Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day Sucks!

It's that dreaded time of year again.  Mother's Day.  Those two words strike fear in the hearts of men everywhere.  (Is it everywhere?  Is Mother's Day recognized in other countries?)  And so many men think they are the only ones who dread this day, but they are wrong.  So many women dread this day, too.

I know there are women and men and children out there who are looking forward to this day.  I'm happy for you.  I would wish you a happy Mother's Day, but you don't need that.  You will have a great day full of love.  Because somehow you've found the magic tunnel that leads to a world of joy and celebration and giving and love.

The rest of us live in a fallen world full of heartache and unmet expectations.  I rejoice in the fact that some of my friends will have a wonderful day this Sunday.  I ask that you try to understand why so many others don't.  Please don't judge.  Please don't tell us to make it a great day.  Please don't throw sunshine and Disney songs at us and tell us to cheer up.  For so many women (and many men) today is a day of pain and mourning.  That should be respected.  It should be honored.

I expect Sunday to be a good day for me.  A couple of years ago I was able to redefine Mother's Day for me in a way that's really helped break through that dark cloud.  Even still, there are treacherous areas for me on that day.  I have to be careful.  And my associations with Mother's Day aren't nearly as tough as so many of my friends.  They are the ones I'm thinking about at this time.  They are the ones I am worried about.  They are the ones my heart is aching for.

There is my friend whose mom knowingly allowed her to be sexually abused for years.  Who barely noticed her daughter.  This friend is a wonderful mother and I hope the day is about her.  I hope she is able to celebrate her own motherhood.  But I can't imagine there isn't a twinge of pain for that mother she doesn't have.  Whether we like it or not, whether we fight it our whole lives or not, there is something in us that longs for loving parents.  It's part of our make up.  I know she is strong and loving and does her best not to let that part of her past control her, but I know there's still pain there.

There is my friend who has never been able to have a child.  She and her husband are good people.  They would make wonderful parents.  But for whatever reason, that blessing has been withheld from them.  I have watched them reach out and touch the lives of others' children, but I know their hearts have ached for that child of their own.

There is my friend who has experienced multiple miscarriages.  She has children.  But her heart longs for more.  Her heart aches for more.  But her body seems unwilling to cooperate.  I know her heart aches.  I know she feels an absence.

  • There is my friend who lost a grandchild she never got to know.
  • There is my friend who has been disowned by her mother.
  • There is my friend who has been disowned by her children.
  • There is my friend whose mother was taken from her while she was still in grade school.
  • There is my friend who has been told over and over by her husband what an awful mother she is.
  • There is my friend who's children won't allow her to see her grandchildren or be a part of their lives.
  • There is my friend who lost a child to cancer.
  • There is my friend whose mother killed her father and then herself.
  • There is my friend whose mother beat him.
  • There is my friend who's husband and children will forget Mother's Day because they don't think it matters and she will feel as if they are saying she doesn't matter.
  • There is my elderly friend who has outlived all her children.
  • There is my friend who grew up knowing her mom never wanted to have children -- never wanted her.
  • There is my friend whose mother abandoned him and his siblings.
  • There are my friends who are single mothers, doing the work of both parents, who would love to have a loving husband tell them how grateful they are for these wonderful women who are raising their children.
  • There is my friend who feels so inadequate as a mother and sees Mother's Day as a reminder of all her failings.
  • There is my friend who is caring for her mother with dementia and mourns the mother she doesn't have anymore.
  • There is my friend who is watching her drug-addicted mother ruin her life and can't do anything about it.
  • There is my husband who will be reminded that his mom is gone.
  • There are all the women who will feel guilty for having a good Mother's Day when they know their friends are hurting.
There are so many people around us who will be hurting this Sunday.  And whoever thinks one day a year is enough to recognize and value all the work mothers do is crazy.  One day a year doesn't begin to cover the sacrifice and heartache it means to be a mother.  One day a year has turned it into a marketing ploy.  A way to make money off the guilt of people who should be more appreciative more often.
But for those of us who hurt so deeply on Mother's Day, one day a year is more than enough.


Christa aka The BabbyMama said...

This is so good to remember. Last year, I said no Mother's Day... no thank you. I was remembering my miscarriage and right in the middle of a possible fetal Down syndrome diagnosis. I know many people whose experiences with mothers has not been fabulous. Some of them are mothers. So hard to have such a day.

Rubye Jack said...

So much of how we think we should feel about holidays and family is plain old brainwashing from marketing people. We revere family and yet it is often such a totally dysfunctional unit. It took me a long time to understand that most families are pretty messed up. So, thanks Robin for this post.

Heather Jo said...

