Dreaming of My Mother

posted in: Childhood, Life, Memories, Motherhood 88 comments

I have a recurrent dream in which I argue, debate and scream. In this dream, I feel unheard and invisible. The dream varies in scenario and situation, but the core remains the same. I am in a bubble of some kind, where I’m talking loudly (or yelling, screaming, trying to make myself heard) to my parents, mainly my mother. 

I don’t ever recall what I’m saying, but I know it’s to the effect of “Please, listen to me, you’re not always right, I have a point of view too, it’s not my fault, please, listen to me, love me, accept me for who I am.” I always wake up feeling sad and slightly out of breath when the vividness of the dream feels so real, yet surreal.

If you believe dream interpretations, I suppose you could conclude that I feel invisible to my parents, and unloved by my mother. I’ve said as much many times to my sister, my husband, and a few close friends I trust. 

Is it fair of me? Because I’ve never discussed this with my mother. We don’t talk that much, maybe once a month. Our conversations range from short and practical, to longer ones where we exchange news about family members. I have never felt close to her. I have never enjoyed the kind of mother-daughter relationship I hear about. Perhaps the closest I’ve ever felt to her was when I had my first child, and I felt lost and alone, and I just wanted my Mummy. She was there for me, although just on the phone (we were geographically too far from each other). But when that passed, so did the moment. 

In all my childhood memories, the good moments are filled with my sister, grandmother, cousins, a favourite uncle and his family. What I remember of my mother was that she felt distant. Yes, she did her motherly duties  – driving us to school and back, cooking dinner, taking us for our various activities and extra classes. She took us shopping occasionally, and we went on vacations as a family. But I always felt slighted, my mother favouring her boys or my sister, the youngest.

I never felt ‘at home’ with my mother. I craved the kind of mother-daughter time I’d only heard about. Girls-only shopping trips, cooking and baking in the kitchen, she teaching me something she was passionate about, whatever that may be, having long talks about everything – life, boys, babies, dreams, the future.

When I was 17, I left home to study at a college two hours away. I didn’t miss home. I didn’t miss my mother. I’d come to realize by then, that my home would be where I make it, with people I choose to love, who chose to love me back. It was with people who believed me, in what I could be, what I could do. It was with people who stood by me, caught me when I fell, and propped me up when I was faltering. 

When I was 19, I moved halfway across the world and I still didn’t miss her. She wrote me letters, sent me care packages. She may have even written, ‘I love you’ in those letters. I don’t remember. I didn’t keep any letters. In England, I felt further and further away from her. 

I don’t remember being cuddled as a child, hugged as a teenager, and I don’t remember ever hugging my mother. We weren’t a family of huggers. I grew up with a huge need for personal space. I don’t remember ever being told, ‘I love you’, or saying it back to anyone until I fell in love the first time. 

I know now that my mother loved me in her own way, though I still can’t shake the, I-don’t-feel-like-I-was-ever-loved feeling. I don’t bear her any grudges. I want to believe she tried her best, that I was not the easiest of people to love, to understand. I want to believe that she was feeling her way with a daughter, after two sons.

Will our relationship be better over time? Will we come to a kind of peace? Will I? I don’t know. As it stands, I have accepted that this, whatever this is, is what we have. This, is our relationship, imperfect as it is.

Now that I’m a mother, I don’t ever want my children to feel the way I felt, growing up. I want them to remember that their mother hugged them, told them that they are loved, that I’m someone they can talk to, always. I want to be their safe place, their home. Forever and always.

What was your relationship with your mother like?

Sharing this with Shell for Pour Your Heart Out.

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • May 12, 2014 Keely

    For what it’s worth, this is exactly the kind of relationship that my mother had with HER mother. To a tee. And as a result, my Mom turned her attentions on making sure that we never for a second doubted how we were her first priority and only joy. (I mean, this had it’s ups and downs… 😉 ) So I guess what it boils down to is: you’ve already shown your sons (and the duo) who you are and how you mother. And it’s how you were raised and formed that made you decide to be that Mama. So however you got here with them, that’s pretty wonderful.
    Keely recently wrote…#MyMondayMorning With Mommy Shorts & Allstate!My Profile

    • May 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Keely. Your Mom is amazing, and I hope to be able to be just like her with my kids, as she has been with you and your sisters. xo

  • May 12, 2014 J.Lee

    She lives in her imagination. She steps on me constantly with backhanded remarks and comparison to make herself feel worthy. She complains she never has enough, that others don’t deserve. She lies to all of her friends. She pushes me in front, introducing her girl, “we’re so close!” she says. It rises first in the back of my throat until my mouth is full of this shouting that never comes out. Because what is the point? She is the victim in her own mind. She will never see what she does, how she draws me back and how much I wish she would just be real for two minutes and not some daytime drama. She has more than one birthday a year. I’ve got her latest wish list right here.

