I have an unpopular opinion surrounding Mother’s Day.
We’ve just had it in the UK, and there were reams of messages and photos posted on walls so people could see just how much everyone we know loves their mum and how awesome their mums all are. There were treats, trips out to spas and salons, afternoon teas…
I always feel weird when it comes to Mother’s Day. The weirdness is twofold.
One: my mother has been a lot better in recent years. She’s been less angry for no reason, more willing to listen, more supportive and less dismissive… But, when I was a child, she was angry, uncommunicative, resistant to any form of “bad” emotion from any of us (me or my alters) and was emotionally neglectful. We all have deep scars left over from this. Clara is processing hers and not doing well because of it. She always thought it was her fault that she couldn’t make Mummy happy, but it should NEVER be a child’s job to support their mother’s emotions.
Fifteen is angry because she got the brunt of our mum’s anger and fear about having cancer. I think mum would like to believe she was fine and not depressed or frightened at all, but we know better. She worked all through her chemotherapy… As a dance teacher… Can you imagine the physical and mental strain she went through?! She didn’t get help, she didn’t ask for any extra support at work… She powered through, doing me and her a lot of damage on the way.
Sixteen is angry and upset because she never got it with our ex. She knew he was bad news, but didn’t try and get any help with dealing with him. She didn’t try to get any help with mental health stuff apart from an awful Christian counsellor, who backed our abusive ex up. Sixteen is still hurt and feels she doesn’t really have a mother.
All of us want to know why she still continues to work on Mother’s Day. Why she won’t listen when we explain that we have a chronic illness, and it’s not going away. Why she keeps pushing us to get a job, because, apparently, we need one. Sitting around in the house all day is bad for us?! Who knew?!
It hurts so much when she says this, because she’s not really accepted that the Perma-Smile girl is gone and never really existed in the first place. She was a conditioned front, placed strategically in view of everyone so that they would be happy. Mum can’t see that she was a front, and that we are hurt. We can’t even tell her that we are hurt because of her, because she makes the conversation all about her.
We still love her, which is very upsetting,and we know she loves us. It’s just that the love is conditional and always has been, because our grandmother taught her that that’s how love is. You have to earn it, you don’t just deserve it. What a damaging way to raise a family.
This Mother’s Day, I hope everyone hurting like us manages to stay away from the propaganda that you Must At All Costs Love Your Mother. If your mother was abusive, there’s no need to keep loving her. If your mother was absent emotionally, like mine was, it’s ok to love her from a distance and seek love elsewhere. My dog, my husband, and the new cat, not to mention my friends and sister all love me for who I am not what I do. That’s all we wanted from her.
The other is that we could have been a mum, but the miscarriage stopped that. We still hurt. It’s easier now that we named our Fay, but the scar lingers.
Take care, everyone.
Love, 15, 16, Clara and 27.