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Why I Ignore Social Media on Mother's Day

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Mother’s Day. When one hears those words together, they may feel a wide array of emotions. For many, Mother’s Day is a day of joy, remembrance and love while honoring those in their lives who raised them. Yet, for many others like myself, Mother’s Day brings an array of other emotions such as pain, heartbreak, grief, anger, sadness and frustration.

Over the years I’ve come to acknowledge and understand that Mother’s Day is very difficult for me. The few weeks leading up to it are challenging emotionally as I wrestle between guilt, desire, fear and anger. I feel obligated to get her a card and spend time with her, even though it’s not at all what I want to do.

Before you start assuming I’m a terrible daughter, I want you to consider what it would be like to have a national holiday to celebrate your abuser. Maybe you don’t have to imagine it because you are already living it. Maybe for you, that holiday is Father’s Day. If so, I’m terribly sorry. You are not alone.

It is hard and painful to be surrounded by a holiday in which you feel obligated to celebrate someone who has caused you more harm than anything else in life. When you log onto Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and see evidence of the joy and love everyone else seems to give and receive on such a holiday, it’s unbearable. You can’t help but begin to wish and wonder what life would be like if you had that kind of relationship with your own mom.

In the past two years, I have made a conscious decision to stay completely off of social media on holidays like this. I find that seeing everyone’s posts about how much they love and cherish their mother and how their mother is their best friends are just too painful. Last year, I took just the holiday off of social media. It helped some to not have to see all of the posts that day, but I realized as I logged on the next day, that all of the posts still flooded my timelines. This year I have taken the entire year off of social media for various reasons which I wrote about in my blog. I’ve noticed a significant difference in my mood and attitude this time around.

By not having to see all of the Mother’s Day ads, propaganda and posts made by friends and family, I have allowed myself time to grieve in a healthy way. Sure, it’s still painful, but I don’t spend as much time comparing my relationship with my mom to others or getting jealous and bitter at what I don’t have. I’ve been able to focus on my recovery and boundaries and do what I want and need to do instead of what I feel obligated to do.

I still send a text and make a phone call and I still get her a little gift, sure, but I know now I don’t have to lean into the culture of gushy love and reminiscing. I also know I don’t have to become filled with jealousy and anger, but that instead there are other ways to celebrate such a holiday.

My counselor gave me the great advice that instead of focusing so much on my real mom on Mother’s Day, I should try to reach out to the other women in my life who have stepped up to help fill that role in some way. It’s probably the best advice I’ve been given for such an occasion. I make a point to reach out to my aunts, friends’ moms and even my counselor who have all helped me in some way. It’s healing for me.

If you’re like me and Mother’s Day was painful and difficult for any reason, or you’re dreading Father’s Day coming up, know that you are not alone. Also know that you are not obligated to celebrate such a day and instead you can take the day to take care of yourself.

And if you’re one of the lucky ones who has a wonderful, loving mother or father, cherish them, honor them and spoil them. Just don’t forget about those who may be struggling, too.

Follow this journey on Rambles.

Getty image via KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Originally published: May 11, 2020
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