    • May 18, 2014 Alison

      J, I’m sorry that this is your experience with your mother. Truly sorry.

  • May 12, 2014 Arnebya

    I don’t remember much before kindergarten, but what I remember between kindergarten and 11th grade is a mother who was always shuttling me around, who doted on me because I was the last, the only one still at home. And yet. Once I turned 16, things changed. Was it me? I don’t know. I wasn’t a problem kid. I wasn’t in trouble, I got good grades, I listened, kept my room clean, was respectful. But eventually the way she started to treat me, as though I was this undesired stranger in her house, is the way I treated her. I started to yell, to argue, to curse, to slam doors. It was so disconcerting to my husband when we were dating because it’s not how he grew up. My mother taught me to be open, especially with my girls, to sit with them, even if it’s a silence steeped in teenaged angst — because that’s what she didn’t do with me, what I needed, and still crave. Like you, I haven’t discussed my feelings with her. But you’d think that by girl #3 she’d have had a better outcome.
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    • May 18, 2014 Alison

      Arnebyababy, I’m sorry that you had that experience with your mother. But like me, you’ve learned some lessons on what NOT to do with your own, and I think that in itself, is a gift.

  • May 12, 2014 Ariel

    This was very interesting to read but obviously also sad to hear you felt that closeness was missing from your relationship with your mom. Your children are lucky you have the perspective to make sure they never feel that way with you. I’ve had some ups and downs with my mom but definitely there have been more ups and feel very lucky to have her. I do try to learn from the down times and be more aware with my kids.

    • May 18, 2014 Alison

      I’m glad that you have a good relationship with your mother, Ariel. It is such a gift.

  • May 12, 2014 Kerstin

    The relationship with both my parents is very similar, even though I felt closer to my father until he went completely insane. I haven’t talked to him in years and talk to my mother maybe every few months. It’s a long story as you can probably imagine and I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I won’t ever speak to my father again and my mother and I will remain distant.
    I decided to focus on being the best mother I can be to my kids and I hope they will look back one day and feel like I gave them everything they needed.
    Kerstin recently wrote…Listen To Your Mother?!My Profile

    • May 18, 2014 Alison

      You’re absolutely right. It’s pointless to dwell on the past. Best to take our experiences as what they are, and focus on what’s important now, our children. xo

  • May 12, 2014 Chris Carter

    Oh Alison, I am SO sorry you didn’t have a tender and warm and loving attachment to your mother. It really breaks my heart!!! I am deeply touched by your beautiful loving investment in changing that style of parenting with your own precious babes! You are an incredibly strong woman, and beautiful soul.

    I would need about 478 pages to tell you about my mom. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t good. There were some emotional attachments, yes. But it was full of deep scaring… she made her mark on my heart and my life. And although there is an awfully ugly history, I suppose I can tribute to my sensitive nature and emotional tolerance and depth to what she put me through.
    Chris Carter recently wrote…My Mother’s Day Gift To MyselfMy Profile

    • May 18, 2014 Alison

      Chris, with what I have learned about you from your blog and as Facebook friends, I can’t even imagine that your relationship with your mother wasn’t good, because I can see that your relationship with your kids is AMAZING. I suppose that what we learned NOT to do from our mothers, is a lesson and a gift.

  • May 12, 2014 Tricia

    So so complicated isn’t it? My mom was not a hugger either and sometimes I feel as though I’ve missed out on something because of it. And I hug my children obsessive because of it.
    Tricia recently wrote…Lovely little things, week 16My Profile

    • May 18, 2014 Alison

      It is really complicated, especially since I still have somewhat of a relationship with my mother. I cuddle my kids all the time too. It’s for me, as much as it is for them.

