If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother

I thought becoming a mother would redeem “Mother’s Day” for me, but my feelings around it have not really changed. 

“Mother’s Day” is a rough one for me. 

I don’t see my mother anymore. I haven’t seen her since I was a few months pregnant. Our relationship began to deteriorate when my parent’s got divorced, got worse through my teenage years, and finally imploded in my thirties. 

I know my mother did her best. I know she loves me. I love her. I did not create these boundaries in our relationship because I don’t love her. 

I haven’t spoken about motherhood on this platform much. I’ve hesitated because anytime I’ve ever mentioned my own mother in the past, even in veiled references, it turned into a fight between her and I. 

You know that expression, “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” Well, I feel like, in my writing life, the expression is “if you can’t write about your mother, you can’t write about anything at all.” Not because every story is about her. Not because I have all of these terrible things to say, but because now that I have become a mother myself, I’ve discovered that mother’s are woven into everything. I can’t avoid writing about my mother, anymore than I can avoid being reminded of her. Mother’s, as a people group, shape all of us; even the absence of a mother. It is not merely “Mother’s Day” that rattles at the gates of our emotions, but it’s the everyday things that either remind us how utterly helpless we’d be without them, or how desperately we long for a mother-figure. 

It is for these reasons I haven’t written in over a year. I haven’t allowed myself to write about motherhood, in fear I would reveal my own mother-wound and further unravel pieces of myself.

But I am no longer just someone’s daughter, I am now a mother myself, and I want room to talk about my own motherhood. I want wide open spaces to express the beautiful, messy work of parenting without feeling like I’m betraying the system.

So, I give myself permission to acknowledge “mothers;” my own, myself, and all the spaces in between.