Happy Crappy Mother’s Day!

Every year on Mother’s Day I find myself feeling for all those whom the good Lord saw fit to birth unto a woman no more suited for motherhood than June Cleaver was suited for professional mud wrestling. All around them others are waxing rhapsodic about their loving, tender, wise, resourceful, self-sacrificing Exemplary Mother, while they’re stuck remembering how their loser witch of a mom used to feed them cat food, or lock them naked outside in the rain, or in some other way make clear they were basically crazy.

To we who belong in the Crappy Mother’s Day Club, I say this: besides selling mountains of over-priced, landfill-filling sentimentalized detritus, the reason d’etre for Mother’s Day is to fortify people’s desperate need to forever tell themselves that they had mothers who weren’t self-centered cretins who had no more business raising children than a fish has raising gerbils. They must tell themselves that they had a good mommy, and a happy childhood, and a wonderful family life, and that growing up everything for them was fabulous and sunny and happy and healthy. Because if they don’t tell themselves that — if for a moment they allow themselves to feel what an unhappy, crappy mother they had — then very quickly things start getting very bad for them indeed.

They know if they so much as go near that thread, the whole sweater will fall apart.

Hah! Losers.

Better to look in your wallet and know that you’re broke, than to never look in it and insist that you’re rich.

Happy Crappy Mother’s Day, you brave and unswerving adherents to the truth!

And to those of you lucky enough to have been blessed with a sane, good mother? We charter members of the HCMD club embrace you, sincerely wish you a wonderful Mother’s Day, and trust you’ll forgive us if we step out of your Mother’s Day celebration just the slightest bit early.

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  • Traci

    Oh, thank god for the truth…and the only laugh I will have today! You're the best, John. Wish you were here to help celebrate the crappy day. As my second best alternative, I will take Pippi the Puppy to the dog park where we will enjoy our genuinely sterling mother-daughter relationship.

  • Jen

    Great post.

    I found myself crying in church for yet another Mother's Day, wondering how many years it would take for me to stop.

    I haven't seen my biological mother since 1996, nor do I or her mother (who I barely have a relationship with–exchange Christmas cards) know where she is. Not to worry, at 36 years old myself, this is not quite the longest period I've gone without speaking to her…

    I have a step-monster…oh see…there I've already gone and typed the name my college roommate dubbed her with. You don't even want to know the perverse punishments she managed to come up with.

    So that leaves my paternal grandmother…the woman who took in my siblings and I when I was 6 months old and our parents had separated…and we lived with her (and our grandfather) until I was 5 years old. My sister and I called her "Mommy," and she struggled to break us of it. When I finally was able to leave my parents home, it was her house that I went to on college breaks. My grandfather gave me away at my wedding, my grandmother was the one who went shopping for a "mother of the bride" dress.

    My grandmother died rather unexpectedly in 2005 after a short illness. I didn't get to say "good-bye" because she went so quickly–she actually died the morning my family was packing up to drive across the state to be with her. My grandfather died last June.

    So every year at Mother's Day, I find myself crying in church…missing the only woman I ever called "Mommy."

  • Awesome.

  • Jeannie

    Well said. I am trying very hard to be a good mother, but the holiday brings up mixed feelings in me. My mother has been deceased for over a decade but it's only been in the past few years that I have had the courage to admit to myself that my mother did indeed love me, but she was also mentally ill. Her paranoid schizophrenia and agoraphobia deeply marked my life.

    I am grateful for all those who have wonderful moms and I certainly hope my children will grow up to count themselves in that camp. But I am angry and confused about my feelings surrounding my mother.

    It is a happy crappy mothers day indeed. Father's Day will be about the same.

  • John, I agree. Whenever Mother’s Day comes around I always feel such compassion for those people who are sitting in church among all the Mother’s Day whoopla knowing they never had the experience of a loving, caring mother. All the sentimental goopy stuff is little more than salt in the wound and a painful reminder of what they never had and probably spent their life longing for. I give a shout out to all those who find themselves suffering through yet another Mother’s Day. It will be over in a few hours….hold on!

  • Patti and I could not go to church yesterday. The mere thought of it made us ill. Thanks for this.

  • Ric: Whoa. Awful. All my love, brotherman.

  • Jeannie: Wow. Anyone can tell your comment came straight from the heart. Thanks for sharing something so deep with us.

  • Jen: WOW! What a gut-wrenching story. Terribly moving. Thanks for sharing this with us. Yow, man. Rough stuff.

  • Traci: I wish I was there with you yesterday, too. That would have been awesome. We could have played "Pinata Mom!" No … that would have been wrong. Just kidding. We could have played "Pin the Tail on the …." well, this seems like a good time to ditch this line of humor. It was good to hear from you (and Pippi). I was just thinking of you today, since on my blog today I posted a wee chunk' o' "I'm OK." What a blessing to me you were with that book!

  • Anita: NICE! Thank you.

  • Christine

    thanks John. I find myself every year crying with people I know who have lost their mother's, don't know their mother's, can't be mother's, or who, for whatever reason, were spose to be mother's and aren't. I spend my day with people who are forced to relive their pain every year and it makes me sad that they are forgotten a lot of the time. That said, my mother, with all her faults, treated me a hell of a lot better than a lot of mothers out there, and for that I am truely grateful, but I try to remember this everyday of the year, not just on mother's day.

  • susan

    I left my ex two years ago because of his alcohol abuse and physical and verbal abuse.

    Try having a "mother" (and I use that word very losely) that calls your ex every week. Try listening to your mother tell you that you're not deserving of having someone nice in your life and that none of my family wants me around.

    I finally spoke to a doctor about this behavior that has gone on all my life and I'm 48. He told to me to stop all contact with her and that's what I've done. I'm angry at her for all the crappy things she's done. God got her back though. She speaks in a whisper because of throat surgery gone bad.