  • May 12, 2014 tracy

    Oh love – reading this I do feel like she loves you. This mothering gig is hard. For all of us. You’re an amazing one. I think you should call her – tell her this, show her this. Only she can tell you why. xoxo
    tracy recently wrote…My Sister My GiftMy Profile

    • May 18, 2014 Alison

      I believe she does too, in her own way. I don’t know if I can bear her reading this, but I know I want to try and mend some things with her. xo

  • May 12, 2014 Christine

    Oh Alison. This is beautiful and tugs at my heart so much because it’s so familiar to me. Maybe it’s a Chinese mother thing (but that feels like an unfair generalization). We’re not a family of huggers or communicators. I don’t remember being told “I love you” then or now, much involvement or much physical affection either. But I know she loved and still loves me in her own way. It’s complicated. The thing is, I too don’t want my children to feel this way about me but I’m afraid that they will. That’s my biggest fear.
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    • May 18, 2014 Alison

      I do think that a big part of it IS a cultural thing, as well as a generation thing. It is complicated. And I don’t think your children will think that of you, because you KNOW that it is something you fear you will do, which means you are not likely to do it.

  • May 12, 2014 Kim

    I am so sorry that you have not felt a close connection to your mother, Alison. I know what you are saying about wanting your boys to feel comfortable with you and hugged and feel safe in the knowledge that they are loved. That is always my hope for my boys as well.
    Kim recently wrote…Blogging: What to Do When You Can’t Find the WordsMy Profile

    • May 18, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Kim. I think our kids’ generation is pretty lucky 🙂

  • May 12, 2014 Kir

    My relationship with my mom has evolved over time..we didn’t always get along. I think it’s because we are so much alike. The things my mom doesn’t like about herself are so evident and front and center with me (vice versa) that we tend to want to say “STOP! Don’t do it the way I did!” often.

    But my mom is the other half of my heart, she is my north star and a voice that can soothe and fire me up all at once. Nothing is ever that easy, mothers and daughters are never easy, but I do feel lucky that forgiveness and acceptance was always a part of our lives.

    I wish that for you too. Call her, send her an email, talk. You are such an incredible person, I know she can see and respect that as much as we do. (You are LOVED! Loved beyond measure!)

    • May 18, 2014 Alison

      I’m so glad that you have the kind of relationship you do with Kir, because you deserve it. And thank you. xo

  • May 12, 2014 Robin

    To not feel loved and cherished by a parent is a very sad thing. As someone who struggles with motherhood, I can imagine that it might be for any number of reasons. Have you talked to your sister about it? Does she at all feel the same way?

    I’m sorry you have this experience but I love that you showed your heart here.

    • May 18, 2014 Alison

      My sister’s relationship with our mother is distinctly different, because she was the youngest child, though yes, there are some similar experiences. I think it’s a generation and cultural thing, the lack of affection.

  • May 12, 2014 Julia

    I’m sorry that you don’t have the relationship you wish you had with your mom. It’s very hard when we see others having relationships that we wish we had. When I was in high school I did not have the relationship with my mom that my friends had with theirs and I remember shutting my mom out because of it. Once I went to college things got better and now my Mom is my best friend. I hope that you someday you have the relationship you hope for and I know that you are building the foundation of a wonderful relationship for you and your children. hugs 🙂

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Julia. I hope that my mother and I can make things work too.

  • May 12, 2014 Lady Jennie

    I loved your post. And I’ll write privately. 🙂
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…Six Châteaux on the Loire: Azay-le-RideauMy Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Thank you as always, my friend. xo

  • May 12, 2014 Felicia

    The counselor/psychologist in me wants to analyze your dreams, but I’m resisting the temptation. I’m sorry you didn’t have the relationship with your mother that you necessarily wanted, but if you look on the bright side, you were able to learn from it. You knew you didn’t want your children feel the way you did when you were young, so in a way, she made you a better mother. Feel free to ignore my optimistic self though. I’ve always had a great relationship with my mother and though she sometimes does things that I don’t like, I always learn from her and have grown so much because of her. Whether it’s a good or bad situation, you can always learn from it.
    Felicia recently wrote…Happy Mother’s Day 2014My Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      I do like your optimistic side, Felicia! That’s how I’m approaching it too – as a lesson to what NOT to do with my own children. 🙂

  • May 12, 2014 Natalie

    I just love your honesty. I don’t have a super best friend relationship with my mom either. I don’t know what exactly caused it or if it’s a combination of things. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have those relationships like my friends have…but like you I want my boys to feel differently about me…and be close to me and each other. I hug them all the time and thankfully Nolan is such a cuddle bug. I see people post photos of their moms, and I just don’t have that same feeling. I feel bad about that, but what can you do you know? Don’t blame yourself my friend!
    Natalie recently wrote…TransitionsMy Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Natalie, and I’m sorry you don’t have that kind of relationship with your mother either. I’m glad we have both decided to take our experience and turn it into a positive thing for our own parenting.

