I appreciate Seth writing about one of the reasons women dread Mother's Day.
I feel a need to share some other reasons why Mother's Day is a HUGE challenge for me.
Mother's Day is a day that the person that gave us birth is celebrated. I feel guilty because I listen to the praise of Mother's on this day and think of all the ways I messed up as a mother. Being a multiple personality with severe dissociation leaves a lot to be desired as a parent. I was emotionally sick body and mind for the growing years of my children. I wasn't there for them. I messed up. I raged like a banshee and totally missed the point on meeting their needs. I feel so sad that I fell so short of what I wanted to do and be as their mother. In counseling, the hardest weeks were during the time that I comprehended how much I screwed up. Saying 'I did the best I knew how,' just seems so inadequate and pathetic. My kids deserved better. But year after year they reassure me that they love me, I have amazing kids.
Then there is the other dilemma. Celebrating my Mother. What do I say to the woman that loved me and resented me. I often felt that she didn't want me dead, she wanted me to not exist. Dying meant mourning, I felt she saw me as competition for my Dad and her behavior let me know on a regular basis that my existence caused problems for her. She told me after I was married that me leaving the house was the best thing that ever happened for her and my dad. She gave me birth but how do I thank her for making my childhood a living hell. Being taught that I don't deserve the simplest things. Being neglected so a pedophile neighbor had full access to me for years. She didn't protect me. She didn't nurture me. She said I loved you and turned around and hurt me. I learned from her that love hurts. I learned from her that I didn't deserve to be treated with respect. She's not dead and lives close by. I see her and feel a deep sadness that she lives in such fear that she is unlovable that she can't enjoy her two daughters since she sees both of us as a threat. She wants to love us but chose to wrap herself in her fears rather than doing the hard work of counseling. How to I celebrate my mother?
I feel jealous on this day for all the women that declare how they couldn't live without their mothers. I feel so sharply my own inadequacies. I wish the day was a day to celebrate women....All women....short and tall....with children or without....thick or thin....happy or sad. I am wrapping up reading a book called, Who Switched Off Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf. She is a neurologist who shares how different men and women's brains functioning is. Women are different from men at the cellular level. Women are amazing in their hopes and dreams. I can admire my mother for what an amazing teacher she was...she did wonderful things about teaching children to read 100 easy books. I can admire my mother for overcoming the abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother. I can admire my mother for her perseverance in genealogy and connecting families long dead. I can admire my mother for the caring support she gives some other people. I can celebrate my mother as a woman with many talents. My children recognize how hard I tried. They praise me for how far I have come. They remind me of the things I did right. They assure me that I make a difference in their lives now. I would really like to have a Women's Day.....