When Mothers Aren’t

I’ve heard far, far too many stories recently about mothers who weren’t there for their children like they should have been. About mothers who raised their kids in a home almost devoid of love, with very few hugs and kisses, no “I love you’s” at bedtime, or any other time for that matter. Mothers who constantly criticized their children, who made them feel they could never be good enough; never measure up to their parents’ standards; who could never succeed at anything.

Mothers who made their children feel unwanted, unloved, and unworthy. Mothers who would punish their children severely for the least little infraction in very strict rules. Mothers who all but ignored their children; ignored their wants and needs because theirs were far more important. Mothers who would sometimes refuse to speak to their children for weeks at a time to punish them for some slight bit of disobedience, rather than talking it out with them and trying to come to an understanding of what was actually going on and work out differences.

Such mothers can be the difference between a well-adjusted child who becomes an adult ready to face the world, and a child who is totally unequipped to deal with the challenges and reality of life on his/her own.

My relationship with my mother was a good one, although not without its moments of arguments, disagreements, and yes, even ignoring each other at times. However, those times didn’t last long, because we had formed a bond between us that, although stretched a bit at times, was not easily broken.

In my case, a lot of that was because of my father’s untimely death when I was only eight years old. But I do believe more of it was because of who my mother was; how she had been raised; and her deep love of family which had been instilled in her from the time she was born until she was all grown up.

Not all women are raised like that. Just like not all mothers are the loving, caring, and affectionate moms like I was fortunate to have. And it’s sad.

And to the adoptive mothers who raise their adopted children as if they actually gave birth to them, and love them unconditionally, THANK YOU, as well as thank you to the birth mothers who cared enough for their child to give him/her a life with a family who’d give them the home and the love they deserved.

A child really needs both parents in order to really understand what it is to be loved. But there are circumstances such as mine, and others, that prevent that from happening. Fortunately I had a loving uncle who was able to fill that void, but it’s hard, almost impossible to replace a mother in a child’s life.

For all the children, grown or not, who haven’t had the joy or the luck to have a loving mother to guide you, please know that not every mother is like that. And I’m sorry you weren’t able to experience such love. Because it’s really important.

But the loss is not entirely yours. The woman who gave birth to you lost a lot more, because she didn’t take the time to realize what a precious gift she’d been given, and doesn’t/didn’t appreciate what she missed out on.