Posted by: silverstar98121 | May 10, 2008

I Hate Mother’s Day

Why do I hate Mother’s Day? Well, maybe because I am childless. I am childless by semi-choice. I chose to be childless in my 20’s because my husband was 20 years older, and didn’t want another family. But I could have left him. Only by the time I was in my early 30s, I was having so much trouble with endometriosis that I would probably have been infertile anyway. I also chose to be childless because I was afraid I would abuse any children I had.

My mother was always quick with the belt, or the stick, or the (insert whatever was at hand). I was afraid I would be like that too. The first year I was married, my husband was hit by a pickup truck, and his pelvis was broken. This was near Christmas. My sister left her two kids with me while all the rest of the family went skiing. There was a blizzard, and then it was below zero for several days.  I was trapped in a house with a cranky husband and two small children (2 and 4 years old) who didn’t have enough toys. One day I found myself banging my youngest nephew’s head on the floor (carpeted, thank heaven). It was about that time I decided I really didn’t need kids. I’m 35 years away from that day, and it still hurts.

I also hate Mother’s Day because of my problematic relationship with my own mother. The physical abuse was bad enough, the psychological abuse was worse. I was never good enough. Even when she would brag about my accomplishments, she would exaggerate them. If I had gotten a solid B, it was inflated to an A+. It gave me a message of “not good enough”. Then there were the dinners where she would recount all my sins. I was called fat. I look at the pictures from those days, and know I was just built differently than she was, I was not even overweight. Even so, I was put on diets from the time I was about 13. And the times she jumped out at me in the dark and yelled “boo!” This went on daily for a while. It was funny the first time, by the 15th time, it was just nuts.

My mother was an alcoholic, her mother was a depressive. Alcoholism and depression travel on the same gene, and are actually probably different expressions of the same disorder. I have no doubt that she was disciplined severely, as was her mother. My grandmother was told it was her fault her sister was crippled. It was not. My great aunt was born with a club foot, something that apparently pops up in our family occasionally. This kind of cruelty can cause great consequences for children. I decided to break that chain. I would not inflict my own depression on a child, and take the risk that I would leave him/her as emotionally crippled as I was for years.

These days my mother could probably have gotten help. Relatives and teachers knew we were abused, but were afraid to tell anyone. There were eventually seven children, and my Dad always seemed to be at work to support us. These days my mother might not have been an extroverted, gregarious person trapped at home in a rural area with many small children. I really think she would have been better off if she had been working. But that was not expected or even available in those days.

I have worked for years to see my mother as the flawed human being she was, doing the best she knew how with what was handed to her. I have forgiven her, and know that deep in her heart, I am sure she loved me. But it was necessary to dance on her grave, first.

I would probably have been crazier than I am if not for grandparents. I was fortunate that my grandparents all lived nearby, and that my grandfathers and one grandmother were loving and supportive. I am grateful they lived at least until I was in my 20s.


  1. I am lucky to have been born to a mother that was loving and it has given me a safe place in my heart but I married a man who had an abusive father (although with many wonderful qualities also). I see my husband struggle constantly to be a better father, to break his father’s legacy. He is doing a wonderful job but it is a painful struggle. He made the choice that was right for him but, I see how hard it is.

    Don’t hate Mother’s Day. Celebrate it instead as a day when you mother yourself. You chose what was right for you. Celebrate it!

  2. Wow. A very powerful post.

    My dad was an alcoholic. A violent man when drunk and he beat up my mom on more than one occasion until she left him just shy of their twentieth anniversary.

    I vowed that I would break that cycle and I have. Two, actually. I’m neither an alcoholic nor a wife beater.

    I think one of least unsung accomplishments of modern times is breaking those old cycles. All the ones that you never heard of, but knew were going on. Bad behaviour, in general, and the trauma that it causes, physical abuse, mental abuse, incest. Most things that make one queasy.

    The holiday itself is pretty much a made up holiday. Just do something nice for yourself (like Kym says above).

    Take care of you.

  3. Funny really the effect that manufactured “holidays” are not always that.

    I suffered from endo since my early teens – back in the day when it was “all in my head” and my own mom ended up with a hysterectomy at 31 because of it (I was adopted). I remember being told in my 20’s that I should just hurry up and have a baby or two and that would fix it. (Having my daughter didn’t do much by way of fixing it really). It is a vicious affliction.

  4. Thank you, Kym. I just spent the day quietly, and tried to avoid all the people who would wish me a Happy Mother’s Day.

    Thanks to you, too, Rob. It is good that we are breaking the cycles the best way we know how.

    Annie, you have my empathy. Been there, done that. Yeah, I know all about the “in your head” stuff. I never got treated decently until I found a female gynecologist. The male gynecologist told me to put a pillow under my butt when I had sex. Yeah, like that works. When your husband penetrates you and you scream, I think there is something wrong. My fibromyalgia was in my head for years, too.

  5. the holiday I hate the most is new year’s eve, to be avoided like the plague – all that pressure to have fun, start the year off with a bang. yuk.

    I’m glad you’ve been able to come to terms with what must have been an extremely difficult childhood. take Kym’s advice and be nice to yourself. evrey day, not just the Hallmark days of the year.

    happy tuesday x

  6. […] made-up holidays. But my dad has been special in my life. He was the one who defended me against my mother. He worked to put me through twelve years of parochial school, so that I can read and spell, and […]

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