Being Estranged From My Mom Is Hard. Mother’s Day Makes It Harder

'Simply acknowledging that others are experiencing estrangement or other kinds of loss on this day can go a long way.'

5/8/2021 6:22:00 PM

'Simply acknowledging that others are experiencing estrangement or other kinds of loss on this day can go a long way.'

It’s high time to start representing the different types of mother-daughter relationships—or lack thereof—that exist during the holiday.

. When the statistics are what they are, why do brands insist on misrepresenting—or worse, gaslighting—consumers during these holidays?"The fetishization of the 'perfect family' has long been a focus of marketers, advertisers, and the ‘brand’ of motherhood," explains clinical psychologist and bestselling author

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Dr. Ramani Durvasula."There are many different models of maternal caregiving—LGBTQ+ families, multi-generational families, foster families—and this is rarely depicted, which can also contribute to a marginalization of non-traditional maternal models and a sense of disconnect for those who may not [experience] what is portrayed as the 'norm.'"

Simply acknowledging that others are experiencing estrangement or other kinds of loss on this day can go a long way.Avoiding social media, commercials, and the greeting card aisle during this time does nothing to help manage the feelings that emerge for those of us who can't easily accept calls to"celebrate mom!," as society suggests. It’s time to showcase the mother-daughter relationships we don’t see in those advertisements or greeting cards—the ones that are hiding in the shadows of shame and stigma.

Recently, I found myself perusing a Reddit forum devoted to the lives and experiences of adult children living in estrangement from their parents. A user posted a comment about how hard it was to avoid the hype around Mother’s Day, and they included a screenshot of an email sent by a company that had taken steps to honor their consumers' circumstances, whatever they may be. The email contained an opt-out button and said,"Mother’s Day is approaching and we know this can be a sensitive time for some. If you would prefer not to receive any emails about this event, please let us know by clicking below by the 4th of March. But don’t worry, you will continue to receive our normal emails."

"I wish all companies would do this," the post’s author concluded. I have to say that I agree. Simply acknowledging that others are experiencing estrangement or loss on this day can go a long way, and hopefully this will work towards eliminating the notion that a greeting card or a gift is necessary to begin with.

While I don't know what the future for my mother and I will look like, I do know that normalizing the reality that mother-child relationships are far more diverse, complicated, and messy than we’re led to believe would be a step in the right direction. Such efforts could even help alleviate the pain for mothers—not just adult children—trying to protect their inner peace, rather than the constant reminders of what could have been.

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