Logging into Facebook today, Mother’s Day, and seeing it flooded with photos of my friends with their mothers as they pay tribute to them, has left my heart aching and is yet another stark reminder that I have never experienced the bond these friends so clearly feel with their mother. Those of you who read my post The Child Of An Alcoholic will appreciate that Mother’s Day didn’t loom large in my past. However, I have tried hard not to let history repeat itself and truly hope that I deserve love and recognition from my family this Mothering Sunday.
But being loved by your children is not a given, it is something that must be earned. One of the most common reactions from my friends when I divulged how much I loathed my mother was “but she’s your mother” as if this mere fact of biology should excuse her all of her sins.
Most people never question whether they love their mother and even if their relationship is stormy, it is founded on that love. When my mother-in-law died I was surprised to find that her daughter with whom she appeared to have a loving relationship, was actually pretty indifferent and it was a sense of duty that had underpinned that relationship all the time I’d known her. I guess it was easier for my sister-in-law to maintain this façade as she was the ‘chosen’ one, the favourite amongst her siblings. I was unable to be so charitable seeing at first hand the damage that my mother-in-law’s overt favouritism had done to my husband and our children’s bafflement when she subsequently applied this divisive approach to her grandchildren.
In a perfect world you can expect your mother to be your biggest fan, to love and support you come what may, and I really hope that my children feel this to be the case with me. The bond between a mother and child is probably the most powerful relationships either is likely to experience but it can also be an incredibly difficult and painful one that can shape future relationships and taint lives.
A good mother loves her child unconditionally, offers advice without interfering, supports choices without judgement and celebrates success without conceit.
I’ve tried my best over my thirty something years of motherhood but like everyone I’ve had periods of doubt, been wracked with guilt on occasions and wished there were things I could do all over again, only better. At the end of the day I am trying to be satisfied with not being a perfect mother, but hopefully being a good enough one.