It’s time to get real about Mother’s Day: It isn’t always about flowers, brunch and gratitude for many of us.
It’s about a glaring lack of having a nurturing mother in our lives and this once-a-year “celebration” only serves to remind many of us what we never had.
I know what it is like to grow up with a terrible mother. When I was a vulnerable child, my mother never told me she loved me. She neither hugged me nor threw me birthday parties. All of that was just too much of an effort. I spent years being enraged. I wasted decades and got nothing from my rage but rage. I would still be stuck there if I had not met a loving woman I would later choose as an adult to be my mother.
Part of the reason these bad mothers exist is the wholesale attack on feminine virtues by our overly masculine culture. We don’t value nurturance. Rather, we mock it by repeatedly placing sports gods, politicians and celebrities in the spotlight. We promote competition and self-reliance, unaware that we are fostering arrogance and emptiness in our lives. Let’s face it—we rely on other people every day of our lives! And it’s okay! But most of all, we should also be able to rely on a loving and supportive mother. Sadly, that never happens for millions of us.
Another detrimental blow against the maternal aspect of our society is the national pursuit for the acquirement of things rather than a pursuit for genuine, unconditional love. Kindness or empathy classes are not provided to our children, but we do, however, instill the false belief that success equals money. Real happiness has little to do with money—it has everything to do with knowing we are loved. We have to stop ridiculing the type of motherly love we all crave. It’s time to stop being afraid of needing our mothers.
The fact that hardly anyone talks about bad mothers is a major problem in and of itself. No one tells us that a mother can also be a murderer, either by a quick drowning in a bathtub, or slowly over decades by denying basic needs, or simply personal space to be yourself. It’s time we evolve and admit that some mothers are dangerous. Most mothers dutifully inform their children to be wary of predators out there in the big, bad world—but no one tells us that the mother can be the big, bad wolf herself.
If we refuse to acknowledge bad mothers exist, then we cannot reach out to help the children who are currently at the mercy of this painful reality now.
My chosen mother is the strong, loving, brave, support system I never had growing up. She oozes mothering and I soak it up. When I was 35, we spent a weekend in Chicago together and shared a hotel room. She tucked me into bed and kissed me on my forehead, something that I had never experienced before.
I met her when I moved next door to her in a small Texas Gulf town. She asked me what I ate for dinner and I replied “Popcorn,” because that’s all I knew how to make for myself. She invited me over for dinner the very next evening and greeted me at the door with homemade oatmeal cookies. That dinner was the beginning of a relationship that brings me joy every day, and it continues to do so as it has for the past 25 years.
I never lived wholly until I replaced my birth mother. I walked away from my toxic birth mother and created love where it never was before.
If you also have a toxic mother, how long will you stay in the relationship and allow your heart to be broken? As heart-wrenching as it is to admit, some mothers are incapable of loving their children. Fortunately, you have the freedom to make a different choice. You can find your own chosen mother.
And if you are an adult woman and have the capacity to love, look around—I guarantee you know people in your life who are un-mothered. Let’s take back what nurturing really means. Open the floodgates, give yourself permission to love other women. Be the mother many of us never got in childhood. We will only heal when we reclaim the feminine virtues and declare them as being integral to our lives.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Andrea Charpentier/Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons
Photos: Wikimedia Commons