Motherhood is a complex subject for people like me. Mother’s Day is always a mixed bag of emotions.
In the early days of my estrangement from my mother many people told me that I’d change my mind once I had children of my own.
As if the decision to cut ties with her and the rest of my family was made so lightly it would all just get swept under the carpet and forgotten about the second I was pregnant.
As if it had been nothing more than a minor spat that could be rectified by having a group hug and doing a bit of forgiving and forgetting.
Believe me, walking away from my family wasn’t something I did without agonising over it for years first
I don’t speak about them often, online or in real life. I grieved for them long, hard and self-destructively directly afterwards. Nowadays I don’t harbour animosity towards any of them, and I see no benefit in dredging up the past and justifying why I don’t have them around.
Not that I need to do that of course, but I’m sure it comes across that way.
It’s a strange one to get your head around isn’t it? A person claiming not to have ill feelings towards their mother, yet actively choosing to exclude them from their life. Depriving their children of an extra grandmother in the process.
“Don’t you miss your mum?”
Concerned friends have asked me this countless times over the years. I’d be lying if I said no, not at all. The fact is, I do miss not having a mum around. One who could help see me through the daily grind known as motherhood.
One who would demand to take the kids off my hands regularly so I got a break. One who could be a brightly shining positive influence for my children.
If I thought for a second that my mother was capable of these things, I wouldn’t have cut ties with her in the first place
When I put my damaged self through therapy after breakdown number one in 2002, my counsellor opened my eyes to how toxic my relationship had become with my mother. Before that I genuinely had no idea. I knew my family was far from ‘normal’, but whose is, and what is ‘normal’ anyway?
The biggest irony is that my mother had a very volatile relationship with my grandma, and she was extremely vocal throughout my childhood about that never happening with her own kids.
In lots of ways I feel sad for her, because her life wasn’t easy or fun, then to top it off she lost her eldest daughter. Not through some tragic accident or awful unfair disease, but because that daughter decided she couldn’t be around her anymore.
For the sake of her sanity, and self-preservation, she was done
Done with the lies.
Done with the dramas.
Done with her good intentions being thrown back in her face.
Done with the guilt.
Done with feeling that she was responsible for fixing everyone else’s problems and should always be doing more. Giving more. Being more.
She was done. I was done
In April 2005 I made the toughest decision I have made to date. In my darkest, most horrendously depressed moments, where I’d feel alone in a room full of friends, I miss the idea of a mum so much it physically hurts. A superhero mum that would put her cape on and make my challenging life easier.
Then I remember the reasons I walked away in the first place
So, do I miss a mum? Yes of course. Do I miss my mum? No, sadly I don’t. Do I wish things were different? Hell yes, but they aren’t.
I’m the mum now, so rather than pine after something that doesn’t exist, I’m going to plough all my energies into being the best mum I can for my own children.
I will let my actions, not my words, do the talking.
That way, they should never feel the need to cut me out of their lives when they grow up.