Honoring a Bad Mom on Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day.

That means that everywhere both online and off, it’s about moms. This weekend’s Facebook feed has been filled with pictures of my friends with their moms, both past and present. Statuses saying how awesome their maternal parent was and how thankful they were for their moms. The commercials on the radio blast how it’s “not too late” to get mom that gift she deserves. (Because capitalism never rests!)

I am happy for my friends that they all have such a great relationship with their mothers. I am happy to be a mom to four beautiful children, each one a unique gift to the world. But I can’t say that I’m happy with my relationship with my own mother. We’ve never been close, due to mental illness and other factors in her when I was a kid. As adults, I’ve never felt unconditional love from her; it’s always been with a string. We apparently mutually disappoint, and so a meaningful relationship hasn’t existed.

But I’m still called to honor my mother. (It’s a mitzvah!)

But what does that mean? Does it mean, like it’s been used against me, that I must remain fully engaged in a relationship that is absolutely toxic for me? Does it mean I have to agree with someone 100 percent? No, I don’t think that helps anything. I do think that I can honor my mother in other ways. I may not like what she does to me and to others, but I don’t have to actively fight with her or against her. I can also honor her by being the best woman and mother that I can be. I can use the example shown to me and become a better person. I can try to be a better parent for my kids, to try not to make the same mistakes. I can succeed in life so that others will think well of her because of me.

Do you have a complicated relationship with your mother? How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

About Lynn Swayze

Lynn Swayze is a writer, IT professional , and mother of four. She was raised Southern Baptist, but began questioning her faith before she became a teenager. She is currently converting to Judaism. Email her at lynn {at} followingruth {dot} com.