Mother’s Day funk

I’ve been in a funk since Mother’s Day. Can’t say I’m fond of most holidays printed on a calendar unless they come with an extra weekend day to take a camping trip but don’t involve a guilt trip, unrealistic expectations or conflicting emotions. Those Hallmark holidays are usually a set-up for disappointment and frustration and this past Sunday was no different.

I’ve been a mother for more than half my life now and it remains the most challenging identity—far beyond that of being a daughter, wife, sister, or aunt. I became a mom at 19, two weeks shy of my 20th birthday. Six months after B’s birth, I went back to school and combined the roles of college student and single parent for the next seven years through undergraduate and graduate school. Those years are somewhat of a blur and must be why my body now demands at least eight hours of sleep a night because I certainly didn’t get those hours back then. Always a mid-term to study for, a paper to write in the hours after play, dinner, story and bedtime.

So I admit to having deflated expectations when the only contact I received from my first-born on Mother’s Day was a text message and a promise to call after work, (which she didn’t.) I know, I know, she’s 20, busy living her own life in the city. But what about all the years that I struggled to stay in school and raise her too? The nights of mopping her feverish forehead when I had a final to study for the following day, carrying her in a backpack to lectures because I couldn’t afford enough hours of childcare, taking out additional student loans (that I am still repaying) because quality preschool was twice the cost of our rent?

I don’t want to whine and wallow, but a little recognition, some acknowledgement would sure be nice. Yes, my feelings are hurt. I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but these feelings linger and I’m tired of pushing them aside.

I am so grateful for two healthy children, for being able to spend time with my own mother on Mother’s Day. But even when I try so hard to focus on these blessings in my life, I am derailed by negative emotions. Why? Is it that I try in vain to bury them so deep that others can’t see them? So others can’t judge me?


Author: TJ

adventurer, writer, photographer

7 thoughts on “Mother’s Day funk”

  1. I’ve been a mom since 23 myself..a single mom to three for a very long time. Now I have 5 and my two oldest will be leaving (fingers crossed) for the US Navy and College this September. My mother has been my saving grace, yet I did not see her on Mother’s Day and I think she’s hurt. I chose to go out with my childhood friend and her 21 year old daughter on a day trip to Newport RI. We strolled, had lunch, a couple of drinks, then coffee of course. I stayed later than I had planned so was kind of feeling like I had to get home (plus I got the “where are you? when will you be home?” phone calls) One day…that’s all I asked for. Geez! So anyway, the quick stop I was going to make at my mother’s (I did call to tell her I wouldn’t make it after all and I was a little aggravated with the man of my house so possibly the negativity in my voice irritated her) but the worst part, she lives around the corner…what would 15 more minutes be? I could have just gone and said screw him..he can wait a little longer. I always do!! When men get impatient…don’t get me going! So she hasn’t answered my email…probably a little ticked (like a text) it’s not the voice of the daughter you sacrificed for. I’m gonna bring her flowers tomorrow, along with the pink scarf from Newport.

    Happy belated Mother’s Day to you ; )


  2. tj-

    welcome back. i’ve missed your words in this space.

    there is so much tension in this post, tension i KNOW and try to muster my way through until it dissipates (instead of, you know, openly expressing it). it comes back so easily then, though.

    i admire your embrace of the hard stuff here today. sure, there’s plenty to be grateful for. that doesn’t always recuperate the grrrrrrr feelings, though.


  3. It’s not popular to be a complaining mother. We’re suppose to smile and cheer and never, ever complain.

    I’m weary of cooking. I’ve been doing it a long time. More than 2 decades and I’m all used up. I remember hearing my own mother say she was sick of cooking. I swore I’d never do that.

    I think it’s better that I give them boring food and tell them I’m weary than to put on a fake smile.

    I remember one time when my mother’s birthday came and went and I barely said hello. The next day she came to me, “It’s not that I needed something fancy. But an acknowlegement that I matter to you is important to me.” She not only changed my diapers, she taught me how to change my appreciation. By asking me to appreciate her. I never, ever missed another chance at a special day for her.


  4. I will say that you definitely have a right to feel disappointed. My last 2 (and only) mother’s days were a letdown too. I will also say at 20 and childless, you have no clue what your mom has gone through or what it takes to be a mother. It’s a pretty self centered time in life. I’ve probably done something like your daughter did, at some time in my life too.
    I didn’t “get it” until I had my own child.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s