“To the woman that doesn’t have a great relationship with her mom:
This element of your life isn’t easy. In fact, it totally sucks. It sucks feeling like you don’t have a mom. At least, not in the sense of what a mom means to most people. It sucks feeling like you can’t confide in the one person whom you should be able to. It sucks not being supported by the one person you want so badly to impress. It sucks being judged instead of loved. It sucks feeling like you have to walk on eggshells all of the time. It sucks getting great news and her face not being one of the first you want to tell. It just sucks. All of it.
How can a little girl not totally connect with her own mother? How can someone that raised you not be someone you completely adore being around? Or even, how can the person your mom birthed not be someone SHE enjoys being around? How can you go through life not being able to ask your mom for advice about any and everything?
But this is your life that you live every day. This is your reality. Your own mother is more like a long distant cousin than she is your closest friend.
Everywhere you look, you see fellow women with moms as their best friends. You see your friends confiding in their moms over boyfriends, work-related issues, and every-day-life. They can call their moms when they’re sick and their moms would be there in a second. Or they’d Doordash them some chicken noodle soup if they live out of state. These women can call their moms when they’re bored and just want to talk. They bond over The Bachelor. They bond over how different flavors of wine tingle different receptors on their tongue. They bond over a good Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel and they could talk for hours about decorating their homes the same way Joanna Gaines does.
But you can’t do that. You can’t do any of that. Your mom barely has a maternal bone in her body and you got the short end of the stick here. You can barely call your mom when you really need something, let alone hold a conversation longer than two minutes about a random topic. Holidays are always awkward and you try your best to pretend everything is okay. You make yourself believe that this is ‘normal’ and that some mother-daughter relationships are just this delicate. You force yourself to not dwell on it.
Your college roommate could call her mom and hold a conversation for hours about every single detail of her life. She could call her mom in the middle of the night just because she was missing her. Her mom always answered. Her mom always reciprocated the feeling. Your mom probably dropped you off at college and barely hugged you goodbye, thankful you were finally out of her house. At least…that’s what my mom did.
Is there something wrong with you? Did you do something as a child that forever tarnished your relationship? The short answer is no, there’s nothing wrong with you and there’s absolutely nothing you could have done as a child that would make your mother resent you. I don’t care if you were the biggest daddy’s girl and preferred your dad over her. I don’t care if you were a complete terror in your teens. You don’t deserve to bear that grudge.
You desperately want her attention and love. You desperately try for years to get it. You spend a long time thinking you aren’t worthy enough. The resentment is real, yet you still try. I see you trying. I see you trying to salvage what you two have left. As you get older you come to understand her role in your life more. As she gets older, you try to forgive her and move forward.
Maybe the purpose of this is to learn a lesson in your own parenting one day. Maybe you’re supposed to take this experience and apply it to your own children. Maybe you will have a daughter, or two, or four (like me!) and you’ll know to love them. You’ll do everything in your power to make sure they never feel like you don’t care. You’ll overcompensate and maybe even be a little too over-snuggly. You’ll say ‘I love you’ when you’re walking through the grocery store, just to make sure they always know. You’ll hold their hand while you sit on the couch just to make them feel safe.
You’ll know to do better because you know that better is the only option. This is the exact type of toxic cycle you know you have to break. You can’t mother your children like you were mothered.
It’s a lonely road. It feels so isolating when you can’t relate to those that have great relationships with their moms. It’s frustrating and heartbreaking. You get jealous easily of other amazing moms and you almost gravitate towards them. You wish so much that you were handed different cards.
But there is hope. My mother and I have worked slowly over the years to get to where we are today. We are taking our first mother-daughter trip this Spring. Our conversations have slowly gotten longer over the phone. Our rapport and empathy for each other has increased. There are still boundaries that I have set up but they aren’t as tall as they used to be. We are both trying and we are both welcoming this relationship for what it is.
I’ve learned to love the role she is meant to play in my life. I’ve learned to accept it as well.
One day you will, too, in your own way and on your own terms.
Until then…I understand. I understand how hard this is and I send you a thousand virtual hugs. You’re not alone in this journey.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Molly Schultz of Tried and True Mama. You can follow her on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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