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Mother’s Day is marketed as a day for us to honour the role our mother plays in our lives and family.  It celebrates the mother as someone who is nurturing, caring, selfless and someone who protects and provides for their children no matter what.  She is attuned to her children, supportive and a positive role model in their lives.

But what do you do if your mother was none of these things?

Within our culture we are aware a mother can be neglectful, self-centred, and physically/emotionally unavailable to their children.  We may experience our mothers to be critical, blaming, and unsupportive.  Yet this can be something which can be difficult to explore.

Why is it so difficult?

We may feel an obligation to be kind about our mother despite their failings.  We may see they were a product of their own parenting and were just doing the best they could.  And whilst this may be true, it is also a truth that you didn’t entirely have your needs met.

There can be a pressure to keep the status quo within a family, to not rock the boat.  If we try and voice our “true” experience within the family, it can be met with hostility and anger.  This can come from parents themselves or from others e.g., siblings who resent being faced with what feels like an inconvenient truth.   As a result, we can be labelled a troublemaker, ostracised, or even blamed for the problems.

It is not uncommon for people in the therapy room to talk about their anger and hatred for their mothers.  I often find people will apologise for speaking badly about their mothers which is something I will always challenge.  It is perfectly acceptable and ok to acknowledge the pain and distress you feel.


Why am I saying all of this?

Well, I am acknowledging that whilst Mother’s Day can be an opportunity for us to show our love and gratitude for our Mum, it can be a complex and painful day for others.  It can bring a sense of sadness and longing for the mother you didn’t have.  Seeing others celebrating Mother’s Day can activate deep wounds and feelings of loss.

Finding ways to protect and be kind to yourself will be of the utmost importance both in general and indeed on Mother’s Day itself.  Here are my tip tips:

1.Give social media a swerve

No one can predict the future, but I can guarantee your news feed will be awash with pictures of people depicting the perfect relationships with their mothers.  If your own experience is very different, don’t punish yourself by looking at it.  Besides, I am always aware we rarely know the truth behind the smiles.

2. Make a pledge to your own children

The relationship you have your mother may be a result of the relationship she had with her Mother.  In fact, the pattern may have repeated further back throughout the generations.  You have no power over the past, but you have an influence on the future and in the here and now.

How can you break the cycle with your children or the children you plan to have?  Or perhaps you have chosen not having children is the right path for you.  This is where counselling can play a vital role as it will help you explore issues, gain better insight, and helps you make different choices for the future.

3. Reach out to a friend

It might feel tempting to hide under the duvet and wait for the day to pass.  However, you could make plans with a trusted friend who understands why you don’t want to spend the day with your mother.

If you would like to know more about how I can help you, please do reach out to me.  I am just the push of a button away.