Mother’s Day is a tricky one for me

It reminds me of the obvious lack of mother in my own life. It’s now been so long since I saw her face, I can’t even properly remember what it looks like. It poses a mixed bag of emotions every time a so-called special day presents itself.

Mother’s Day. Birthdays. Anniversaries. The last time I saw her. The last time we communicated.

I estranged myself from my mother several years before I started having children. I coped with a full on mental breakdown, and hit rock bottom with no family support whatsoever. I have been through so much without her by my side. I’ve essentially become a different person to the one she raised. A better person. I have taught myself how to function in the world, and how to be nice. To not immediately assume the worst in everyone, and think they’re all out to get me.

 

I grew up in a world where Jimmy Saville would fix all your problems, and Gary Glitter wanted you to be part of his gang. Where primary school kids had access to porn films and 8yo girls had their innocence stolen on a daily basis. 😔 I grew up in a world where comparison wasn’t always the thief of joy, and in fact sometimes knowing that others had it so much harder was a good thing for me. 😔 I grew up in a world where the WORST happened, and I got to the point where I could no longer forgive and forget. I made the hardest decision I’ve ever made (to date) when I was 26 years old (I’m now 38). 😔 Motherhood without a mum is more heartbreaking than I could ever articulate. On any given day I’ll flit between knowing I’ve made the right decision to desperately hoping I was wrong and wanting her to beat my door down. To say “I’m here now, and everything will be ok!” The words I know without doubt my dear grandma would have said, given half the chance. 😔 So if you’re struggling with similar issues please email me and I’ll send you a copy of Become the Best You. Had I read the book I wrote when I was on the edge, maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have fallen down a deep, dark hole.

A post shared by Reneé Davis (@mummytries) on

I know her hands were tied a lot of the time. She was young and inexperienced when she brought me in the world at eighteen. She was still reeling from her own tragic childhood of loss and abuse. No-one helped her conquer her demons. She got webbed up with men who treated her terribly, and the rest is history.

There was my biological father – who had an affair with my mother while he was engaged to the woman who he calls his wife to this day. A woman who does not know I even exist (but that is a different story for another day). Then there was my step-father who was beyond messed up from his own horrific childhood. Who prided himself on never beating his woman, but failed to see the emotional torment he put her through. She was absolutely terrified of him.

The day he punched me in the face and almost broke my nose freed me from that world

It was my chance to get out, and even though I was only fifteen, I knew I had to grab it with both my bloody hands. I was literally covered in blood, looked like I had been shot.

She was in pieces. Didn’t want me to leave but knew that I had to. You see that punch in the face was the mere icing on the top of a huge, multi layered cake made exclusively of shit. The constant moving which had screwed up my education. The boys who abused me as a small child. The boy from my school who molested me at a sleepover and bragged about it to his mates (the shame of which led to an overdose). The chronically stressful life that had been put upon me by the grown ups who acted like anything but.

She knew I had to leave, but can you imagine the pain of allowing your teenage daughter to walk out the door? With no schooling behind her. With hardly any money in her pocket. Just the hope that she would be safe at your sisters house, even though her husband at the time was a predator you did not trust?

Trouble is, even after I left home I was perpetually called upon to be her saviour. When the electricity had been cut off for the umpteenth time, I would send money. When she was at her wits’ end with my half brother, I would rush back. When my half-sister was suicidal because she was bullied at school, I would be there for them all. And in the end those relationships became beyond toxic. They saw me as good old Reneé. I’d always be there for them, no matter how badly they treated me.

mother's dayI don’t hold grudges these days. I used to, but writing Become the Best You helped me let go of the last of those feelings

I don’t look back upon those days in anger, I just feel sad about them (and mostly for her). There is no doubt in my mind that the decision to not have them in my life was (and is) a good one. Now that I have challenging children of my own I have more empathy for her and those days than ever before. 

And that’s the trouble with Mother’s Day. It brings it all to the surface, like the disgusting pus filled, hormone driven spot on my chin that just won’t be popped and do one. It keeps coming back, redder, with more pus than before.

So this is for all the mums out there coping with their silent battles.

Who look at the social media version of Mother’s Day and want to cry a river, even if they manage not to.

Especially the ones who are mothering without a mama, and although they have made peace with their situation, have days when it hurts like hell. 

mothers day guest post by andy

Hi everyone, it’s Andy (or Daddy Tries?) here. We were contacted by Tesco on the run up to Mother’s Day with some inspiration to get the kids involved in organising a lovely treat to start Reneé’s special day with.

They sent us a hamper, which contained lots of bits and bobs to help us create the perfect breakfast, without too much preparation and washing up to contend with before and after. We had a choice of three Mother’s Day menus, some arts and crafts to keep the little ones busy while I was in the kitchen, and a pretty tray to deliver the meal on.

Polly Choosing Mother's Day Flowers in Tesco

Preparations began on the Saturday with a trip to Tesco for breakfast ingredients, and a nice bunch of flowers chosen by Polly, which were given as a pre-Mother’s Day treat.

The next bit of preparation was to get agreement from all the small people in the house to give their mummy the gift of sleep. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best, Reneé wasn’t getting her hopes up.

Team Mini Davis making mother's days cardsStop the Press! They slept!

Well, sort of. At least no-one woke up Reneé in the night, and the kids managed to stay quiet enough to give her a lie in until 7:30 am, which is pretty unheard of in our family. The arts and crafts in the hamper were a great help in keeping little fingers busy making cards and pictures for their mummy.

Great breakfast to start the day

Awesome smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfastOnce Reneé woke up the mini team got cracking on our chosen recipe – scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, which is her favourite.

All this led to big smiles on Mrs Tries face which, of course, was the whole point! All in all, it was the perfect start to a great Mother’s Day. 
  
**Huge thanks to my lovely husband and children for making Mother’s Day so special for me. It really was a great day, and the memories will last a long time.** 

Motherhood without a mum

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?”

motherhood without a 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.

motherhood without a mumShe 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.