by singlemomseeking on February 16, 2009

Like “T,” I spent Valentine’s Day with the cutest and sweetest Valentine: my daughter.

First, she ran to her room to retrieve the Valentine’s Day gift she’d been hiding all week for me. Here it is:


Yes, my “green kid” recycled a Snapple bottle and tied a ribbon around it. She’d stuffed the bottle with Hersey kisses, and a card (a bit wet with juice or water?) that said, “Mommy, I love you.”

Speaking of mothers, that night, I had a Valentine’s Day get-together with an incredible group of women. Over salad, olives, roasted kale, leeks, and wine, we talked and laughed. (While M and her friend got the chance to watch cable downstairs!)

The conversation, however, kept returning to one topic: our mothers.

You’ve probably noticed that I don’t write about my mother on my blog.

My father and I have been through many challenges, and we’ve come out on the other side. Today, he and I have an incredibly loving, communicative, and sweet relationship. And I’m forever grateful to him for being the man in M’s life.

But my relationship with my mother is complex, to put it nicely.

Dealing with old childhood pain is complicated. You can carry it around for your life, heavy and secretive. You can blame your parents forever. No matter, it follows you straight into your adult relationships. (Today, at Singlemommyhood, we write about how your relationships can affect your children’s future relationships.)

I wish I could write about my mother here. I want to open up because so many of you — through your comments — support me, nurture me — and challenge me. But I’m afraid that anything I say here will hurt her. Although she doesn’t know that I have a blog, I’m cautious.

Our relationships with our parents are crucial. Not only do we need their love, but our kids do. Right?

I’d love to hear what your relationships with your parents look like. Do you get along?

Are there any challenges? Care to share?

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey February 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm

I thought I’d chime in with this perspective… I grew up in probably the most picture perfect, cookie cutter family possible. I had a great relationship with my parents (even as a teenager) and sister and there is plenty of love and respect in our relationship.

That being said, we still have our struggles – there are days I’d love to strangle my mom! She means well and does these things out of love, but she has boundary issues that make me crazy!!!

I agree with everyone else here that it’s probably best if you don’t blog about your mom (even though we’d love the dirt). Wouldn’t want her getting hurt.

Reply February 17, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Oh God, The Bachelor. Is that show still running? What a humiliating freakshow for the mentally deficient and emotionally challenged.´s last blog post…“The tragedy, the true catastrophe, is that humanity continues.”


won February 17, 2009 at 10:54 am

I know this is off topic….

but I admit it….I come back here hoping for an update to your opinion and conversation about “The Bachelor.”

There..I said it out loud. LOL

won´s last blog post…Offended Me


singlemomseeking February 17, 2009 at 10:39 am

Eathan: Somehow I imagine a group of men together talking about women, sex, sports… but their fathers? I’d love to hear that one.

LEM: I was hoping that you’d chime in, I thought about you while I wrote this.

I didn’t know that your mom was such an amazing Grandma. Bless. Puerto Rico should be a ball! Sunshine, the beach… I was there pre-baby!


Legal Editor Mom February 17, 2009 at 6:33 am

As you know, my dad passed away this past December, and I’m still struggling with this loss. We were extremely close and I was caring for him during his illness. It sounds like I’m in the minority here as far as close, loving relationships with my parents.

My mom is and always has been my very best friend. She is my biggest supporter, my sounding board, and now, my caregiver. I joke that she applied for the job of caring for my daughter before it was posted. I am amazed when I hear stories from friends who say that their parents, and especially their moms, can’t be bothered with the grandchildren. My mom takes my daughter to school, picks her up, and keeps her until I get home. And while I try not to impose on her and my stepdad on the weekend, they are readily available for babysitting as long as they don’t have plans.

My mom won’t accept any monetary compensation from me, so I do little things for her, including our annual Valentine’s Day lunch with her and my daughter. As well, I have to go to Puerto Rico in May for business, so I’m taking her and my daughter with me. (Not sure how much of a vacation it will be for Grandma, but still…)

I realize that I am blessed to have her in my life and I try my best to continually let her know that I appreciate her.

Rachel I recall that your relationship with you mom was/is a bit strained, so I do agree that it’s best not to write about it, at least in a public forum, to prevent hurting her and causing further problems for you.


Canadian Bald Guy February 17, 2009 at 4:44 am

I’m actually right on board with Crazy Computer Dad’s comment in that I’ve always had a problem with my dad. We get along and all, but I’m MUCH closer to my mother and always have been.


Kendall February 17, 2009 at 1:13 am

First off, M’s gift kind of fills me with “aww”.

Now as for my parents…

Me and my father have no relationship, I gave up trying when I was 19 because I was tired of being disappointed.

