Okay, so I really don’t have the power to declare a special day, but I like the idea! Many or most people have good mothers who could love them, care for them, put their needs first and allow them to become functional adults.
Some of us don’t.
Mother’s Day is a painful day for those of us who had abusive and/or narcissistic mothers. Society encourages us to honor someone who consistently hurt us. Society tells us that moms are wonderful. Society guilt trips us if we hesitate to agree. Society frowns on us if we speak out and say our mothers were not good mothers. We live with the pain and the memories, but we are discouraged from expressing what we need to say and share because of the persistent myth that mothers always know best.
I heard on the news the other day that the average mother gets gifts worth about $178. My mother will get nothing from me. I stopped trying years ago because I just didn’t feel sincere about honoring someone who never honored me as her child. But if I tell people this, many will gasp in horror and think I’m a terrible, ungrateful person. I could tell horror stories, but they’d still have trouble getting over the idea that I am not giving my mother a Mother’s Day gift. The idea that we are supposed to do this is entrenched in society, and so few people are brave enough to speak up and say “hey, not all mothers are good. Not all women who give birth are capable of love.”
I know many people are blessed with loving, caring mothers, and I don’t want to take away their day by sharing my stories of growing up with a narcissistic mother, but I want those of us with bad mothers to find a way to make this upcoming holiday a positive day. So….
For Mother’s Day, let’s practice honoring our feelings, our history and our reality–that our mothers could not be mothers to us. Let’s celebrate our freedom from narcissistic abuse, our freedom from feeling guilty, and our freedom to love and care for ourselves in a way our mothers could not. It is okay to have your feelings and to take care of yourself, but so many of us learned to put ourselves last or to ignore our needs. We were all sweet and miraculous babies and children who should have been cherished and treasured. Let’s do that for ourselves! A therapist once told me that I should care for myself and my health like I would my own child. For Mother’s Day, let’s be our own mothers.