Someday I’ll write about my relationship — or lack thereof — with my mother, and the irony of having started the nation’s largest mother-led nonprofit in spite or because of our tenuous bond.
As someone with a complicated relationship with my mother and father I love these words from Glennon. So much of the foundation of who you are shakes when you lose a parent, even a bad parent, it takes time to reset the structure.
This ties into your writing about when your kids leave too, in that, I worked so hard to create a family with love, without the abuse and neglect, teaching them to be who they are, it was very hard not to feel the pain of letting them go. While waiting them to grow and start their own lives, it’s been sad to let go of this beautiful family I created. It’s evolved and is still beautiful but now it comes differently.
The book Mother Hunger helped me so much. Just being able to name it is powerful.
Listening to Oprah read this on the WCDHT podcast brought tears❤️ I lost my mother when I was 28, that is a different but similar kind of mother shaped hole...
I too had a complicated relationship with my mother. There were several years where I refused to have her in my life. This was when my children were small and could benefit from a relationship with their grandma but I did not trust her to provide unconditional love to them either. Towards the end of her life, she died of cervical cancer in 2014 at the age of 71, we were on speaking terms. While she was in hospice I sat with her and wished for her her to say two words that never came, "I'm sorry." I would like to imagine that wherever she is in her afterlife that she can see the woman I have become and know that she had a hand in that and be proud of me.
As much as I want to forgive my mother for all the crap I went through as a kid, I still can’t forgive her. My mother dumped me and my twin sister at our godmother’s house to go live her own life. She kept my older brother with her. We were always an afterthought and she made sure to let us know that we were a burden to her. We only saw her and my stepdad on special occasions like Christmas and Easter. When we were 12, she decided we could come live with her and my stepdad. My teenage years were only fun, because my parents were away a lot on the weekends. I steered clear of them and did my own thing.
As a mother, I swore I would never be like her. I haven’t spoken with her in 15 years. As far as I’m concerned, my MIL is my mother. I know it’s sad that I can’t forgive her or have her in my life, but I need to protect my heart.
From a man's perspective, I think your awareness of the tragedy of poor mothering drove you to ardent mothering.