me, she would reject me, hate me, be angry with me. I’m angry with her, but I love her and need her. A year ago, I would have said that a person can’t be angry and love the person they are mad at. Bea taught me that I can, and it’s okay. Anger isn’t the end of a relationship. It’s not the be all end all. It’s something to work through and to acknowledge, so the relationship can be repaired. I won’t get a chance to work through the anger with my mom. It is what is. Maybe I need to make peace with the fact that she only loves and knows the miss perfect part of me.

As for being a mom, this year I don’t feel like I deserve to be celebrated. I’ve made terrible mistakes. I’ve screwed up. I yell. I ignore my child. I can be mean. I think awful things in my head. I don’t stick to rules I make. I break boundaries. I let her watch too much TV. I dissociate often. I have flashbacks and am triggered by my own child. What kind of mother is triggered by her daughter? No, I don’t deserve to be celebrated.

Tomorrow, I’ll make a Mother’s Day brunch. I’ll celebrate the fact that my mom loves a part of me, that we are friends, and that I love her, despite my anger and hurt. I’ll celebrate the fact that I was blessed with a precious gift; the chance to be a mom. I’ll celebrate the ray of sunshine that my daughter is in my life. I’ll celebrate the fact that all her differences have forced my family to grow in ways I never thought possible. And, I’ll celebrate the fact that my mom and my daughter are both with me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. Xx❤️

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16 thoughts on “Mother’s Day

  1. Every momma makes mistakes and it’s great that you see the mistakes you are making. Let those turn into goals. Set a goal to spend at least one full uninterrupted hour with your child. Make it a goal to not yell for a day. Make it a goal to have one day a week with no TV. You see your mistakes and I know you can do something about them! You are NOT a terrible mother. I honestly was JUST in the same boat. Spending way too much time working on stuff and not paying attention to my daughter. I made those goals and now I feel so much better and we have a better and happier relationship. No mom is perfect and you DO deserve to be celebrated. You can’t change your past, but you can change your future. Your child will grow all too fast and that’s one of the only things life can promise you. Dishes and laundry can wait, work can wait, everything can wait but your child can not. Don’t give up on yourself ❤

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  2. Anxious Mom says:

    Sometimes I wonder if the sign of being a good mom is beating yourself up over everything. It might not sound healthy, but at least we are aware of our shortcomings and push ourselves to be better. That’s something, definitely more than my own mom did. No matter what you think you do wrong, you *try* which is more than many can say, and I can tell from your posts that you love your daughter immensely and that she loves you. I hope your day goes well ((hugs))

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      • Anxious Mom says:

        Amazing how they do that to us.

        My husband told me last week that maybe I’m setting the bar impossibly high and need to readjust it. Yeah….

        ❤️

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  3. Alice, I so hear you on the whole mom thing. So much of what you wrote could be a description of my relationship with my mother. I didn’t have to quite be perfect, but I certainly could not be who I really am. When I have tried to really talk, she always changes the subject or deflects things with humor. It’s the most confusing experience to try to have a conversation with her about something that could be painful. She does not do painful. I’m breaking the rules by trying to do painful.

    So I stopped talking to her. I simply got the point where I could not pretend that everything was ok anymore, when I was doing intense trauma therapy twice a week and struggling with memories that seemed to indicate that my dad sexually abused me.

    Today, I was almost paralyzed with grief. At first I thought that it was related to the work that I have been doing around my dad, but then I realized that it was because tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I actually made a present for her, but I couldn’t bring myself to mail it because of the work that I have been doing. I love her so much, but she completely failed to protect me. I fail to understand how she could not have known that something was going on between my dad and me. MB says that it’s likely that she couldn’t bear to see it because of her own trauma/ attachment disordered background. (I don’t know about sexual about, although I suspect it; I do know about physical and emotional abuse, though.) I am blindingly angry at her, heart rendingly grief stricken, and I love her so much.

    I don’t really trust her to come through for me, but I think that I’m going to have to ask her to come out here and come to a series of appointments with me to try to create a dialogue, if I want to have any relationship with her. I don’t know if I am brave enough to do this, though. It’s a very scary thought.

