You hear a lot about being mothered during your mothering season . . .
Calling your mom throughout the day to share your ups and downs.
Calling to hear a soothing voice to get you through your child’s tantrums.
Calling to ask your mom to come with you to doctor’s appointments you’re nervous about.
You hear about how you now understand what your mom went through raising you as you’re raising your littles.
But you don’t hear about the pain a girl feels who longs for a bond with her own mother.
You hear about people inviting their moms for sleepovers on the weekends because it’s such a joy—the kids are ecstatic and you’re over the moon to share your morning coffee with your mother.
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But you don’t hear about me, the mom who doesn’t have her mother.
Not because my mother has passed or lives far away but because her presence is too painful. Because sleepovers are daunting and make me feel trapped.
I grew up with an overbearing and narcissistic mother. A mother who adored me, yes, but who robbed me of my childhood. I’d like to say through no fault of her own, the cards she was dealt were just horrible, but as a child I never understood it. Now that I’m grown, I understand it, but I cannot justify it.
I don’t enjoy conversations with my mom like most.
I avoid contact at all costs because it’s too painful.
Hearing the constant criticism and the empty apologies. Hearing the constant complaining and feeling the depth of guilt in the bottom of my soul for even having these feelings.
It’s lonely having a mom but feeling like you don’t have one.
It’s lonely having heavy feelings you wish you didn’t have and putting on this mask every day. The mask of being okay and grateful to have your mom.
It’s lonely acting like I understand and validate her behavior because of her struggles.
It’s lonely being a mom without your mom to call for advice.
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I don’t want your takeaway from this to be that my mom was a bad person. On the contrary, she did the best she could with the resources she had, with a husband who was anything but present and supportive. I recognize that he is equally to blame if not more, but since being a mother, I’ve felt how much I wish I had my mother next to me.
People tell me to be grateful, people tell me that losing a parent is nothing compared to what I’m feeling now. People tell me that she’s trying and the ball is in my court now, but people cannot see my pain, they cannot feel my pain, they have not lived my pain.
I envy my friends who call their mothers to pass on how their day went.
I long for the bond I see when a mother is with her daughter in the delivery room. I feel anxiety and stress when my mother is around, and I pray I had been dealt different cards.
It’s lonely being this way.
It’s lonely feeling like there’s nothing I can do to fix things.
It’s lonely being a mom who doesn’t have her mom to rely on.