  • May 12, 2014 Rabia

    Growing up my mom was a mom. We weren’t friends. We didn’t share clothes or shoes. We never got mani-pedis together or have “girl time.” But I always knew I was loved. Now that we are both mothers, I feel closer to her. I talk to her almost every day on the phone. She’s a great grandmother to my kids and spoils them in all the ways she never did me.
    Rabia recently wrote…Stages of Motherhood as Told Through Movie TitlesMy Profile

    • May 12, 2014 Erin Margolin

      I appreciate your honesty and candor here. And I’m sorry you’ve struggled with your relationship with your mom. And I’m glad you’re doing what you can to make sure your kids get the cuddles and love you didn’t feel that you did. I’m sad for what you missed out on and how it’s left you feeling.

      I have a similar situation with my dad. It’s gotten progressively worse over the last six months or so. We’re not speaking at all. Part of me thinks that no matter what, the parent is always the parent, so it’s up to the parent to reach out and… help mend fences….

      love you.
      Erin Margolin recently wrote…Redux: Giving Up the Good GirlMy Profile

      • May 19, 2014 Alison

        Erin, I’m sorry about the brokenness of your relationship with your dad right now. I hope that things resolve, regardless of who reaches out first. Love you. xo

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Your mother sounds awesome, Rabia!

  • I just wanted you to know your honesty and words wrapped themselves around my heart on yet another day when Facebook looks like perfect relationships are the one and only norm. Ellen
    Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms recently wrote…Mother’s Day Performance ReviewMy Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Ellen, thank you for your kind words, truly.

  • May 12, 2014 Anna Whiston-Donaldson

    I am so sorry that this was your experience, dear Alison! Thank you for writing the hard stuff.
    Anna Whiston-Donaldson recently wrote…Lessons from my MotherMy Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for reading, my dear Anna! xo

  • May 12, 2014 Lisha Fink

    My mom and I were so close. She lived with us for 8 years, and in that time we had maybe 3 spats. Not even fights or big disagreements. I know now what a gift that was, and I cherish the memories of that special bond. I’m sorry you didn’t know it with your mother, but I’m certain you’ll know it with your children.
    Lisha Fink recently wrote…The Lucky DaughterMy Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for sharing, Lisha. I most certainly hope to have the kind of relationship with my children, that you describe with your mother.

  • May 13, 2014 Tamara

    I had/have a close relationship with my mom, and I hope I have the same with my kids – lots of affection, support and “I love you.” Hopefully not too much.
    It’s the only thing I know, especially after the death of my father – a world where my mom is in the center of it, and we in hers. However it’s interesting for you to be on a similar parenting path to me, I think, and to have such a different background.
    I guess we all come to places of love differently, but we’re still here.
    Tamara recently wrote…Ready To Launch.My Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      I love that last sentence, Tamara!! xo

  • May 13, 2014 Sophie

    Hi Alison, First of all I’d like to congratulate you for your pregnancy 🙂 I read you were expecting twins, so I guess I need to congratulate you twice 😉
    I’m a friend of Tonya’s (Letters4Lucas). We have been friends for years, ever since we were 14 and that we met in the Gambia, West Africa. One of the reasons we got on so well – besides the fact that she is beautiful inside and out, witty, so much fun and all the other qualities she has – is because we were both having difficulties with our Mums. My relationship with my mother sounds exactly like yours. In fact, your story could be mine. I have always felt so much distance between my mother and myself, especially since I was a teenager. We have never been close, not even since I became a Mummy myself. She can sometimes be very hurtful and I’m still working on that.
    Just like you, I don’t want my children to feel like I did/do.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I can imagine how difficult it was to write about it…
    Here’s wishing you a lovely pregnancy. I had my 3rd in July, last year (I have 2 daughters and a boy) and we moved from New Caledonia to Corsica when he was 5 weeks old. My life has been rather hectic since, and the children keep me very busy. However, I really need to find time to read your’s and Tonya’s blog more often.
    Take care xx

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Sophie, I actually KNOW ABOUT YOU, because Tonya talks about you all the time!
      Thank you for sharing your story, and I’m sorry that you went through the same thing I did. It sounds like you’ve taken something painful, and turned it into something positive with your own children.
      And thank you for your well wishes!

