For me, Mother’s Day is the day when everybody on the internet seems to have a perfectly uncomplicated relationship with their beautiful, flawless, TV-perfect mom. I’m sure I’m not the only kid in Internetland who feels this way. So I just wanted to take this opportunity to say that I didn’t have a TV perfect mom but HEY LOOK I TURNED OKAY!
My mom struggled with mental illness her whole life. While I was growing up, it was barely treated and almost never mentioned in our house. Despite the fact that mental illness affects something like 1 in 5 people, the stigma around it is massive. Talking about this on Mother’s Day makes me feel vulnerable or maybe like I’m a bad daughter, but I’m not a bad daughter, just as my mom wasn’t a bad mom. She was (and is) really great.
This weekend, I drove up to San Francisco and surprised my mom for Mother’s Day. It was nice. I’m glad I went. At the age of 62, I’m happy to say my mom is doing better than ever.
Truthfully, I think I just wanted to preface my Mother’s Day story with a little bit of honesty because honesty seems like a likely antidote to fear and shame and all that other stigma-related garbage.
PS. In case any kids out there in Internetland are wondering if they will be okay despite having an un-perfect, non-TV-ready mom, the answer is you’ll be fine. You’ll probably just end up slightly more empathetic and understanding than you planned.