When Mothers’ Day Hurts

Mothers’ Day is today, and for most, this is a really happy time where you can celebrate your mums. For me, though, it’s quite painful.

Without going into too much detail, because I do love my mum, my sisters and I aren’t able to have a relationship with our mum due to mental health issues. Living separate lives is the best thing for all of us, but it still hurts.

There are a lot of people out there who are, like us, unable to celebrate Mothers’ Day. For whom the cards and teddies and mugs shouting “You’re The Best Mum Ever” brings pain rather than joy. Perhaps their mum isn’t with them anymore. Perhaps, actually, they haven’t got that great a mum. Perhaps, they’re not able to be a mum themselves.

For us, life without a mum has been difficult at times but we’re much stronger for it. I remember a little after Mum left my teenage sister needed new bras and wasn’t able to go to dad to ask to go shopping for more, so I stepped in. Dad has since adapted to be able to provide the grumbling, grumpy dad advice he has always given, but also been challenged to provide more of a care giver role as well. We’ve all chipped in to support each other, despite being a (wo)man down in the family.

Every year when Mothers’ Day comes around, my fingers itch over the keyboard to help other people who are in a similar situation to see that they’re not alone…but up until now, I’ve not. So here it goes.

Mothers’ Day is by and large a commercial explosion of emotional tugging towards buying gifts, going out for over priced meals, posting endless photos of mothers and grandmothers smiling happy. But there are many people who sit and hide away from all this because it isn’t their reality. It isn’t mine.

Being a parent is damned hard, but not everyone is suited to parenting. Sometimes mums aren’t the best – sometimes they try but actually it’s a relationship that isn’t working. Maybe it will in the future, but it’s something they have to take a step back from. If this is something that’s familiar to you, then you might find comfort in this Reddit group. Even if the title of the page doesn’t feel right (as I said, my mum fights her own demons, so sometimes it doesn’t feel fair), I certainly felt a lot better reading other peoples’ experiences and relating to them.

I love my sisters more than anything in the world and this whole experience has brought us even closer together. Every day I feel motherly love and worry towards them, and when I’ve felt really low myself, they’re the reason why I want to try harder. For the longest time I thought that my poor relationship with mum was something I had to myself, but knowing that they had also suffered makes me want to protect them and build them up so that they don’t have to experience that kind of pain again.

To finish, I’d like to say that my own experience of why mothers’ day hurts is just one example of why this day sucks for some people. I’d like to dedicate this post (which has taken years to write; every year I write something and then delete it, not wanting to cause people pain):

This goes out to the siblings who are rock solid and provide parental support to each other when they’re in need.

This goes out to all the dads who suddenly have to learn about bras and periods and emotions.

This goes out to all the people who go through challenges, thinking “I really wish Mum was here”.

This goes out to anyone who has to go through Mothers’ Day in pain. Including mums who are unable to be with their families.

This goes out to women who have lost babies. To children who have lost mothers.

This goes out to those for whom today is painful.




  1. Thank you for writing this.
    Pina at One Two Culinary Stew recently posted…Lavenham Blue Vintage Tea Rooms – Lavenham, Suffolk (UK)My Profile

  2. Wonderful post Charlotte. Take care xx

  3. Well done for writing this. I haven’t always got on well with my mum in the past, but we’re okay now. I do hate Mother’s Day for other reasons though. I would give anything to be a mother but it just isn’t working for us. I still have Swiss/German Mother’s Day to come in May as well. Much love to you xx
    Confuzzled Bev recently posted…Friendship Blogger AwardMy Profile

    • Charlotte says

      I know quite a few people who are trying right now, without luck. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re one of them. I think you’d make an excellent mum xx

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