Today in Great Britain we celebrated Mothers Day. Women of all races and ages were showered with gifts and cards. Many chose to spend the day with their children, while others took it as their one day in the year to truly relax. Facebook, of course, was swamped with gushing messages to mums. Overflowing with love, support and sorrow for those mums who are no longer with us. 

My profile wasn’t. On my profile I wished my lovely Mother in Law and my husbands Gran happy Mothers Day. I looked forward to our lunch together, where my husband would eat possibly more than his body weight in roast dinner. Later I will post pictures of me and my kids enjoying our day. All smiles. 


I had a lovely day with my family. But as always, Mothers Day was tinged with sadness for me. This year perhaps more than others. 

My mother and I have always had somewhat of a rocky relationship. For years I believed it was my fault. I was lazy. Unreasonable. A trouble causer. When I chose to move away to University I ‘broke her heart’, and apparently I’ve done this time and time again since. My life with her was full of extremes. Either her best friend or enemy number one, with nothing in between. 

There have been many points where the relationship has fallen apart altogether. Whole swathes of my adult life she hasn’t been a part of. Months and years of my children’s lives. My life. Even to the point she chose not to attend my wedding. My wedding of only close family and friends. A guest list of fourteen reduced by one. The elephant in the room that nobody mentioned. The saddest part? The saddest part was that rather than broken hearted, I felt relieved. Relieved that there would be no drama. No spite. No nastieness. Nothing to spoil my special day. 

Most of our fallouts follow the same pattern. I am the black sheep. I have ‘wronged’ her in some way. I must apologise and beg forgiveness. When I don’t, I’m cast out. Except these wrongdoings don’t seem so terrible to me. To me it’s not wrong to ask someone to stop putting you down. It’s not wrong to stick up for your niece when she’s being called stupid. It’s not wrong to stick up for your values. 

Even during the times I’ve been on ‘good’ terms with my Mother, this day has been hard. Cards which gush about unconditional love and unwavering support. Where are the ones that say, ‘thanks for being the only mum I have’? Or, ‘it’s nice that we can get along’? I guess there’s not much of a market for them. It’s not quite Hallmark is it? Then there’s the expected public message. What do I write? What could I put other than ‘Happy Mothers Day’? Nothing. Nothing true at least. 

Each time I’ve finally pulled away from my Mother I’ve ended up slowly spiralling back. A voice in my head always niggles at me. ‘She’s your mum, you should be grateful. Any mother is better than no mother. You’re evil for hurting your mum this way.’  Throughout my life I’ve given chance after chance. Not just to her, but to so many people who weren’t any good for me. People who would tear me down and call it love. I wonder why that is? 

During our latest stint of reconciliation I convinced myself things were different. She was trying and things were improving. I convinced myself that in time things would become almost like a normal Mother Daughter relationship. That the barriers put up were just whilst things settled. 

Over a year later and the barriers were still there. Plans would be made with me and dropped if either of my siblings yelled jump. Hours would be spent pulling down other people, including my Dad who has loved and supported me entirely, and faces would be pulled when I didn’t join in. Old difficulties with my siblings were brought up, pointing out how I was still in the wrong. But the conversations always became too upsetting when I attempted to stick up for myself. I’d hear nothing for days, until such a time she was bored and alone. 

The final catalyst came on a visit to my dads house. My husband was helping him with some work and I was attempting to entertain the kids in the garden. My heart meds haven’t been the best recently and it was hard. So, for the umpteenth time I asked my mum if I could pop over with the kids. NO. My brother was home and he doesn’t like me. So myself and my children (all except one who he adores) aren’t welcome. She had made plans to join us at my dads, but had apparently had changed her mind. When I asked would she still be coming I was met with agitation, but begrudgingly she showed. 

Without even asking how the kids were she immediately launched into her usual rhetorick. I’m unreasonable. My brother is right. Holding onto grudges for over three years and refusing to be civil is perfectly normal and ok. Futile in my attempts to stick up for myself I ushered my toddler inside and away. Soon after she left. 

It was that night that my backbone decided to make an appearance. A long text conversation ensued. (I learned long ago texting was best. That way I cannot have my words changed. I have the proof I need right there on my phone.) The crux of it was, I felt myself and my children deserved to be treated equally to my siblings and their families. She disagreed. In wanting this I was a trouble causer. Upsetting the apple cart. Things were just fine and I should accept what I was given, the way I had for so many years. 

A few days later she text to wish me luck for an appointment. Acting as though nothing had happened. A tactic she had deployed for years. But this time I stood my ground. Treat me equally or leave me alone. (I don’t think it’s much to ask.) Her response? ‘Well Bye then!’

