Welcome to the Happy Crappy Mother’s Day Club!

Mother’s Day is coming up right quick here.


I guess. I don’t know.

I do know that about this time of year 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 Happy 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.

See also Mothers Daze, and,  Mother’s Day: Just Two Tardy Gay Winos and an Unfortunate Little Person

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Colleen

    My mother was mentally ill, therefore unfit to be a mother, but it wasn’t her fault, yet I still feel

    badly when Mother’s Day rolls around. I guess I feel bad because I can’t blame my mother for

    my bad childhood, and I can’t blame society, and I won’t blame God….sometimes it is what it is

    in this life. Fortunately, I have wonderful children today who know that I love them, so there’s

    the trade off.

  • I, too, believe my mom had an undiagnosed mental illness. I hated Mother’s Day, b-day, etc when she was alive because she expected so much more than I could emotionally give. Now that she’s gone, I’ve come to terms with the mother I didn’t have, and the one I had. It is what is.

  • Oh, and I love the cartoon. And your posts (linked in here) have been so helpful to me, John. Thank you.

  • Jeannie

    John, I can so relate – but not about Mother’s Day. I used to have crabby Father’s Days for similar reasons that you outlined about mothers. However my Mother’s days are difficult for me. For one, I am celebrating yet another one without my mother, who died too d@mn early and without seeing any of her grandchildren from me. And this year, Mother’s Day arrives on the anniversary of the stillbirth (birthday?) of my first child. It is a mixed bag of emotions indeed. I will smile when my little girls give me their handmade treasures, but wish with everything in me that I could have just one more talk with my mom. And, I will wonder one more time if I somehow did anything to cause a premature birth for my oldest. Everybody has assured me that there was nothing I could have done, but still I wonder.

    So, we will all have our ups and downs on that day. I wish you and your readers a peaceful Mother’s or Un-Mother’s day anyway.

  • Just FYI, I created a custom shortlink so I could share this post with my friends on Twitter:


    I hope they'll go ahead and read the "related posts o' mine" you shared at the bottom, too. Good stuff, John. Thanks.

  • Audrey Falkner

    Dear Jeannie,

    I was saddened and touched by your letter and felt I should reach out to tell you God doesnt make mistakes and our lives are in his hands when we accept him as our saviour.I certainly hope your mom is but I do know that your baby is in heaven,where there is no pain ,no problems.I have been a critical care nurse for close to 30 yrs and I honestly believe that we cannot die until our time comes that it is written in the book of Life(Our time and Only )God knows the time.I will pray for you and hope that God will lift this buden and sense of guilt so you may live everyday with joy , happiness and God's grace in you life

    Love in Christ.

    Audrey Falkner

  • John

    Yes, being a great parent seems the only way to redress those early slights. I really know what not to do with my son, and we are very happy together…

  • Morgan

    Mothers day for me means calls from my kids and grand kids and the special present I purchase each and every year for myself with hubbys money and then he can say he bought me what I wanted. My mom? Why care about someone who could have cared less about me? Mothers day means another present for ME!

  • Sherry

    Today I love my mom. It wasn’t always like that. She has her warts and I have mine. Today we respect each other and enjoy each other’s company. I’m grateful that we both made it to this place because the 70s sucked and the 80s weren’t that much better except that’s when she got sober. Today she’s 30 years sober and a great mom. Me…I’m 8 years sober and trying to be a great daughter.

  • textjunkie

    The preacher this morning at church was talking about the medieval image of Christ as mother, playing up the nurturing, supportive, comforting aspects; the role of Lydia in getting the church started in Europe, and her aspects of being a leader, a mentor, gutsy; and the role of other women role models and mentors in our lives. I thought of your blog entry–and all the other friends I've known over the years who had rotten relationships with their mothers, because good grief there are plenty–and it seems like a good day to celebrate and give thanks for all the women who weren't our mothers but played mothering roles in our lives. For the ones who who nurtured and comforted and offered support and guidance and leadership along the way. The ones who were positive role models. For their gifts, their gutsiness, and their presence.

    May you have a blessed day, John!

  • terence

    Count yourself blessed… the mother's day sermon i had to endure was wholesale endorsement of any human being with a uterus.

  • Luciana

    Yikes! Just discovered your blog and books, think that you're worth listening to. But where did this venom come from?