I Am Not My Mother

Even as a child, Mother’s Day always felt dark to me.
I’ve mentioned before how toxic my mother was. Wish I could say she’s changed, but she hasn’t.
To this day I get flashes of my little 5yr old body hitting the red linoleum tile in our dining room….I don’t remember why she kept knocking me to the ground like that. It was probably something I said or didn’t say, something I did or didn’t do. Maybe I wasn’t turning out the way she imagined I would. Doesn’t really matter why, it was wrong.

I Am Not My Mother. I may not be able to celebrate my mother on Mother’s Day, but I can celebrate the mother I am.
She would go to church and pretend to be this super spiritual person. She knew all the right scriptures to quote, she knew all the prayers.
She had so many people fooled. I knew who and how she really was.
My mom used to tell me on a weekly, if not daily basis that I was a spoiled, rebellious brat.
I think she got off on beating me. She especially loved to use her hands. She would slap me, punch me, kick me, push me.
She never told me she loved me. She acted like she could tolerate me in public, but I faced her wrath throughout the day in private.

As a child I would ask myself why she didn’t love me, what did I do that made her hate me, and what could I do to make her love me. I was very depressed and withdrawn growing up.
One of the most important relationships in my life turned out to be one of the most abusive.

I remember watching my friends with their moms and wondering what it must have felt like to have their mothers unconditional love.

I know my mother had an abusive childhood(that’s all I know, she would never talk about it) and that’s part of the reason she was so abusive towards me.
Part of me feels sorry for her, for the child she was, and how she had no one to protect her. The other part of me is still so angry at her for ruining my childhood. I was a child! I did not ask to be here. It was not my job to meet her emotional needs. She broke me. She made me feel unloved, completely worthless, and had me contemplating taking my life when I was only 12.

That woman physically, verbally, and mentally abused me until I was 14 and decided to fight back in the only way I knew how. I came home after school and she was in a mood, she hit me and I hit her back. I remember telling her that she was never going to put her hands on me again.

And she wonders why we have no relationship today.

When I look at my children it’s hard for me to wrap my head around how she couldn’t try to do better.
There is always another way. About eight years ago, I would’ve easily headed down the same path she did. I felt uncontrollable rage, I was annoyed that my daughter wasn’t turning out to be who I thought she should. I used to spank and yell at her , and it ripped me apart. She did not deserve that. I knew I had to stop and I did. I knew I had to find another way and I did. It hasn’t been an easy road.  I had to allow myself to grieve my childhood and the mother I never had, the mother I should’ve had. It wasn’t my fault. I was an innocent child. I was worthy of being loved.

It’s taken me years of counseling, journaling, and praying  to realize that getting upset with my children or feeling frustration does not make me ‘just like my mom.’ For years I mothered under this dark cloud. That’s why I’ve been so incredibly hard on myself in the past.
I had no guide for what a mother could or should be.

Here I am, making the choice to do better every. single. day.
I’ve stopped striving for perfection, instead I focus on being the mother my children need. I’m going to make mistakes and I apologize when I do.
This is why I talk about motherhood as much as I do. It’s healing for me to mother my children the way I do, and it’s important to me that they know how loved, amazing, and capable they are. I love how close we are and I pray we’ll always be as close as we are now.

I may not be able to celebrate my mother on Mother’s Day, but I can celebrate the mother I am.

To moms who have children here on earth, moms who have children in heaven, and moms who have lost their mother.

To the moms who are estranged from their mother, moms who are mothering their children in the way they wish their mother would’ve.

To the single moms, special needs moms, adoptive moms, soon-to-be moms…
Happy Mother’s Day to you!

May Writing Prompts (1)

19/52 What’s Your Story?