Me and my mother have made some progress. She’s still getting to know me but she’s at least making the effort so I’m meeting her halfway. I think the fact that I’m completely independent and my sister is now in college (while still dependent) has got her to realize what she missed out on by working all the time when we were kids.

Reply February 17, 2009 at 1:01 am

I’m not sure that it’s THAT interesting…


Eathan February 16, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Interesting how the conversation came back to your mothers. Does that mean that the men’s version of the group would discuss their fathers?


CasualEncountersBlog February 16, 2009 at 1:47 pm

My relationship with both my parents (who are still together) is pretty fantastic. In fact, I often wish they’d split up so I could join the child-of-a-broken-home cool team.

Instead I have too blame all my emotional difficulties on being, you know, kind of useless. It BITES.

CasualEncountersBlog´s last blog post…Wibblings


judy February 16, 2009 at 11:42 am

I just returned to my mom unopened the birthday gift she sent me as I also returned unopened her Christmas gift. It makes no sense any longer to pretend with gifts that we have any type of relationship. It has been a struggle forever and has grown increasingly worse. I feel like I have dumped a bad boyfriend…she thinks gifts will buy me back.

Dad’s relationship is purely superficial bull!@#$ so it is easy knowing it is nothing.

I cringe wondering in 20 years from now what my DD will be saying. I know my parent’s intentions were not for this to happen but alas it did.


singlemomseeking February 16, 2009 at 11:12 am

Wow, I’m sitting here with my coffee, emotional. Thank you, all of you, for your honesty.

I hope it’s okay to say I’m relieved that I’m not the only one who has, uh, parental challenges.

The theme here is certainly boundaries, yes?


Amy Sue Nathan February 16, 2009 at 10:59 am

I don’t write about my parents. We get along but don’t live near each other, so we’re not as involved as we probably would be otherwise. Like you, I don’t want to say anything that might somehow be construed as hurtful, even if it wasn’t meant to be. So I leave it out!


SDMktg February 16, 2009 at 10:29 am

My dad was the typical absentee father. Although my parents weren’t divorced until I was 10 he wasn’t really there even when he was. He remarried a few years after the divorce and I always say he changes families like most people change jobs or cars or house or anything else, he just moves on. He’s on his 3rd family now. I see him once or twice a year on holidays or Grandchildren’s birthdays. After many many years I’m OK with that because I broke the circle by being close to my kids.

I have a strong mom who always put us first and we are close. One thing I try to remember is that people do the best “they” can. For some people, that isn’t much. For the rest of us, it never seems to be enough.


SingleParentDad February 16, 2009 at 9:55 am

I had great relationships with both my parents going up, although I didn’t spend as much time with my dad as I would have liked, and I gave him a hard, probably too hard looking back. Our relationship into adulthood changed a lot, and while we are still close there are a few issues that just are ignored and not raised. A few elephants in the room if you like. I don’t really blog about that either, as I don’t want to hurt them pointlessly.

SingleParentDad´s last blog post…School’s Out


John F February 16, 2009 at 9:27 am

Wow, what a great topic. As a guy, it is the opposite. My mom relationship was forever strong and I miss her every day–she died of an ingrown toenail back in 2005. Long and funny story and she would be amused!

But my Dad is a different beast. I have an older sister and my parents were divorced. It seems that for some reason, my father (aside from being a serial marrier) is incapable of loving two children at the same time. He either likes me, or my sister. And honestly in the past 30 years, there have been maybe 6 months where we were both in the good graces. It is sad. It is complicated, and I am afraid it may have been irretrievably lost with his interference as my mom was dying and after!

John F´s last blog post…Kitty Snot & Poision Control


Alicia February 16, 2009 at 9:25 am

I would probably have to second Dr.Leah’s description:”painful, difficult, and complicated”. My dad was killed in a car accident when I was five months old, so not having a great relationship with my mom just makes it that much harder to swallow. And as for her relationship with my son, I’ll just say it’s “from a distance”. We live twenty minutes away, and she has told me, ‘I chose to live too far away’ and ‘I had to have my son all to myself’. Unfortunately, just alot of selfish and controlling behavior. I realize she will never change, so I do my best to adapt to things as they are.


Single Mom February 16, 2009 at 9:24 am

I have such a good relationship with my mother- I always feel for girls who have strained relationships with their mothers. My mother taught me a lot and my only hope is that I am half the mother she was raising me. We are best friends now that I am an adult.

My father and I have come a long way. I had to overcome resentment I felt towards him from my parents divorce years ago. However, my relationship with my step mom is another story. Can anyone say boundaries ?!?! I feel like she tries to interfere/run/control my life WAY more than my own mother.

