Order Soon for Christmas Delivery!🎄 ➔

It starts with the commercials—images of smiling families, pampered moms, jewelry, flowers, and lots and lots of love. Then you notice the signs in store windows—usually purple ones—reminding everyone of the upcoming holiday so they can be sure to shop and plan accordingly. Mother’s Day is coming, and anywhere you look you’re being told that it’s almost time to celebrate. 

But Mother’s Day isn’t always a celebration. 

In fact, for some, it’s very, very painful. 

Maybe you’ve lost your mother. Maybe you’ve longed to celebrate as a mother, but for whatever reason, this year isn’t the one. Maybe you never had a mother. Or maybe the mother you had was harmful, disappointing, or distant. There are plenty of reasons why you may not picture jewelry boxes and smiles when you think of Mother’s Day, and honestly, that’s OK. 

The world tells us that mothers and daughters are best friends, that there is no bond like that of a mother and her child. And as true as that may be for some, it isn’t a universal truth. 

Sometimes mothers, pure and loving as the title implies, are monsters.

RELATED: I Wish I Had a Mother Who Cared

I start feeling “off” about a week before the big Sunday. Maybe it’s the commercials, maybe it’s the social media posts, but I know Mother’s Day is coming, and I start hurting. I see how much other women love their mothers, how close they are, and even though I’ve known my whole life that I didn’t have that with my own mother, it hurts to be reminded of it. Even though she’s always been harmful, I never dull to the pain of it. 

Every year my kids start getting excited about Mother’s Day, start coming home with crafts and cards they’ve lovingly made by hand. They can’t wait to celebrate me, and I feel so guilty that I don’t share their enthusiasm. I want to be excited. I want to have a sweet day being loved on. But I cannot escape the cloud that hovers around Mother’s Day, no matter how many times someone reminds me that I’m not her, that I’m doing better than my own mom did. 

Every year I fake the smiles, thank my children a little too enthusiastically, then retreat to my room and cry. 

RELATED: Dear Uninvolved Family, I’m Sad You Don’t Care Enough To Know Us

I cry because I’ve been on edge for days leading up to Mother’s Day, been short-tempered and irritable with my kids and husband. I cry because as much as we love our children with all that we have, we still have to admit that motherhood is really, really hard, and rarely does one day of lunch and cards make up for that.

But mostly I cry because I’m sad. Because the scars a bad mom can leave on you may heal but will forever ache.

I cry because even though I’ve accepted that my mother will never be who I need her to be, I still mourn the mom I didn’t get. I cry because I deserved better—not in the form of diamonds from my kids, but in the form of love from the person who the world assumes gave it unconditionally. 

Most people don’t understand. They love their moms and are loved in return, just as it should be. I don’t blame them for their sappy posts and smiling pictures. I feel a pang of jealousy when I see what they have and compare it to what I never did, and the stab of shame when people don’t understand why you’re not close with your mom.

RELATED: She Will Always Be My Mother But She Will Never Be My Friend

We tend to hide our feelings, those of us with harmful moms, only making Mother’s Day harder. So few people understand, they assume you’re some kind of monster because you’re not best friends with your mom. We’re told to love our moms no matter what, told we should be grateful to have a mother at all. We’re told that blood is thicker, that she did as well as she could.

We’re told a lot of things by a lot of people who just don’t get it, people who get to make loving and appreciative posts on social media . . . people who don’t hurt on Mother’s Day. 

Last year, I took a stand. I knew that Mother’s Day was coming up, and I could feel myself starting to withdraw. I knew I deserved to be celebrated on Mother’s Day, and that meant doing what I wanted, not what commercials and card companies told me I needed to do. 

So I skipped Mother’s Day. 

I didn’t go to church. I didn’t dress up. I didn’t even leave my bed. I slept in and wept in peace while my family was out of the house. I grieved as I needed to without having to put on a show first. We explained to our kids that we would be celebrating Mother’s Day the next day, on Monday, so they didn’t come home full of expectation and excitement. I didn’t have to wait in line for two hours at a restaurant, didn’t have to feign thanks, didn’t have to see dozens and dozens of other happy families celebrating a day I just could not enjoy. 

RELATED: To the Woman Struggling To Face This Mother’s Day

I stayed in bed and felt all that I needed to. Once the expectation was removed from the Sunday, Monday was beautiful. There weren’t long lines at the restaurant, the posts and commercials had moved on, and there was no compulsion to make the day something I couldn’t. I got to have my own day, free of pressure, free of faking. I got to hear what my children wanted to say and enjoy what they wanted to give. The Monday after Mother’s Day isn’t supposed to be anything special, so I didn’t feel like there was a standard to live up to or an appreciation I was lacking because I didn’t call my mom. I got my own day with my own family enjoying them and feeling appreciated, not disappointed. My grief didn’t overshadow their love.

Mother’s Day hurts, so I don’t celebrate it. And I’ve never felt better.

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Her View From Home

Millions of mothers connected by love, friendship, family and faith. Join our growing community. 1,000+ writers strong. We pay too!   Find more information on how you can become a writer on Her View From Home at https://herviewfromhome.com/contact-us/write-for-her//

Moms Are the Real Christmas MVPs

In: Motherhood
Mom and little girl looking at Christmas tree

Browsing through shelves of holiday books in the children’s section of the library, I am reminded of the CD my mom checked out from the library every holiday season. It was the Alvin and The Chipmunks version of all the classic Christmas songs. We would listen to that CD in the car all season long. Alvin and his buddies, Theodore and Simon, would belt out the Christmas classics we all know and love, but in their squeaky little chipmunk voices. It became a favorite tradition for my sister and me. Since this isn’t the ’90s and cars nowadays don’t have...

