Mother’s Day…is supposed to be the day to celebrate the woman who gave You life. Every year I have written about missing my mother on this day. Some of those Mothers Day were in grief not because of her, but because of my own children who did not feel I was worthy of acknowledging me as their mother. It was a deep crevasse to cross, but I can happily say that there has been healing in that direction. So I’d like to dedicate the following to those mothers who are here right now. These words in my head need to be released. They have been twirling around for several days. These are the mothers in my friendship circles, Facebook circles, and family circles. These are the mothers who are living and breathing right now. They are younger mothers and some of them are much older mothers. Some are even Grandmothers, like me.
In the last four years, I have witnessed the lack of respect some adult daughters have for their mothers. I try to wrap my head around the detached distain that these young women are directing towards their own mothers. I recognize it, because it’s all an indication that the relationship between the daughter and the mother is based on conditional love. I also think ageism is involved here. This is for the daughter who thinks, that she might now be in the caretaker role of her parents, or will soon. The daughter who lashes out at her aging mother should take heed of what words are being said. Generally, this is almost certainly about something in her own life that has failed her, and she is looking to blame someone. Who first, but the mother?
But on the other side, I believe that we mothers have raised our daughters to expect the best, and they have become very entitled in their attitudes about it. They feel entitled to want and have unconditional love from their mother, but are only conditional on their own love towards their mother. This conditional love has very likely been their daughters, with the use of money, land, trinkets, travel, and/or just because they want to see their grandchildren, or even their own child. Let me just call it the manipulation of love.
Some of these daughters have been so cruel that they yell at their mothers with diatribes of “Dad always treats me better than you do, he believes in me more.” Chances are Dad was the one that took the passive parenting side and never became the “bad parent”. One daughter recently placed her vile words about her mother on FaceBook for everyone to read. Another text message sent to her mother, “Don’t bother to call me, or be at my graduation.” Sadly, Mom had basically sent monthly allotments from her salary to the college daughter, while on a strict budget of her own (Mom still pays for the cell phone bill). Another statement that was shared “Don’t talk to my child that way, I’m her mother”. (Like you didn’t raise a child, right?) Another, “You have no clue to the hurt you have caused me and my family, leave my family alone.” And the final one: “You aren’t as educated as I am, so how would you have any idea on what I’m going through?” Mom sent this brat to the college! (These words could also be replaced with, life, family, etc. You put the right word in that blank).
These words spark major empathy in me. To the mother who has received it, because those words go straight to the heart of my friend. It’s a slap of disrespect for all of the sacrifices that mother went through to raise her child. This could include single-parenting, domestic violence, spousal alcoholism, and just trying to provide shelter for the said child, making sure this daughter never saw the darker side of her own sacrifice (like education, or divorce, unemployment, or separation from a spouse/partner who caused the domestic violence).
I have very little empathy for the daughter who says these vile words, because I know that this daughter is not right in her own life, and is looking to blame someone else. I have seen and witnessed this, and experienced it. How does the saying go? “Always blame the Mother.”
The conditional stage of loving your mother seems to pop up around the age of puberty. There’s the “eye roll” stage, then there’s the “shoulder shrug” stage, and then the “just send a card” stage and perhaps some flowers. By the age that daughter reaches the age of 40 or so, she will start recognizing and receiving those impudent behaviors from her own daughter, if she has children. She is now the receiver of the same treatment she gave to her mother. She might start getting her “ah ha” moments. One could only hope.
When we become Grandmothers (around the average age of 47), do we lose our status as a Mother? It seems so. Our involvement with our daughters seem removed. They are busy doing the things they saw us model for them. Busy in the raising of their own children, busy in trying to be a career woman, busy carpooling and carrying a job at the same time. Busy paying the bills.
The women I speak of, are dynamic women, and they are all Grandmothers. All of them worked hard in their careers, in their communities, let’s just put down, PTA, girl scout leaders, school board members, politicians, and women’s rights activists for starters. They did that with the entire intention to improve the lives of THEIR daughters. In order to be dynamic, you had to be courageous in the work place. Along with these traits these women developed skills of courage, being outspoken, and criticism from many. They changed the rules on feminism. Do words like, Bossy, Bitchy, and Brave come to mind? Those are the words they had to battle in order to make changes.
In my own family, my mother was this. She was involved in my community, the bossy, bitchy, courageous, and brave one. She modeled for me that I had to be involved to make things better. It was her that my school classmates would go to and get advice that they could not share with their own mothers, etc. It was her that became the confidence of womanhood that so many sought. Hers was always offered when requested, and always appreciated by my friends. Sure, growing up, I was jealous that other girls sought out my mother, but I also knew that those girls did not have it good in their homes, and ALWAYS appreciated the fact that I had a safe place to live, and a loving set of parents who provided it.
Sometimes, the phrase “Mom always loved you best” came up in our family. Even though it seemed it was so, it wasn’t true. My mother could only respond to each of us, from what we were seeking…to the best of her ability. It was unconditional love. We all needed something different from her at certain times in our life. She always responded the best way she knew how. But in our minds, there was also judgment in her eyes, or we perceived that there was judgment. When it all came down to true dialogue, when I sat down with my mother and discussed the raw emotional issues, we both came away with an understanding that there was unconditional love.
If you are a daughter that believes you are being treated differently or wrongly, what are you mirroring towards your mother? Are you truly seeking her unconditional love? Then give it right back at her, without conditions. She will only be here for awhile. Remember, she is a human with imperfections that may have not shared those years as you were growing up. She sheltered you from her hurts, wants, and imperfections. You are now awake to realize this. You are now an adult woman and need to realize that in those moments that she gave birth to you, was a direct expression of love. You can’t deny that, but only can hold her love of you as a template towards your own destiny. One of a woman of worth, love, strength, and courage. She did the best she could with what she had at the time.
Look past your unworthiness and perhaps the unworthiness that you saw in her. Look into yourself with love, and know that your presence here would not be possible without the aid of your mother. If not on Mothers Day, then perhaps today, tomorrow and everyday.