the day of the mothers

It's sometimes a tough day for us. Mother's Day. A day in which we know the whole wide world around us will be celebrating the amazingness, holiness, perfectness of mothers...while we, daughters of narcissistic mothers, struggle with how to handle the mother-worship, and whether or not to engage in it ourselves.

For the last several years, I have not observed Mother's Day as it applies to my own mother. I don't know exactly how many years it has been. Maybe as many as 6, probably less. The fact that I don't remember which one was the last one is a good thing, really, because it means that this day is not as big a minefield as it used to be for me.

It's still an odd day, though. My husband and sons celebrate me, and it feels nice. I try not to have big expectations of the day and see it as a day which I will spend doing whatever I need to do in order to be the mom I want to be. That might mean having a day to myself, and it might mean having a big family adventure. Today it meant brunch out (so that I could enjoy my in-laws instead of feeling stressed about hosting them in a less-than-clean house)(plus I love that place - they have the best bacon and pitchers of mimosas) and then a quiet day at home. Cleaning off my beloved back porch so that I can enjoy it again. Gardening, because I love the feel of the dirt and the sight of the worms and the sense of productivity. Finishing one great book and beginning another. Laying in the hammock. My family enjoying yardwork and playing in the sprinkler. All of us enjoying a beautiful spring day. It was lovely, and for the most part, it was peaceful. But. There's always a but. Last night I dreamed about my mother - something to do with me wanting to have contact with her, but also wanting to hold her responsible for her actions. And today, occasionally, I would have those twinges, not of feeling like a bad daughter, because I know I'm not, but of knowing that other people think that I am. Knowing that my siblings were all paying homage. Knowing that my Facebook feed was probably flooded with hundreds of "I love my wonderful mother!!!!!" posts.

A friend contacted me. This is her first motherless Mother's Day. She chose earlier this year to end contact with her parents, and said, "it's just this ache in the back of my mind, and today it seems louder and harder and guiltier." I get it. It's hard to enjoy the good things in front of you when you are so conscious of the ways in which you are not a typical daughter and your mother is not a typical mother, when you feel so much pressure to say "thank you! you're wonderful!" to somebody who perhaps isn't wonderful and doesn't deserve thanks.

Then another friend shared a link, and I thought I'd pass it along to you.

In Case Mother's Day is Hard for You

Thanks to Jen for recognizing the many, many ways in which this holiday is not happy for many women.

I hope that all of you took good care of yourselves today and shared some love with somebody important to you, whether or not that person was your mother. And to all of you with narcissistic mothers, I hope you celebrated the ways in which you mother yourself.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Claire, I too had a dream last night about FOO. I'll probably write a post about it. Reading your entry reminded me to think about the dream and to find its significance. How lovely to spend this day not "honoring" mothers who never loved us routinely, by preparing for spring. Cleaning a porch; planting flowers, mulching, watching worms prepare new ground and smelling fresh soil. Life. There's a robin's nest outside my back door. Three chicks in it. I watch her bring worms all day long as they clamor and compete for each one. Nurturing your young is programmed in by nature. Mothers who don't do it are, by definition, unnatural. Thanks for a very comforting post, as well as the nice link to Jen's post.