Sunday, May 6, 2012

When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends

With Mother's Day approaching, I decided to come clean.  Not because others are interested, but because it's cleansing to shine light into darkness.  I have a secret that I never share.  Truth is, I have shared it maybe twice  and having "it" out there has made confidantes so uncomfortable that, in one of the cases, my relationship  was never the same.

I am estranged from my mother.  The last time I talked with her was a phone conversation in September 2011.  Before that date it had been many, many months.  As long as I can remember I would count the days on a calendar and circle 60 days out.  That would be phone call day.   Our dance involved small pleasantries and a discussion of the weather.  The call lasted an average of 4 minutes.  It always seems so much longer.  After I said goodbye, the rest of the day would be filled with fits of rage, lots of tears, and more often than not, a killer migraine.

I do not remember being safe with my mother.  She was not physically or verbally  abusive, although she could cut you to the core with a single glance.  Mainly she was uninterested.   She was busy.  She was too busy to bother with me.  I never felt like a priority.  That is because I wasn't.  And I still am not.

I never trusted my mother enough to share my disappointment and concerns.  I knew better than to bother her with my needs.   I learned to make it on my own, to not cause waves, to be seen and not heard.  I learned to be invisible.

Years went by and our relationship stagnated.  She was not included in my life nor I in hers.

I graduated from college and she did not attend the ceremony.  I have never questioned her about her absence.

Another Mother's Day is here.  What do you do when your mother is not your friend?  There are no greeting cards that can put a non-relationship into  rhyme.  I will be sweating by the time I finally choose the least expensive card with a single flower on front.  "Happy Mother's Day" it will say on the inside.  I will change my mind several time before I decide to drop it in the mail.

I've never met another adult woman who has no relationship with her own mother.  Of course, that woman may be keeping "the secret" too for fear of making others uncomfortable.  I understand the awkwardness, shame, embarrassment and anger.

This Mother's Day I will allow myself to celebrate.  I will look at my children and tell them I am proud to be their mother.  I am thankful they have taught me how to be a mother.  One thing I know for sure, nothing will separate me from those three.  As the song says "Ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no valley low enough, ain't no river wide enough, to keep ME from getting to YOU"

Happy Mother's Day to Me


  1. It's so unfortunate that you don't have a loving relationship with your mother but sometimes I think some people are just not cut out to be a mother (or a parent). You have obviously worked very hard to be a good mother to your own children and for that you should be very proud. Well done.

    1. I'm sorry you and your mom don't have a good relationship, but as Sally said, it's quite obvious from everything I've read here that your own children won't ever have to feel the same way about you as you do about your mother. Happy (early) Mother's Day to you!