When Your Mom Wasn’t Worthy of a “Day”

I won the mother lottery.  I was raised by a great one and married a great one.  I had the first one for 17 short years.  I’ve been with the second one for almost 40.


So, I’ve had 50 yard line seats to watch Super-Bowl-winning moms for decades.  For me, Mother’s Day conjures up nothing but warm feelings and pleasant memories.


But that’s not the case for everybody. A lot of people had mothers who were simply dreadful.  Probably all of these moms had their positives but their mothering was mostly negative. Some were alcoholics.  Some were absentee moms.  Some were less mature than the children they were “raising.”  Some were manipulative shrews.  Some were narcissistic before it became cool to use the word narcissistic.


For such individuals, Mother’s Day conjures up nothing good.  It might be more fitting if they could celebrate Cruella Deville Remembrance Day, Self-Absorbed Evil Vixen Day, or Thanks for the Mommy-Issues Day.  Drug stores don’t carry those cards, but if they did, they’d probably sell out by February.


If you had the misfortune of being raised by a mom-in-name-only, here are three ways to honor Mother’s Day.


Honor your connection

You have a big peer group.  There are many people just like you who eagerly await the Monday after Mother’s Day.  They hear the advertisements, see the fully stocked flower shelves at the grocery store, or scroll past glowing tributes to moms of friends on Facebook. It may sting a little but you’re not alone.


Honor your emotions

You may hate Mother’s Day or it may just be somewhat annoying. Some people feel guilty for having such negative feelings.  That’s called false guilt. If you have negative feelings about a negative experience, that’s to be expected. Mother’s Day may require you to walk and chew gum at the same time.  That is, you can applaud the good mothering experiences of others and simultaneously regret your own.  That’s normal.


Honor your mom by growing past her

It’s often said, “You need to deal with your mom (or dad) issues,” or “You need to deal with your past.”  What does that mean?  Here’s the short answer.  When you correct in the present what was damaged in the past, you’re then able to say, “I’ve dealt with my past.” Do what it takes to grow past where she may have caused you to get stuck.  That’s the best honor she can receive.