The relationship between you and your Mom is usually really complicated. I mean, serial killers and rapists usually have crazy Mom issues, right? So, it’s complicated. And if you get it wrong, it goes really wrong.
I am no different. My mother was a terrible, abusive person. She treated strangers with more kindness than she treated me. And she let other people abuse me. She told me I was unlovable. She’s never admitted to any of that fucked-upness. Or apologized for it. She was a bad mother. In a lot of ways, she’s still a bad mother to my brother and sister.
So, I had to find other mothers to rely on. I think, in my relationships with other women, I wanted nurturing. But being vulnerable in those relationships was hard. My mother needed me to take care of her. She tore me down, until I didn’t like myself anymore. And I felt that being myself was a betrayal. And then she demanded that I take care of her.
And I think, I’m learning as I get older, that I need to be taken care of too. And that I need to accept help. And nurturing. Even in my relationships with my mother-substitutes, I find myself assuming role of the therapist. In order to feel secure, I listen and I am supportive. And I’m strong. And even though I sought out those Fake-Mom’s, I was too afraid to use them. Because even though I knew I needed another Mother, to fill in the gaps that my mother had left; I believed her. I was sure that at the core of me, I was unlovable, and ugly and mean and a bad person. Just like she said. Undoing the damage she did has been my adult life’s work. And it’s been hard. And the kindness that I experienced from other people’s mothers always seemed so bright. I couldn’t have that much kindness in my life all the time. It was like looking at the sun. So I stole moments of kindness from other people’s mothers, and stored it away, and re-lived it in my mind, trying to figure out what it meant about me. trying to figure out what these tiny kindnesses were giving me. Because I think in the back of my mind, I had this cruel mother. And I believed that I deserved her. That I was greedy to want someone to love me unconditionally. Or love me at all.
Most of my trust issues come out of my relationship with her. My self-doubt, and a lot of my fear of intimacy. For a decade I didn’t speak to either of my parents. And I used the time to reclaim my Holidays. Mother’s Day became about me. Since I raised myself, and then I fixed myself after my mother had done her damage, I used Mothers Day to buy myself presents. Jewelry, flowers and movies. But eventually that fell away. Eventually I stopped being angry at what my mother had taken from me and I realized that more than loving her and more than hating her, I wanted to just not care about her at all. And I did. I stopped craving a different history. And I stopped wanting her to get over her shit and be on my side. It worked. I reached a plateau of happiness. And I just tried to pretend that I’d always been that happy.
The first two years of Snarky Cards, I ignored Mother’s Day. I forgot about it until the last minute, I didn’t know what to say. I felt like my broken, fucked-up relationship with my mother disqualified me from writing about it. I felt like nobody would like what I had to say. It took me a little while to realize that the Snarky Card niche is saying shit no-one else will. And writing what I really wanted to say to my mother became cathartic. And everytime someone laughed at it, or related to it, I felt less alone. And more powerful. It made me feel better about who I am. And my fucked-up childhood. To write my experience. And offer it to the world.
I hope that whatever relationship you have with your Mother, you find a card that helps you feel like your experience is normal. Because no matter how nice or how fucked up your Mom is, you’re a good person. And there are thousands of people who have the same kind of nice/normal/kind/loving/tortured/abusive/scary/crazy/mean relationship with their Moms.
We’ve all got Moms. And no matter what kind you ended up with, I promise you’re not alone. So, if you have a fucked up Mom, reclaim Mothers Day. Make it a day to celebrate YOU. Tell a friend some fucked up shit your Mom did. Buy yourself something nice. Tell yourself you’re a good person, even if your Mom wasn’t. And if you have a good Mom, share her with a friend. You know you’re lucky. Listen to someone who isn’t. Because you have a lifetime of good Mom memories. You can ease someone else’s fucked up memories. You have room in your life for that kind of kindness.
I hope whatever you do for Mother’s Day that you feel good about yourself. And you should. Because you’re worthwhile.