  • May 13, 2014 Melisa

    Oh Alison…you write so many posts that feel like you were in my head. I have gone back and forth with writing something like this exact post. But have yet to do it. For the longest time I never wanted children because of my very own mother. And now that I have two, I pray every day that I am nothing like she is. I too have vague memories of my mother telling me she loved me and most definitely don’t remember many hugs. She blames this on her being so young when she had me (17) and yet I know plenty of young mothers who are nothing like my own. I won’t go into details but it has been several years since I have talked to my mother…and I am quite okay with it.

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Melisa, I’m so sorry about your experience, and I feel for you that you haven’t spoken to her for years. I am glad that you are at peace with it. Much love and light to you.

  • May 13, 2014 Melisa

    I wanted to add…I also have dreams where I am screaming in vain, trying to get my mother to hear me, to listen to me, to acknowledge that I am making a point. Only to lose my voice and end up in tears. I awake so angry and am thankful those dreams are few and far between.

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      These dreams of mine are getting fewer too!

  • May 13, 2014 Elaine A.

    My mother and I have a good relationship but we are not super close. I think part of it (for us anyway) is that she is from a VERY different generation than I am and we just don’t always “get” each other. She has however always shown me complete love and support. I never doubted or doubt her feelings and love for me. I can relate to not feeling as close to my mother as some daughters do. I am glad you shared this, Alison. I hope that maybe it will set you on a path of change. xoxo

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Elaine. I do believe that there is a generational gap on my end too. It is what it is. 🙂

  • May 13, 2014 thekitchwitch

    Love the honesty and vulnerability here.

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Dana. xo

  • May 13, 2014 julie gardner

    Is it weird that I found myself feeling sorry for your mother? Not because of anything you wrote, did, said, felt; but because she clearly missed an opportunity to be close to one of the most loving, caring people I’ve come across: you.

    Still, I’m glad you’ve found your own warmth and connection in being a mother. I guess having children gives us a second chance at a good parental relationship – either modeling what we had or seeking the opposite.

    My own mother was far from perfect (like I am) and I worry sometimes about recreating her mistakes. Am I too cold or hard to please? Do I tell my kids often enough how much I adore them? That I am proud of who they are even though they are so different from what I expected? Motherhood is exhausting. Do they see me as always tired of them?

    These are my fears.
    And as I read this post, I found myself hoping I wasn’t seeing my own kids’ future feelings.

    But back to you.

    No matter what your past, you are an amazing mother, friend, woman.
    And the people you ARE close to are the lucky ones.

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Julie, I see nothing that would realize your fears. I think you’re a warm, loving, kind, supportive and all-round amazing mother. Thank you for your kind words. Love you.

  • May 13, 2014 JennyRedfield

    OMG, you are so brave and honest, love you so much! It’s very painful issue, despite of the fact that I was hugged and always knew that I loved, I’ve never discussed with my mother any serious problem or question, we are not friends, we have very flat very diplomatic relationships I don’t know why, and whose responsibility it is…

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Jenny, it sounds to me that you want a friendlier relationship with your mother. I think that as with all relationships, it has to be a two-way thing. Both of you have to make a concerted effort. xoxo

  • May 13, 2014 Jessica

    I wish I could say that I can’t relate to this. Though, that would be a lie. Coming to terms with my relationship with my mother and what it is and what it will never be has been the hardest thing of my adult life. I do feel guilty saying this, writing about her. Though, it is only in being honest with myself and sharing my truth that I feel free. My mother did her best. But I want to do more for my children. I don’t aim for perfect mothering . I do, however, want my children to always feel loved. Cheers to your bravery with this, Alison. xo.
    Jessica recently wrote…On Flying |Listen to Your Mother DC 2014My Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Jessica, thank you for sharing your experience, and I’m sorry it’s been painful for you too. And thank you.

