Happy Mother’s Day! Yeah, right. If you’re like me, the weeks leading up to this holiday are pure torture and you breathe a sigh of relief when it’s over. I truly hope that all the moms out there (who deserve it) have a wonderful Mother’s Day. Guilt and shame for not thinking my mother is the best thing on Earth make me feel like the worst daughter ever. But I just can’t shake it. I have to speak the truth – I hate my mother. I wrote the following blog post years ago. It was scary and freeing at the same time. I hope it helps any of you who also don’t get that warm and fuzzy feeling when you think of your mom. I’d love to hear from you. Update – I don’t talk to her at all anymore and haven’t for a few years. For my sanity and my self-preservation, I just can’t. Here goes:

I am irritated. This is nothing new considering I just got off the phone with my mother. But what really gets my goat is that even though I’m in my late 40s, she can still push my buttons and has a way of upsetting me to the extreme. Why is that? Mother/daughter relationships are complicated; we all know this. Articles, books and movies (Terms of Endearment, Postcards from the Edge) have analyzed and showcased this so that we can all get through our lives knowing that we are not the only one who has a mother that drives us insane.

Feeling like your mother is a giant pain in the rear is a socially acceptable state. I, however, live in shame with a dirty little secret – I hate my mother. I really do. I hate her. When I divulge this painful secret to someone, they laugh and say “Oh I hate my mother too.” But they just don’t get it. My hatred is not a laughable rom-com, roll-your-eyes hatred. Mine is a deep, horrible feeling that has made my relationship with my mother non-existent and irreversible. This makes things like Mother’s Day downright gruesome.

I remember back about twenty years ago or so (my memory is already going), when the big mother/daughter as best friends became a huge craze. Banners went up, parties were held and gregarious mothers and daughters walked around the mall in their matching Juicy Couture tracksuit, calling each other “Besties.” Remember the “cool mom” in MEAN GIRLS? I wanted to vomit. The boundaries were washed away in bottles of  chardonnay and mothers and daughters were sharing sex stories and picking up men together at bars. Gross. My mother always wanted to be my best friend. In fact, that was the biggest problem in our relationship. As my sisters and I grew older and found our own friends and lives, my mother grew more and more bitter that our lives no longer revolved around her. Our orbit had changed and that pissed her off. As a result, she became even more eccentric and outrageous as ever before. She hit on my boyfriends, she wore hideous tight lycra clothing and said whatever she could to produce the most shock value. She changed jobs and addresses as quickly as the seasons. While some friends called her “fun” and “cool,” I wanted to go into the witness protection program.

Being embarrassed by your mother is not a sin, nor is it unique. Ladies love to sit around and share the crazy tales of moms behaving badly. When I tell people my mother is crazy, they again laugh and say “Oh my mom’s nuts too.” But you just don’t understand. Did your mother move you every two years to a new town or home using trash bags as moving boxes? Did your mother throw out all the furniture one day and replace it with neon-colored bean bags? Did your mother make you eat whatever she ate depending upon the diet she was doing like “The Brown Rice Diet” or the “Chocolate Cake Diet?” Did your mother use you to call her ex (your father) and beg for money? Did your mom lock the TV up in the closet and say it was stolen? Did your mother wear a cape to your college graduation? I am betting your answer is no. Well, my mother did all of these things. She is a classic narcissist and I think at one point she was diagnosed as bi-polar, but didn’t like taking the pills. I truly think she enjoys being an erratic mess.

I could actually forgive my mother’s nutty behavior had it not been for her vicious tongue. She verbally abused me for years and I took it. My mother excels at being nasty. When I was 30, I went to a therapist to deal with my anger and feelings about my mother that were beginning to fester (as they are want to do when you are no longer in your carefree twenties). As I sat there, telling the stories and reading the letters from my mother that were basically hate mail, my therapist looked at me in amazement and simply said “Wow.” Even he was dumb-founded. Thanks to him, I realized that I don’t have to be an emotional punching bag to this woman just because she gave birth to me. For so many years, she had told me what a horrible daughter I was. She loved to call my perfectly good corporate PR job “stupid” and told me that I was boring. Every holiday with her ended in screaming or tears. Every. Single. Holiday.

My sisters also have experienced her wrath over and over and we are lucky to have one another as a shield against the motherly shitstorm. I recall going with my sister and my mother to look at wedding dresses for her. My sister had flown my mother in so she could have that special mother/daughter gown shopping experience that you see in movies or hear about from your more well-adjusted friends. As my sister stood there in a frothy white number, my mother told her that she was marrying “white trash” since her fiancé didn’t go to college (that’s because he’s an singer/dancer/actor bitch), and that she should not have children right away because she will probably end up divorced. My sister spent the next 45 minutes crying hysterically in the dressing room while I rubbed her back and my mother nonchalantly waited outside, guilt-free.

My admission of hating my mother is not meant to inspire a giant pity party or tea and sympathy or to get women to come to the dark side and hate their mother. I just want other women to know that you’re not alone. It’s okay if you hate your mother, as long as you have good reasons. It’s okay to not want to see her or call her or go get mani/pedis with her. The guilt and hurt will never go away no matter how much therapy you have or wine you consume (I know, I’ve tried). But you’re going to be okay. As an adult, you get to choose your relationships. You can tell people who are hurting you to “Go to hell.” The day that my sisters and I stood up to my mother and told her she was being a bitch was the best and worst day ever. Finally, we could loosen the noose around our necks but we also had to loosen the heartstrings and fill that void with love from others, which we did. My mother was not invited to my wedding and I’m just fine with that. Ironically, my stepmother and my ex-stepmother were. How’s that for a modern family? My mother was very hurt that I didn’t invite her but I figured the worst thing that could happen was that we would have less of a relationship than we have now, and we’re already scraping the barrel. It’s sad that any major events in my life, I just can’t pick up the phone and talk to someone who should be a great listener and comforting force. If I told my mother about my divorce, she would just talk about her own, which was a zillion years ago. If I told her about my infertility struggles, she would just talk about that one time she had a miscarriage. The conversation is never EVER about me. I swear if I told her I had cancer (I don’t), she would just say “Oh my god, I remember when I thought I had cancer…” Trust me, I’m not exaggerating for your entertainment. This is my mother. Welcome to reality!

I wish I had the mother that baked cookies and was my Girl Scout Leader and was the person that I could go to when I am upset and need advice. Thankfully, my ex-stepmother stepped in when I was still young and offered to be that role model and I gladly accepted. She’ll get flowers this Mother’s Day. As for my crazy mother, there will be no card, no call. 

UPDATE – For the ultimate irony of life, my ex-stepmother, the woman who stepped in and gladly offered to be my mum, died suddenly three years ago. She was the only mother figure I ever had or wanted, and now she’s gone. My real mother, this tortured, unhappy and extremely judgmental woman, is still around and her health is just fine. Ain’t that a kick in the head?