Mother’s day is possibly the most hyped of the Hallmark holidays. It’s a day of love and admiration for those who have endlessly wiped butts, tears, and pride with baby wipes and sleeves.
But for some…it’s a conflicting holiday. Not everyone has a mom. Not everyone has a relationship with their mom. During this time a year this hyped holiday can be a reminder of what is not in your life and the struggles you might have with it.
I’ve been somewhat open about my struggles with this relationship called “mom.” Being a mom gives me the normalcy of getting cards, hugs and love from my kids. I love being a mom to my children. They have absolutely made me who I am today. I feel them in my soul.
But I also have a mom. That fact flips this day into a different set of present and complex feelings.
Growing up with a mentally ill mom has complicated this relationship that this day celebrates. On one hand, I don’t harbor any angry feelings anymore. Those have long passed but what is left feels….empty. Lonely. On the other hand, I can’t try to connect with something that just isn’t there. I realize that sounds harsh but when a child has not been on the receiving end of care, concern or love for their whole life, they develop coping skills. The coping skill I developed was a denial of emotions towards the situation coupled with a wall, in case I was tempted to try.
I’m not saying it’s healthy, but it is what I have done to survive this complex set of relationship emotions that will likely never be resolved.
At times I can feel guilty about this way of coping. I understand this guilt but also forgive myself for it. I can no longer hold onto the “what if’s” and “If I just’s…” situations that play out in my head. They have been played out over and over with no resolution.
I know I’m not the only one in this situation so if you are too, be kind to yourself. Mother’s day can be a wonderful day to celebrate for most, but not for all. And that’s ok; we’re doing the best we can.