  • May 13, 2014 Christy

    Thank you for sharing this. Mother’s Day is such a funny thing; it brings up all sorts of feelings. I would never describe my mom and I as close friends, but she has always been supportive of me, always there if I need her. And I was the one that needed to learn to say ‘I love you’– for the longest time, I felt uncomfortable telling my parents that I loved them. Why? I don’t know. But there are plenty of things I would do differently if I have my own children, like encouraging open communication, not being ashamed of our bodies, and teaching my children about saving money.
    Christy recently wrote…My Worst Panic Attack + Pondering Guardian AngelsMy Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      We do learn something from our parents, regardless of our relationships with them, don’t we? That is what I’m hoping to do with my own parenting – to take my painful experience and turn it into something positive.

  • May 13, 2014 Adrienne

    Tears. I can relate. I don’t have a relationship with my mother either. (Stepmom-but the only one I had.) Mother’s day reminded me that it doesn’t matter what mother card was dealt to me as a child. I got a deck of my own to play however I want! It’s up to us to pave a different path for our boys, Alison. We are breaking this cycle. That’s all that matters!
    Adrienne recently wrote…I needed Mother’s Day.My Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      You’re absolutely right, Adrienne! It is up to us to break the cycle, and I think you’re doing it wonderfully with your children. xo

  • May 13, 2014 My Inner Chick

    Alison Lee,
    It’s hard to believe your mother was unlovable, untouchable, unhuggable…

    because I can feel your warm all the way from here….

    and so do your boys.

    xxxxxx LOVE !
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…8 Ways To Kick Domestic Violence Ass ( before it’s too late)My Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Kim, thank you. I love you! xoxo

  • May 13, 2014 alexandra

    Honesty is a wonderful place to start. It wasn’t until the end of my mother’s life, that we began to talk. She knew she was dying, so all the walls she had built up so she wouldn’t ever be weak, and risk hurt, fell away. She had nothing to lose, and so she loved freely. Going through life, it was just survival for her. Six kids, a widow in a new country. She had reasons that kicked in as self preservation of her and her family. At the end, I saw. At the end, her eyes were opened. It’s impossible for change to happen without both being along the same path, to the same goal. I hear what you’re saying, A, and I was in that same painful spot for all of my childhood and adult life, until the time up until she passed. Love, peace, and compassion to you. Wherever your space is with your mother, treat yourself with care…. xo

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Alexandra, I love that you and your mother had the relationship you did before she passed. It is a gift, and you deserved that fully. Thank you, for everything. xo

  • May 14, 2014 Nina

    Wow, so honest and brave. And your opportunity to do things differently is such a gift. These relationships are so complicated. It’s important to think of where we came from and our experiences as children–not just where were are now parents. But so glad we get to call most of those shots now.
    Nina recently wrote…If You Build it They Will Come Is Not a Good Blogging TipMy Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Yes, that we get to call the shots now and decide our parenting path, is truly a gift!

  • May 14, 2014 Camesha

    Thanks for sharing something so personal. My mother has always been my best friend. I think it was easier because it was just us. She was a single mom raising a daughter. Though my dad was in my life, he wasn’t in our home. We were and still are super close. It sounds like you’re building that same bond with your kids. We all learn something from what we GROW through. You learned the kind of mom you wanted to be.
    Camesha recently wrote…I Almost Said NoMy Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Love that last sentence, Camesha, thank you!

  • May 15, 2014 Shell

    I totally understand. I don’t have a close relationship with my mom. Our relationship is better now than when I was in my early twenties, when she purposely tried to sabotage my life. She’s calmed down a bit now and has been much kinder… but it’s hard for me to completely let go of the things that she did and just open up completely to her.
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    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      I’m sorry for your experience, Shell. I hope that with time, your heart heals more. xo

  • May 15, 2014 Stacey

    My mother and I didn’t have the greatest relationship when I was growing up. We are very close now, but it was my having children that made us that way. My family wasn’t particularly affectionate, either…so I love you isn’t something often said, and to this day hugs from them feel a little awkward.

    I have spent my entire time as a mother trying to make sure my kids KNOW love, know a hug is always waiting, and that they are the best things that ever happened to me!
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    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Stacey, I’m glad you’ve taken your experience and turned it into a positive parenting path!

  • May 16, 2014 Roxanne

    I was very close to my mother growing up, but she had a similar relationship to her mother that you have with yours. Now that I’m older and don’t live super close, we don’t talk as much as we used to. But when we do–and when she visits or I visit–the closeness it there again. I hope I have that same kind of relationship with my son. And any other children I may have in the future.
    Roxanne recently wrote…Who attends blogging conferences?My Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      Roxanne, I believe strongly that you already have a great relationship with your son!