Single Mom´s last blog post…Yeah !!! hit the $550 in extra money !!


Attainingme February 16, 2009 at 8:47 am

My parents were not very parental and I am constantly aware of its effects on my life- both good and bad. It is the source of my independence and my adventurous spirit, but it is also the reason I keep people at a distance.

it’s a tricky thing and I applaud you on being such a wonderful mother despite.

I debate writing about my parents, but for the same reason as you, I do not.

Attainingme´s last blog post…The mare and the stars


from the desk of February 16, 2009 at 8:43 am

currently, my dad and i are doing well. he is who he’s always been and i’ve come to appreciate and accept what he brings to my life.

as for my mom, our relationship has changed and we aren’t as close as we used to be. however, i recognize that there are seasons for everything. so i’m accepting this season and attempting to learn some life lessons from it.

from the desk of …me´s last blog post…My Heart Song


Sandra February 16, 2009 at 8:26 am

I’m estranged from my entire family. That includes my mother, father, and two sisters (and my nieces & nephews). Obviously I have a complicated relationship with them. I’m 35 years old now and it’s been 5 years of estrangement.

I had a complicated family growing up. I hadn’t realized how disfunctional it was until I removed myself from the situation and began to heal. The entire estrangement came from a situation where my family felt they were losing control of me and false allegations were made that involved my children. It was horrible. My older sister sided with my parents without even talking to me and younger sister was told she was a traitor for continuing to talk to me after the altercation…she was forced to choose as well.

There is happiness on the side and I am healthier in long run.


won February 16, 2009 at 8:06 am

Years of physical, sexual and drug abuse. “Shit for brains…” that’s what I most remember her telling me. That and I’d “never amount to anything.”

So much back and forth, hurt, anger, and so on. Then, my daughter lay on an operating table for 13 hours, and she and my then fiance went for a walk. She chose that time to fill his head with dreadful stories about me.

Some true, some fabricated. Irrelevant. My daughter was in the operating room, and she was talking trash about me!

And then she asked him to keep the conversation private, to not tell me as I had enough on my plate I dealing with. It took him a few months before he blurted it out.

That was a dozen or so years ago. The best thing I did for myself was telling her we were done. The end of our relationship.

People sometimes ask if it hard not having a relationship with her. It is not. What was hard was continually coming back for more insanity, hoping she’d change and ending up hurt again and again.

This boundary is one of the better things I’ve done for myself.

won´s last blog post…You (to the 12th power)


MindyMom February 16, 2009 at 6:56 am

I had a very “complicated” relationship with both my parents growing up.

As an adult I tried to put the past behind me and maintain a relationship with my mother. Unfortunately she’s still pretty unhealthy and her involvement negativley effected my own family. Being a mother myself I have to choose who I expose my kids to. Sometimes that means not continuing a relationship with dysfuntional family members.

MindyMom´s last blog post…The Visit


T February 16, 2009 at 5:34 am

My painful relationship was with my father. When I was going through therapy, post-separation from the ex, I realized much of the problems I’d had with my ex husband were the same as with my father. I realized I had to forgive my father many things, if I was to forgive my ex-husband.

The therapist told me to write a heartfelt letter to my father stating all the things I wished I could say to him. After I wrote it, she said I could decide whether or not I wanted to mail it to him.

I wrote it, crying all the way through. I never mailed it.

He died a year later but by then we had found a place of love, forgiveness and peace.

I still have that letter and when I read it now, its like someone else wrote it. I don’t even feel the same pain that I felt then.

I think there’s power in acknowledging your pain and not judging yourself for it. It the power of acceptance. And that acceptance creates miracles.

Hugs honey. I wish you could’ve shared Valentines Day with me… but I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your day. And M… I love her creativity!

Miss you both!

T´s last blog post…Little Valentines


Crazy Computer Dad February 16, 2009 at 4:44 am

Seems like most people I meet have issues dealing with their same sex parent. The relationship between my father and I is not what I want, and I’ve come to realize that it never will be. Things were definitely better with my mom once I became an adult, but she died in 2001.


Dr.Leah February 16, 2009 at 4:22 am

Ah, our mothers.

Our mothers often come up in serious conversation whenever my friends and I gather, too. My “story” with my mother is excruciatingly painful, difficult, and incredibly complicated. Publicly, I would never discuss “the details”.

My father died before my kids were born, but I moved back to New York post divorce, in part, because I knew my kids would hear so many wonderful things about him. He comes up often in private family conversations. I called him “Daddy” and my kids do, too.

Dr.Leah´s last blog post…I’m worried about my child’s future relationship choices


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