How Do You Handle Mother’s Day When Your Mother Was Abusive?



TV ads this weekend make all mothers ready for instant canonization… but as readers of The Invisible Scar know, not all mothers are good mothers.

So, how do handle a day dedicated to motherhood when your own mother was abusive and so not worthy of gifts or cards?

You have two choices:

  1. Ignore the day (The day is for good mothers, not terrible ones. You don’t have to celebrate it.)
  2. Acknowledge the day in your own way

If you choose to ignore the day, you need not read on.

If you choose #2, you can recognize the holiday in different ways. Here’s a look at a few of them.

Celebrate what motherhood means to you

If you’re a mother, celebrate what a gift that your children are to you, what an amazing opportunity you have to parent in a different way from which you were brought up. You can stop surrendering the day to your own mother and now claim the holiday as YOURS.

Motherhood is a beautiful, difficult, wonderful, and challenging vocation, when done right. Celebrate the journey that you are on.

Honor maternal figures in your life

Your own mother may have been a study in horror, but you may have good examples of motherhood in your life. Perhaps an aunt or a good friend or even a coach, some adult in your life who has taken on a motherly role.

Take this opportunity to let this woman know how much her presence has meant to you and what a blessing she has been to your life.

Mother yourself

You may have a mother-sized hole in your heart, but you can take time today to think about how you can take better care of yourself. Yes, your mother was an awful example of motherhood… Yes, she treated you very badly. But you can stop letting her do so. You can stop listening to all the bad self-talk that is actually her in your head and now start speaking to yourself in the loving, kind tones that a good other does.

Make a commitment to treat yourself with respect, love, encouragement, and gentleness. You are a gift to the world, and though your own mother might not have appreciated it or been unable to properly demonstrate gratitude for the gift, we are all so glad you are here.

* * *

On this upcoming Mother’s Day, keep safe and keep strong. Don’t cave into sentiment or cling to an ideal that cannot be. It’s only one day, it’s only a holiday.

Onward and upward…