May is a time to reflect and honor all the mothers out there with this American Hallmark holiday – Mother’s Day, but what if you don’t have a great relationship with your mother?
We put moms on pedestals and praise them, after all, they are the givers of life and everyone born into our world has one. Women who can bare and give life are downright miracle workers and should be praised with the highest of honors. Personally, I think being a mom is one of the hardest jobs and selfless jobs. It is not a short-term commitment, and you are constantly being judged either by your kids, your family, your friends, your spouse, teachers, and society.
I know so many people who have had loving mothers and they would cross the world for them. It is the very least thing you can do to honor all the sacrifices she has made for you but giving birth and giving life is not the same thing as being a mom. There are many people out there that don’t have good moms. What if you are one of those people watching everyone celebrate, pamper, and praise their mothers on this holiday? Some people have had great moms and they are no longer with us, so while everyone out there is celebrating, some are mourning the loss of their matriarch.
My relationship with my mother was always rocky. We have a better relationship today then we did when I was younger, but it took decades worth of work to get to this point. This has hands down been my hardest relationship I’ve ever had to deal with, where forgiveness and change had to play a factor into. Parts of my differences are based on truth and perceptions of truth.
I admit, I had mommy issues most of my life and it doesn’t mean that I don’t love my mother. She is just who she is, and I am who I am. She was a young mother who had me when she was 17 years old. She didn’t know how to be a mother or a parent and when my father died seven months later, she took it very hard. We went through a very traumatic period that affected both of our lives. And that was the moment that the family unit was broken. It wasn’t her fault, and it surely wasn’t mine – life just happened. This event opened the door for several more traumas and losses and by the time I was seventeen and she was thirty-six, the world had disappointed us in so many ways.
Instead of this journey leading us to become closer, it drifted us further apart and because of my skin color, I had a harder time with acceptance by her and it left deep scars of no sense of self-worth and not feeling accepted. I wish we had a manual for how to deal with trauma, but we learned the hard way.
My perceptions of what a mother should be heavily lied upon this “Leave it to Beaver” mentality of how society portrayed the American family, and my life was everything but that, and I resented it. I resented not having a mom who loved to bake holiday dinners and cookies in the kitchen in her floral apron or was a PTA mom that helped raise money for children’s causes. My mother hated shopping and she wasn’t this prissy woman who was into high fashion shoes or handbags. She was a hard woman who had seen some things and dealt with things that most people shouldn’t go through. She was jaded by life and scarred by her own abandonment issues from her father and having an emotionally unavailable mother. But what happened? History repeated itself. My mother became her mother and her father leaving made me feel the same sting that she felt when my father was killed. Abandoned.
The universe is an interesting force that brings about many challenges and the one relationship I have had to work through is the one with my mother. Had she been a friend or a distant cousin, we would have parted ways decades ago but because she is my mother, we have been forced to come back to the table and work out our issues. There were times we both gave up on each other as she was not the image of the mother that I wanted her to be. I was not that Native son that she wanted so bad. When I was born, I had milk-white skin, black hair, and blue eyes. I was the European Spanish image of my father. She wanted the little boy version of her, the one that would grow up, be by her side and become the son that would take care of her.
We are not perfect.
For everyone out there who has had a tumultuous relationship with their mothers, you are not alone! Forgiveness and starting over is the key. It is hard not to take things personal when you expect certain results. My relationship with my mother is not the conventional one that society puts on images or posters or any of those Hallmark cards at the convenient store.
I am grateful to my mother for carrying me through nine months inside her womb, and who went through the trauma and labor of birthing me, to trying her best to keep us surviving and thriving in a world that wasn’t so kind. The universe really has a way with not giving us what we want, but what we need and although, we are so opposite of one another, today we are friends. And that has been a big step in the right direction. It’s been a long road to get here…