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Can a mother really be your best friend? I have friends and family members who claim it is possible. At the very least, they consider their moms to be some of the people they are closest to. Someone they can go to for anything.

I wonder what that’s like.

It must be nice to have someone to call when you had a hard day and need an encouraging word. Or have a home to go to and know you will get a comforting meal and a hug. A safe place where there is no judgement or negativity, only unconditional love.

I don’t know what that’s like, and sometimes it makes me sad.

I have a mother here on this Earth, and she is in my life, but our relationship is strained and distanced—a necessary measure to keep my heart intact.

I’m endlessly stuck in the dilemma of wanting to cut out my mother—the woman who prayed for me and grew me in her womb—from my life to save my sanity, to believing she will become the mother I pray for, someone who is warm, positive, and loving.

My reality is that neither is likely to happen. 

I read stories of women who love their mothers and have such special bonds with them, and I can’t help but be a little envious. How did they get such wonderful moms? 

Sure, there were good times growing up. My sister and I lived in a comfortable home and our physical needs were met. My mom loved celebrations and made Christmas a kid’s dream.

But love doesn’t come in packages. It isn’t wrapped up in a pretty bow. Love should speak from soul to soul. It’s a warm grip of a mother’s hand when you’re scared. It’s a hug that you never want to end. It’s three simple words that speak from the heart and are never forced.

It’s hard to be a mom myself when I don’t have my own to lean on in times of difficulty. I’m afraid to pick up the phone and call my mom because I never know what kind of mood she will be in, and I don’t know if I have the energy to fight off the negativity that rolls so freely from her tongue.

I spent many years in agony grieving my mom and the emotional neglect I experienced. Then one day I decided I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I wouldn’t let her dark waters pull me under.

I realized that I can’t control her, and I can’t change her. I am only in charge of my happiness. So I keep her at an arm’s length. 

While my mom isn’t a role model of how I want to mother my children, she sets the mold of what not to be. I want to make sure my kids know how much I love them and how grateful I am to have them in my life. I don’t just tell them I love them—I show them.

I show them with countless hugs for no reason other than I want to hold them. 

I show them with kisses—goodnight kisses on the lips, and pecks on their cheeks and hands, soaking up every bit of that sweet child innocence.

I show them by telling them I miss them when I’m at work and encourage them to share with me their feelings. Love is big and complex and deserves to be talked about.

So while I grieve the mom I never had, I’m giving my all to make sure I am the mom my kids need. My kids will know how much I love them because they will feel it. They will know their worth and never question how happy and proud I am to be their mom.

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My Toxic Mother Made Me a Better Parent

To My Mom: I Get It Now

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