That was yesterday. Today was Mothers Day. I’m determined this time to be true to my word. Because I deserve a Mother who treats me equally to my siblings. My children deserve a Grandma with whom they can celebrate Christmas and Birthdays. Who’s house is a haven for them. 

So, if you’re reading this Mother, here’s my message to you today. Thank you. Thank you for teaching me I can thrive in any environment. I can learn to love myself even when those around me show me no real love. Thank you for helping me become the Mummy I am, by teaching me all about the relationship I don’t want to have with my children. I do hope you have a lovely day, because I don’t hate you. I’m just ready to believe that I’m better off with no mother in my life than one who doesn’t love me completely. The way I love my children. 

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4 thoughts on “Mothers Day. 

  1. Your experience with your family and mum sounds almost identical to mine. Either her best friend, or her enemy, nothing in between… except now, now we are in some kind of limbo where I feel incredibly drained because I want to be there for her, but our relationship is hanging by a single thread. To firm it up, I would need to go back to my old habits, harmful ones to me and my household, and beg for forgiveness for the millionth time over old “wrongs” I have “done to her”. And that can no longer keep happening, because for it to happen would mean I will not survive again.

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    1. Kat, that’s exactly where I’ve been for the last year! I completely understand where you’re coming from. I had to see for myself that things were in no way healthy. I gave her two options. In return she basically told me to like it or lump it. Finally, definitely, it’s the end for our relationship. I hope you find some way to either improve things or break away.

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  2. I applaud your bravery in standing up to your mother. I wish I had had the courage to do so years ago.If I had I could have saved myself so much spin off pain. I was an only child because “you can only achieve perfection once” but I suspect that Mum found sex highly distasteful from comments she dropped. My Dad adored her though and was thoroughly under her finger. When I was in my teens I met my first boyfriend, who lived in Scotland, and was in the merchant navy. Even though she professed to like him there was always an underlying “but isn’t it a pity” “he’s so short” or “lives so far away”. When I was 20 he asked me to marry him when we were away on holiday together. I came home ready to break the news only to be told that my parents had decided to move to New Zealand, had booked their tickets and cancelled the lease on the property. I could come with them or they’d leave me enough money for a year. Nothing of their plans had ever been discussed with me the week before I went away and I suspect my mother, realising the way things were between myself and my boyfriend, rushed the whole thing through as a desperate gamble.

    I moved to NZ with them but Keith and I continued to keep in touch until we were both nearly 30 and he’d changed shipping lines to be able to see me. Distance caused the relationship to fizzle out and we both married other people, My husband was an abusive con man but Mr Charm and Personality when others were around and had Mum thoroughly wound round his little finger to the point she refused to believe anything I said about his behaviour or the way he treated me but almost seemed to be colluding with him. A long, involved story but he disappeared during the 1980s, bank account wiped out, and was never officially seen again although a couple of people were convinced they had seen and ralked to him in Indonesia. When I tried to tell Mum about his mental cruelty and manipulation all she’d say was, “Well he was always very nice to me”

    My father died unexpectedly in 1976 and Mum settled comfortably into the role of “the little widow woman” despite the fact that she was having an active social life. I was expected to be at her beck and call to take her places and would get the aggrieved looks if I didn’t phone at least once a week. When I commented that she could as easily phone me it was always, But you’re so busy I don’t want to disturb you”

    I remarried a few years down the track and we did everything we could to include Mum in outings but it was never enough. One particular instance stands out. We’d gone out for a meal with Mum and the kids, then to the cinema and ended with coffee and cake afterwards. When I asked Mum if she’d enjoyed it her response was, “It was lovely but the coffee was too strong” Whatever I did for or with her there was always the “but”

    When I was a teen I can remember her saying to me that I was too outspoken and , if I wanted my boyfriend to do something, I should make him think it was his idea. I was nearly 60 when I suddenly realised that’s what she had been doing to me all my life too. I’d never liked living in NZ and , on several occasions, said to Mum that I wanted to come home but had been dissuaded and caved in and stayed because of her disapproval.

    It was when I was on a holiday in Scotland that I met up again with my first boyfriend whose wife had died some years earlier. My second marriage had also broken down and we realised we still had the same feelings for each other that we had at 16. I returned to NZ and announced to everyone that I would be moving to Scotland. My son was given the choice of coming with me or staying with his Dad. he opted for the latter and , years later, accused me of deserting him but that’s a whole other story.

    I returned to Acotland in 2005 and have been happily living with my Mr Right ever since. Mum died 2007 and I went back and nursed her through her final illness. Even at her funeral I was unable to cry as all I felt was a sense of relief that I was now free from her manipulations.

    Thank you for allowing me to get this off my chest.

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    1. Wow. That’s so heartbreaking. I’m so glad you have finally found the type of love you deserve and I wish you all the best for your future. I’m determined to stay strong this time.

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