If you pass by the greeting cards this weekend you will see a variety of cards for Mother’s Day. The cards say sweet and wonderful things about mothers. It would seem that society thinks everyone has a wonderful relationship with their mother. Sadly, there are many that have a less-than-happy feeling about this secnnd Sunday in May. There aren’t any greeting cards we can buy without completely lying about the relationship. Every year at this time it bothers me to see the illusion of Mother’s Day for those who have either lost their mother to death, have a complicated relationship or mothers who have lost their children.
For me, I sadly claim two of the three of these reasons. My mother passed away two years ago and we weren’t speaking when she died. So, this day is a strange day for me. I certainly never wanted to have a strained relationship with my mother. No child wants that. Although I feel an emptiness about today, I won’t spend the day depressed about it either.
If you are like me and you are spending Mother’s Day feeling like an outsider, be assured that not everyone has the perfect wonderful relationship with their mothers as Hallmark would like us to believe. Some relationships are difficult and complicated. If your mother is alive but you aren’t speaking or have issues between you, of course, do what you can to work it out. That’s the easy answer but, sometimes, the reality is that some things can’t be worked out. If you have an overbearing mother, one that is hard to please or one that tries to manipulate your life, you definitely have to make some difficult choices.
Not all maternal relationships are the same or joyful. Some can be clouded with tension and dysfunction that others simply don’t understand. The righteous will easy say “Honor Your Father and Mother” but when you have a hollow sense of grief for the relationship that either never was or is no more you feel like an outsider compared to the white picket fence families.
We all would like to “forgive and forget” but it’s not always that simple. As an adult you have to set some boundaries and not succumb to repeatedly bad behaviors. Making allowances for that isn’t always the answer. At some point you have to be a man or woman in your life. It’s hard I know. Believe me I wish things had been different.
So what can you do on this day as one of the “others” while watching the cookie cutter families celebrate their mothers?
- Acknowledge your feelings and emotions. You feel the way you feel. Don’t ignore them or stuff them away somewhere.
- Think about the good times. It’s too easy to remember the bad things. The last thing your mother said to you or the present problems with your mother. Push those aside today and think about the good times.
- Pray for healing. Take time to pray for healing in the relationship or – if your mother has passed – pray for your heart to heal.
- Honor your mother in other ways. Honor her by being the best person you can be in this world. She brought you into this world. In spite of the issues, honor her by doing good to others. She may never be proud of you but do good even if it is never acknowledged.
Your relatives and friends will give their advice but only you know what you know. Don’t let them make you feel guilty. Better yet, don’t even talk to them about it. They may see your mother totally different than the person you know. Just let them think what they think. Keep your responses and thoughts to yourself.
Yeah, today really sucks for us – the others. None of us wants to be on this side of Mother’s Day but it is what it is. We have two choices. It can make us bitter or better. I can honestly tell you that growing up I would have never, ever imagined how my relationship with my mother would have turned out like it did. I wouldn’t wish a strained relationship on anyone. Everyone involved feels sad and hurt from issues. It becomes a matter of who-said-what, finger pointing and hurt feelings for everyone. There is clearly a whole market for people who can’t buy the sappy Mother’s Day card this weekend.
For those of you on the happy side of Mother’s Day, please don’t judge us unless you have walked in our shoes. We are not the mean/evil people you think we are. Our hearts have been ripped out at some point to the numbness of this day. Healing doesn’t involve lecturing us on “honoring” our mothers or any of those other cliché things people say their attempt to shock us back into a relationship regardless of how bad it is.
If you have (or had) a good relationship with your mother you are blessed. Please do all you can to keep it together. Definitely make your mother feel special today. Are we jealous of you? Yes we are. You have something that we all wish we have/had.