Mother’s Day has always been a difficult one for me. While the person that gave birth to me is alive, we no longer speak. She’s toxic, personality-disordered and in no way a healthy person to have in my life.
It can be hard though as the festival of mums approaches. The shops fill with reminders, emails are sent from online stores, and Facebook fills with outpoured sentiments all proclaiming that THEIRS is the best mum of all.
All that cultural conditioning meant that it took me a long time to cut my mother out of my life. My Nanna always convinced me that I should talk to her and it was only after she passed away I learnt that this was because it got my mother off her back; constant phone calls crying about how no-one loved her and how awful her daughters were.
It wasn’t just peer pressure though. There’s an idea of what a mum is and no matter how much my mother failed to live up to this, there was still a part of me that thought that perhaps she could. One day. If only I could be the daughter that she wanted me to be. Someone that neither of us could figure out what they were like. Her; with slaps, kicks, put downs and bizarre archaic punishments; me with self harm and quiet desperation.
I woke up this morning and still felt sad. I thought it’d be wonderful – no more reason to feel bad on Mother’s Day but honestly I’m still heartbroken and having my son makes me wonder how could she have done that?
Anyway, I’ve had a lie in. It’s 9.35am and R is down for his nap with me. I’m so happy that we had him and maybe this is the day of the year that cements my commitment to gentle parenting and not ending up like my mother.
I’m lucky to have met a fantastic bunch of mamas since I had R. They’re all inspiring me to do my best, to be loving, nurturing, and responsive to my baby’s needs now and in the future. Thanks to them, my husband and my wonderful son, doubts that I had about having children, about not being able to cope and resorting to reverting to the parenting example I had have been erased. I think our family is going to be alright..