I have been avoiding the whole mother's day thing. I have been working my butt off working on my flower bed (the only gift I wanted this year). I have been offering my service to my friends who need help with children, projects, etc., all so I could avoid the MD topic. The truth is though, that this year, will be good. So much better than last year, when frankly, I wanted to run in front of a bus the entire month of May. I feel joy in my heart for the many mothers all around me that I see working their wonders every day, whether they know it or not. I feel joy for all the mothers of all the new babies being born in our neighborhood. I feel joy knowing that God knew what he was doing when he gave me the 2 children I was able to have. I feel joy knowing
that even on the bad days, there is some glimpse of happiness in my
home. I feel joy this year, knowing that I have no contact with my mother because I love my children so much I knew I needed to protect them from her. I feel joy knowing that my mother was and is a messed up person who wasn't able to break free from the chains that have bound her. Crazy right? I feel joy knowing my mother is in bondage. I feel joy in her pain, because I know she wasn't the way she was out of a disire to be cruel. Her life made her the way she was and she made all the wrong decisions in response and sank into despair, dragging her children down with her. There's joy in that because I know that a Heavenly Father above knows who she could have been, and may yet be. He knows who I am. This year feels like it's barely begun, but I have found forgiveness for my mother. In so doing, I have found the greatest relief and joy. I am released from needing to be the one who judges her and I am released from the burden of the anger I have carried around for so long. So this mother's day won't be terribly extraordinary. My husband will attempt dinner. It will be interesting. My children will fight. I will go to church and listen to stories of
wonderful mothers in sacrament meeting. I will hug my little Sunbeams and help them make a craft for their mothers and I will feel joy and peace in my heart and soul.

Bonnie said...

Healing comes slowly, but I think the slow healings are most permanent. It is a good day for me because it's all about generalities. Motherhood is the purview of all women. Motherhood is the power of womanhood, and it is not and cannot be dependent on birth. We are connected in a great web of life, and because many give birth, we can all give life. That is my healing. It's about a Heavenly Mother.

The Dose of Reality said...

I love this post. It's so, so true. Some of us have a lot of issues surrounding this holiday. It can be painful.I'm so glad you wrote about this. So glad. --Lisa

Dawnelle said...

I attempted to write a blog about forgiveness of parents who have been abusive in one way or another. It never really felt right. But I have thought about it. Parents and pain. Should we have to forgive them? Should people guilt us into forgiving? I think that parents should be forgiven, but in the right time. I don't think it's wrong for the child to still be angry (to put it mildly) at parents. I think the wrong is not being open to forgiveness. I was angry with my mother-in-law for many years and through a simple kind act by her, (to my surprise) my heart mended and I was able to forgive.

I suppose my point is this: be open to healing. There is a lot of pain in the world associated to the various situations surrounding mothers. However, through small and simple things great things may be brought to pass. Be open to the healing, and it will find you!!

Savvy WorkingGal said...

I am the oldest of six and took on the role of motherhood the day my mom had me kneel and join her in prayer - that she wasn't pregnant with my younger brother. I've spent a lot of time hating her for taking away my childhood. She just wasn't up to mothering six children and my dad was abusive and didn't want us.

On Easter I took her to visit my Grandma in the nursing home - just me and her. I am starting to forgive. It feels so much better than carrying around all that anger.

Tomorrow I am participating in our annual mothers day brunch. Usually I dread this day, but this year I am looking forward to it.

This is a great post by the way.

Christine said...

I'm really glad that you wrote this post and shared it. It's not always sunshine and roses and it's just so much "easier" to make it out that way rather than to know or acknowledge the pain that there is and that others may be experiencing.

April said...

Thank you for the honest post. Mother's day makes me sad and hurt in so many ways. My "birth" mother let me be abused and did not protect me and now I am unable to have kids of my own and that is all I ever wanted to be.

anotherjennifer said...

There are so many people who are hurting on Mother's Day. I think this is the first post I've read that truly addressed this fact. Thank you, Robin.

Eva Gallant said...

Thanks for reminding us that Mothers Day is not joyful for everyone. Bless those and my God give them the strength to live on and find some joy in their lives. I just stopped by from SITS to say's been a while since I visited. Hope you return the visit.

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Somewhere on your long list is where I fall when it comes to Mother's Day. It was a rough day yesterday. But, I survived and made it through. On my own strength. I wrote a tribute to Mother's Day on my blog.

Followed you from SITS. Have a blessed day!

Anonymous said...

what a great post, thank you for helping us to remember this. As I sat in church yesterday and I listend to the priest talk about the great mothers in the bible, I shed a tear. As he spoke about mother's that sacrifice more than humanly possible for their kids, I shed a tear, as he spoke about moms that will never be, I shed a tear.

I know I am blessed beyond all reason to FINALLY be a mom, I know my miracle of motherhood is something I will never take for granted.

Michelle Nahom said...

Mother's Day can be a painful holiday for all the reasons you listed and I am sure there are more! It's good that you wrote this and talked about why Mother's Day is not joyous for everyone. Thank you!