    As for Kat, I’ll share with you what MB says to me when I bemoan being such a terrible mother. First, children do not need perfect mothers, they need “good enough” mothers. They actually do better with mothers who are fallible than with mothers who worry about getting everything “perfect.” Second, you are breaking a cycle of abuse. You believe that your mother was abused, yes? You were abused. Kat was molested by another little girl, but you caught it and intervened so quickly. That is a complete break in the pattern right there. You can’t guarantee that nothing bad happens to Kat unless you attach yourself to her 24 hours a day and that itself would be bad for her. What you can do is make sure that you are tuned in enough to catch the problems early and get her the help that she needs. Your life would be so different if that had been done for you. Third, Kat is going to be impacted by you having been abused and the effects that it is having on you. Hopefully this crisis period will pass relatively quickly and you can start to get some normalcy back into your life. That will be good for You, Kat, and hubby. Note that I put you first. You have to come first. Kat always was aware when you were fake ok anyways, wasn’t she? What you are doing for yourself will allow you to create an authentic atmosphere for your daughter to grow up in. She won’t have to be “perfect”; she will only need to be who she is. That is a huge gift to become aware of and change entrenched, longstanding dynamics. You my dear are struggling, overwhelmed, and in pain right now. Your mothering form isn’t at it’s best at the moment, but you are so far from a bad mother, you are a hero!

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    • I hate that you know the whole mom thing. Of course, like always, i am grateful someone understands and is willing to share that with me. But its not fair, and i hate it.

      I am so sorry for all the grief you are feeling today. I get it. Our situations might be different, but i understant the feelings– the how could she not keep me safe? I understand the anger, and yet wanting and loving your mom at the same time. It is confusing and devastating.

      Ironicly, or maybe not so much so, Bea tells me the same thing about how it is better for Kat to have a “good enough mother” than a perfect mother. She also tells me that while Kat may be impacted by my bad times, dissociation and struggles to heal, Kat is in therapy and can process that now, and the most important thing is that i connect with her everyday and i am honest with her. I told her that mommy is having a hard time right now and feeling sad but she has done nothing to cause this and that i love her very much. We color or play her board games, read books, watch movies. Those are the things i can handle. Pretend play, the playing with her characters, i just can not do it right now. It is too triggering for me. Bea says in the end, my healing will be a gift for not just me, but Kat and hubby, too.

      Its hard to remember that, or even feel it when it feels so hard and awful right now. How do you do it? Be a mom and in therapy? Its so damn hard.

      Thank you for reminding me i did break the cycle. Kat isn’t being hurt, and she is safe. My life would have been so different if my mom had stopped it when i was 5, if she had done the therapy thing for herself. You have also reminded me of the other cycle i wanted to break, one of the reasons i started therapy in thr first place– disordered eating. I want to break that cycle. I don’t want Kat growing up with eating disorderd thoughts, or beleifs. I want her to enjoy food, and use it to nourish her body, not use it as punishment.

      I really hope that today is a good day for you, that you can allow your daughter to celebrate the wonderful mother you are. Happy Mother’s Day. Xx💜

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      • PS– thank you for being honest– “your mothering form isnt its best but you are far from a bad mother”. That feels so much better than anything. Just to have those feelings acknowledged. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love one of your last comments about “I will celebrate that my mom loves a part of me.” I can relate, I have a hard time with Mother’s Day and my relationship with my mom. I will carry your sentiment with me tomorrow when I am having a hard time, that my mom must love a part of me, the part she knows. Which isn’t a lot of me, but its something. I hope you have a nice time with your daughter and mom tomorrow 🙂

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    • Thank you rachel. I really hope you can celebrate and remember that your mom loves the part of you she knows. Its hard when you cant share all of yourself with your mom, but remember that is her stuff, its on her and is her short coming, it isnt on you.

      Thank you for the good wishes for tomorrow, and i hope the same for you. I’m glad i posted this. I feel so “not alone” in my conflciting feelings about mother’s Day and it is immensely helpful. Thank you. Xx

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  5. Sorry this is a hard day. It’s so challenging when our parents refuse to acknowledging, let alone validate our experiences. And although I don’t really know you, I know bad mothers. You don’t seem like one. Xo

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  6. Refreshingly honest post.

    Bad moms don’t think about ways they fail. They don’t think about how their behavior affects their kids. By this rationale, one can only conclude that you’re a much better mom than you think you are.

    I have three daughters and they have all triggered a moment of pain for me as they hit certain ages. I look at them and I realize how small, how innocent, how naive…I wonder wtf my parents were thinking…I remember everything, my mother forgets everything. We love one another still.

    Also, abortion or not, all good moms think about their lost children on Mother’s Day. ❤

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    • Thank you for this incrediably validating comment. I hope you are right that I am better than I think. And while I am sorry you know the feelings of being triggered by your children, it really does make me feel like less of a freak. So thank you. Xx

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