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Posts Tagged ‘Mothers’

Let me just make a recommendation right off the bat, if you adore your mother, if you love mother’s day, this may not be the blog for you…or it might. Personally, every year I struggle with mother’s day, can’t even bring myself to capitalize it. It is by far my least favorite holiday/celebratory day of the whole year. I prefer Groundhogs Day, Presidents Day, Humiliation Day (Jan. 3rd), National Bubba Day (June 2nd), Yellow Pig Day (July 17th) and Marooned Without a Compass Day (November 6th), all to mother’s day.

I no longer struggle (much) with this day, I mainly just quietly ignore and wait for it to pass. And just so you know, I am a mother of two adorable grown daughters, who do not know I do not like mother’s day to the extent I dislike it, because what they do know is I LOVE being their mother.

See, I have learned over the years, many years, that there is a huge difference between being a mother and a parent, a father and a parent. My ‘mother’ is still living, so I do not speak of this unknowingly or lightly. As you may be aware from previous posts, my father is still living also and in an Alzheimer’s facility.

When I was blogging in my head earlier today I knew I had to write about it. I do that, blog in my head. A past acquaintance referred to it as ‘mind %#$@ing’. He didn’t get it, and it was before blogging.

My mother/parent, gave it what she had. She simply was not equipped to be a mother to me, but was able to parent me, and for that I am grateful. She met all of my basic needs wonderfully, faultlessly. But she wasn’t able to mother me. This was not unique to my mother, it was the relationship she had with her mother, her mother had with her mother, and I don’t know beyond that but probably went back more generations. It took therapy to get to a point of first recognizing it, accepting it, forgiving it and letting go of it…except on mother’s day. This was complicated early on by the fact that growing up my father had very high expectations of myself and my siblings on just how mother’s day would go, and it required excellent behavior and big displays of love and affection from us. I couldn’t muster either so I remember mother’s day as always being a struggle.

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Then I became a mother, a young mother, and my husband was determined to override my mother’s day wiring by spoiling me, having the girls spoil me and doing his damnedest to make me feel loved and appreciated. And it helped for a while, but always those feelings of “will this day never end?!” hung on. You see, when you know you didn’t get to have a mother and you watch everywhere around you and see what it is like to have a mother, even in your own home as you are mothering, you have a hard time embracing the celebration of it. My mother made it very clear very young that she did not want me, confirmed this to me when I was a young adult and saw no problem with it. Again, she parented well, and provided for me. But there have been so many, many times in my life that I have struggled with how to react to something because it was never modeled for me. It was not only up to me to figure out, she resented my ability to figure it out. My mother was emotionally abusive from the time she found out she was pregnant, details don’t matter here. I learned to mother myself, and from that learned to mother my children. My children were my saving grace as I was able to feel the love of a mother by being a mother. I was also able to feel the pain of what I missed by what they received. I feel mainly just pity for her at this point, long gone are the days of anger or need.

At some point many of us, for various reasons have to make a decision between leaving our past and choosing our future. Sometimes that choice is forced on us, sometimes it is a long slow process and if you are lucky, it never happens, you are able to mesh the two. For me, it became clearer and clearer that to own my life and live forward, I could not stay engaged with her. It was the final step in truly letting go and accepting that ours was a relationship not made of choice, not wanted and not necessary. I learned that I needed peace in my life more than I needed a ‘mother’ and that ship had sailed. I felt free for the first time when I came to that realization and realized it didn’t even matter to her.

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My greatest reward for mother’s day is watching my daughters enjoy it with their children, knowing that cycle has been broken. Watching them joke about it and detecting no stress or anxiety about it, makes it all worth it.

In 1994 President Bill Clinton signed into law the resolution unanimously adopted by the U. S. Congress establishing the fourth Sunday of every July as Parents Day. This I can get behind, because sometimes that is all that is possible. Sometimes a parent just isn’t equipped to be a father or mother, but they do their best to be a parent, to meet those basic needs.

And it isn’t about all the hugging and kissing or sitting up late at night talking through things. It’s just about being there. What makes my father, my father, is not any of that, he traveled much of the time I was growing up, he left the parenting to my mother. He was the disciplinarian. But he was also the teacher of principles, the one who though was wrongfully hard on us, was equally hard on us. I think each one of us felt we had a special relationship with him. He wanted so badly for us to be independent, strong, happy women, and it was his mission in life to accomplish that. That is what made him a father, not because he did it all right, because he did not.

Parenting is not for the weak of heart, mothering is not for everybody. And sometimes the two just don’t go together, and that is what keeps therapists employed! I hope that if you struggle with mother’ss day, that you are able to find peace in the ability to mother yourself, and know, it was never about you not deserving a mother.

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