  • May 16, 2014 Jennifer Hall

    I’m sure this was very difficult for you to write and share. I’m sorry your mom didn’t know how to give you what you needed, but it is absolutely the perfect thing for you to do now, to be different with your children. The saddest thing would be to be just like her. (((hugs)))
    Jennifer Hall recently wrote…The View From Here: Nothing New About BullyingMy Profile

    • May 19, 2014 Alison

      You’re right, Jennifer, it would be. I’m doing my best to ensure that my children KNOW they are loved and cherished, always.

  • May 22, 2014 Andrea

    I think that we learn how to parent from our parents, for better or worse. Your mother sounds like a stable element in your upbringing, one who taught you many things, above all independence. It is not a terrible lesson to learn, but to feel secure in the love of a parent is important in the self-love we all strive for. As a mom you know where to fill in the gaps for your own children, and I have no doubt that you are doing a great job. xo
    Andrea recently wrote…RSVP: The Art and The AgonyMy Profile

    • May 22, 2014 Alison

      I certainly did learn some good life lessons from my mother. All was not lost. 🙂

  • May 22, 2014 Rebecca

    I love this dream, it has so many layers to it that I feel it’s a hyper-analyzing gold mine. Mother/daughter relationships are complicated. I have four sisters and we all have very different relationships with our mom. My mom isn’t affectionate unless you’re 5 or under and she can be very cold or very warm. Much like you, I’ve accepted what is and what isn’t and though it’s by no means the normal mother/daughter relationship, it’s okay. I know no different so I know no loss…I think.
    Rebecca recently wrote…I’m Going to Let My Son FailMy Profile

    • May 23, 2014 Alison

      I agree – not knowing different, it’s hard to realize the loss. I think I only felt some of the loss when I saw other mother-daughter relationships, and when I became a mother myself.

  • May 23, 2014 Vikki

    Mother-daughter relationships are so complex aren\\\’t they? I often wonder how my daughter will remember me and what our relationship will be like when she’s grown.
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    • May 23, 2014 Alison

      From what I can tell, I think she will have great memories of you, Vikki.

  • June 2, 2014 Maureen

    Oooh Alison, tears. I KNOW exactly how it feels. And now that I am under the same roof as my mother, I never feel more distant than now. I too have no recollection or slightest memories of being cuddled, being hugged, or even hearing her say I love you. I left home at 15 to go to high school in Jakarta…I didn’t miss her. I moved to the US when I was 26 and I still didn’t miss her. Now, as hard as I try to fix our relationship with her bad health and all, sometimes I feel like I just want to give up. Maybe the gap between us is just a little too wide and deep, I don’t know. I certainly didn’t have the mother-daughter bond I imagined like in those TV shows or movies. Right now I realized she may never change her ways or the way she criticize me with her simple yet painful words so it is me who must learn to let that go or it will keep on driving me batshit crazy. There are good days, there are bad horrible days of “I-can’t-fucking-believe-she-said-that-to-me!” Thank you for sharing your own story Alison, it must be difficult to write this? I still don’t have the guts to write about mine because some families knows I have a blog. In a strange way, reading this, feeling tears running down my face made me feel a tad better. Knowing I’m not alone. Thank you Alison.
    Maureen recently wrote…Accepting Myself Unconditionally, Right NowMy Profile

    • June 3, 2014 Alison

      Maureen, I am sorry that you do not have the kind of relationship you hoped and dreamed for with your mother. But, I am glad that by writing this, I’ve made you feel less alone. There are many of us out there – the daughters who feel somewhat motherless, though we still have them. Maybe there is still time to reconcile? Rebuild that bridge? I know that since writing this, I’ve had a conversation with my father (who I didn’t realize knew I have a blog, and actually read this), and we’re taking tiny steps to make the most of the time we have left together on this earth. Life is too short for regrets. May you find peace with your relationship with your mother, Maureen, whichever way it goes.

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Alison Profile PictureI'm Alison. Writer, a mother of four (two boys and boy/ girl twins), social media enthusiast and book lover. A believer in the power of chocolate and hugs. Chugging coffee as I type. Want to know more?

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