Mom feels lonely and rejected
DEARAMY » My husband’s family never honored any holiday or milestones such as Mother’s Day or birthdays or anything like that. My family, though of modest means, celebrated all of that. I thought I had raised my four children to honor those traditions.
This past Mother’s Day broke my heart. My four kids, though well-meaning, put forth the absolute least amount of effort. And my husband, whom I dearly love, defended them.
When Mother’s Day arrived, nothing happened. Late in the day, one of my kids said, “Hey, Mom, how about I take you to dinner?” At 4 o’clock in the afternoon I’m really not in the mood.
One of my other kids calledme; hey, she was so tired but — oh, my goodness — she wished me a happy Mother’s Day! And my son who is living out of state called to wish me happy Mother’s Day. Big deal.
Am I wrong to be hurt? My husband is defending the kids: “Oh, they care, they did this, they did that...”
But really? I have made 100,000 dinners for all of them in celebration. And none of them could take the time to do that for me?
A perfectMother’s Day to me would require very little planning. Very little. If one of my adult children had said to the others, “Let’s do a potluck barbecue at Mom’s for Mother’s Day,” it would have been great.
To me, investing time is much more important than mailing a card that arrives a day late, or receiving a box on my doorstep. I felt ignored and unappreciated.
Yet they, (and, frankly, me too), would describe all of our relationships as good — and even close.
I don’t want to be selfish, and I hate being so hurt, but I am very upset that my husband does not have my back. I just want to run away. I don’t know what to do. — Sad Mom/Grandma
DEARSADMOM » Mother’s Day is surprisingly complicated. Let me start not by defending, but perhaps explaining your husband’s reaction to your upset. He was not necessarily defending the kids’ feeble efforts, but trying to deflect you from focusing on their efforts by reminding you that they care about you and love you very much.
He did the wrong thing for you in this moment, however. In this context, “having your back” would mean that he would have been as furious and upset as you are. He went another way.
I hope you will reach out to your adult children, as a group, and be completely transparent with them (copy your husband on this email): “Guys, I’ve made 100,000 special dinners for you over the years. I don’t have high expectations for gifts, etc., but I do want to see you (if possible) on Mother’s Day. It’s the one day when I am highly conscious of my role in your lives, and making a modest plan to get together would make me very happy and appreciated. I feel like a baby reaching out to you in this way, but, well, I’m being honest with you, and I hope you’ll take this in the spirit it is intended.”