I just want to say that it's okay, mom. It's okay that you couldn't be the loving, caring, sweet mother I've always looked for in you.
Mother is more a verb than a noun, I’ve heard. I’m yet to hear anyone disagree with that. The journey of motherhood has been described with various adjectives---magical, beautiful, life-changing, challenging… One adjective we never seem to use, however, is ‘imperfect’.
The idea that mothers can err in their parenting is such a socially terrible thing to say. And yet, the daughters who know the pain that comes with that know just how true it is. The same goes for fathers too. But nothing, not even a father’s affection, can replace the innate need for maternal love.
It’s strange, isn’t it, that it’s usually only the daughters who seem to openly yearn for maternal love? For some reason, resentments seem to run high in mother-daughter relationships. I’ve been in this equation myself, as a daughter. And I truly can’t say why this is the case. But it is what it is and there’s no denying the sense of feeling unloved.
Well, it’s time for me to release the pain my mother caused me. Not because she’s any different or she’s trying to be a better person. Nope. But because it’s time for me to let go of baggage that’s held me back in ways that block love from my life.
So, here goes:
You’ve done so many things for me. Thank you for that.
But you’ve also caused me immense hurt in many ways. And I’ve never let go of the anger and pain that built up within me because of the things you said and did. It’s time to let go. I do this not in the hope that you will turn over a new leaf, but with the vision that I may grow more wholly from here on in.
I thought you’d cherish me, but you told me your sister’s daughters need to be my benchmark. It neither worked nor did make me see you in a better light. You became my negative motivation, one that I used to fuel my uniqueness. A uniqueness that’s made me feel like a rare pearl. I know now that nothing but belief in myself can curb the hurt that you caused me in comparing. And so, I release you from my want of validation.
I thought you’d nurture me, but you gave me what some might call ‘tough love’. It neither toughened me up nor did it make me feel loved. You created a vacuum I didn’t know how to fill. A vacuum I carried into my romantic relationships. It made me needy, it made me clingy. But I know now that nothing but self-love can fill that empty space you created. And so, I release you from my need for affection.
I thought you’d protect me from other people’s rebuke, but you simply fanned their fires. It neither got me to change nor did it fetch you any respect. You instilled in me a detachment, one I’ve used to fortify myself emotionally. It’s a fortification I’ve learned to build against naysayers like those people whose side you took. It made me stronger, it made me steely. I know now that nothing but resilience can make that detachment an armor. And so, I release you from my need for protection.
Know this, mom. I begrudge you nothing, not anymore. I don’t hate you, not really. I just hoped that you’d have been more understanding, more caring, more loving.
But I also know that you did the best you could. It’s just that your best wasn’t particularly in my best interests.
I also understand that it’s any parent’s worst nightmare come true to be told that didn’t get their parenting right. But you know what, mom? It’s okay. It’s okay that you didn’t get it right. No one’s perfect. Neither you nor me. And I know that you didn't have the love of your mother either. So, you didn't know any better.
And so, I release you from my need for maternal love. Because here on in, I shall learn how to mother myself, before I can even think of being a mother to another.
An unloved daughter