Keep Reading

What I Know For Sure About Having a Tween

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Tween close up of braces on teeth

They all say it’s coming. I have an inkling it might be true. Yet I’m holding on–I’m believing the same things that worked when you were a little girl, will work during the tween years too.  Some of my methods might need tweaking, but the principles are the same. When you’re upset, you’ll still want to be held. It just might take you a little longer to realize it. When your feelings are hurt, you’ll still want to be heard. I might not have as many answers, but I can still offer my listening ears. RELATED: The Secret to Parenting...

Keep Reading

Don’t Fear the Gap

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Baby lying on mother's chest, black-and-white photo

I was afraid of the gap. You know, the one where you have some kids and then wait several years to have another? That gap. When we moved here, we kept all the baby things because we weren’t ready to say we were done but weren’t ready to start over. Moving to the farm brought wayyy more chores than our neighborhood home and adding a tiny human to that mix felt a bit crazy. RELATED: I’ll Always Want Another Baby There were months of back and forth . . . talk of barefoot baby feet stomping all over this place...

Keep Reading

The Magic of Having Kids Who Still Believe in Santa Is Worth the Christmas Chaos

In: Motherhood
Kids looking at Elf on the Shelf toy

Our elves showed up sometime in the night between Thanksgiving and Black Friday, just as they have every year for the last seven.  All three of our kids had been excited for their arrival, but we noticed our oldest was especially eager this year.  “Our elves come this month!” he announced on November 1, eyes twinkling with anticipation. He counted down nearly every night after, and once they finally showed up we found him in the corner talking to them several times throughout the day.  “How was the trip from the North Pole?” “Man, I’ve sure missed you guys.” “What...

Keep Reading

It’s Exhausting Being a Teacher and a Mom in the Month of December

In: Living, Motherhood
Mom and two kids smiling by Christmas tree

I absolutely love Christmas. In fact, I start listening to Christmas music right after Halloween. I’m always itching to put decorations up as soon as my other family members are willing. I love the magic of the season, the giving and the meaning behind all of it. By the time November begins, I’m ready to take on the holidays in full force as both a teacher and a mom. If I’m being honest though, Christmas as a teacher mama is both magical and downright exhausting. There are parties for both my own children and my students. There are gifts to...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, If Something Feels Off, It Probably Is—Trust Your Intuition

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter black and white photo

A few weeks ago, my 7-year-old daughter was playing at a friend’s house when she messaged me on her game tablet to come pick her up. I didn’t ask why I just went to get her. I asked her once she was home how it was, and she told me she had a weird feeling and she was just “trusting her guts,” which I loved hearing her say. Apparently, her friend had a bunch of extended family show up at the house that we were unaware of. She is extremely outgoing, friendly, and confident so she thought nothing of listening...

Keep Reading

Being a Working Mom When Kids Get Sick Is Complicated

In: Living, Motherhood
Mom holding baby on couch

I didn’t know what my ringtone sounded like until I went back to work after maternity leave. “You know it’s always on silent,” I would say every time I missed a call from my husband. “What’s the point of having a phone if you never answer your calls?” “Who calls these days? Text me like a normal person!” It was a circular conversation, lighthearted, and not intended to bring about change. He will always prefer to call, and I will always prefer to keep my ringer off. But when I got my first early pickup text from my daycare provider...

Keep Reading

What Single Moms Really Need

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mom holding toddler on hip outside on dirt road

No, you’re not a single mom for a weekend. I’ve heard it said at social gatherings, in passing at church, and on social media. Perhaps the words are being uttered in a state of awe as if comparing themselves to valiant warrior princesses, knights in shining armor, heroes.  Usually though, it’s an under-the-breath complaint about being left by their otherwise attentive and loving spouse for the week or weekend. “I’m a single mom this weekend; my husband is on a golfing trip with his brothers.” “My husband is away for work, so I feel like a single mom this week.” ...

Keep Reading

10 Lessons I Hope You Learn Playing Youth Sports

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boy dribbling down basketball court, black-and-white photo

Last night was my sixth grader’s last basketball game of the season. He played with many of the same gang of boyhood friends he has known since kindergarten. This year, however, they were introduced to a traveling team, older players, and much stiffer competition than they had encountered in the past. They stood the test and played their little boy hearts out. I am proud of my son, his team, his coaches, and all the familiar faces we came to know in the Greenwood Laboratory School cheering section each week, sometimes two to three times in one week!  Here’s to...

Keep Reading

I Love You At Every Stage

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three children at park, color photo

Confession: I love the 1-year-old phase. Our youngest is one and such a joy to be around. He’s still so cuddly, finds such joy in the smallest things, is learning new things every day, and smiles at every little thing his big brother and sister do. I love the 3-year-old phase. Our only girl is three. She has a flair for the dramatic, but she is very forthright with her feelings. “I’m having a hard time.” “I just miss my daddy when he’s at the Fire House.” “I’m a princess.” “God made me beautiful.” She is quick to be a...

Keep Reading