By GalTime Teen Parenting Expert, Barbara Greenberg, PhD
Is Mother's Day stressful for you?
Dear Dr. G.,
I know that parents usually write to you about their problems with their teenagers. Well, I'd like to turn this problem upside down and from the perspective of a 17-year-old teen daughter. That's me. Mother's Day is approaching and this is not an easy time for me.
You see since my parents got divorced last year, they fight all the time and they ask me questions about each other. My mother drives me crazy.
She asks me questions about my father's girlfriend and then if I say anything nice about the girlfriend, my mother gets all bummed out looking. I just can't win.
Well, my father is even worse. He calls my mom a blood-sucker and says that she's making him broke. Now, what am I supposed to do about that? I am not their lawyer. I am their kid, not their buddy.
Related: Were Your Parents there for You?
Now, that Mother's Day is close, I have to say that I don't feel like I can celebrate it like everyone else. All of the Mother's Day cards talk about how great mothers are and how they are the best thing that ever happened to everyone. If I could make my own card I would consider1. You're pretty bad but dad is worse. Happy Mother's Day!
2. On Mother's Day, think about who is the mother and who is the daughter?
3. Maybe on Mother's Day you can re-evaluate your mothering and get your s**t together. Sorry, for that word. Obviously, I'm mad.
Here are my questions. Do I have to be fake on Mother's Day and buy one of those stupid cards that don't describe my relationship with my mother? My second question is: would it be terrible of me to just ignore Mother's Day?
Please help. I don't know what to do or who to talk to.
A Mad Teenage Daughter
First, let me say that I can understand why this holiday is so difficult for you. You are correct. The typical mother's day card does make you feel like everyone else has a great relationship with their mother. I can assure you that this is not the case.
Most people have complicated relationships with their mothers. This may not be that helpful to you though, because you are having an especisally hard relationship with your mother this year.
Related: When Mother's Day is Confusing
Before I answer your two questions, I would like to make some other suggestions that might be helpful. Your parents should not be talking to you about each other. This puts you into a terribly awkward, inappropriate, and painful position.
May I suggest that the next time your mom asks you about your father's social life that you gently but firmly tell her that this makes you uncomfortable and you would like her to stop asking you these questions. And, the next time your dad complains about your mom, tell him to talk directly to her and that you no longer want to be in the middle.
You see, divorced parents often get very confused and put their children into this position that you are finding yourself in. Do everything you can to make it clear to them that you do not and will not listen to them talk about each other.
Regarding whether or not you should buy your mom a card, I would suggest that you buy her a card that you feel comfortable with.
If you look hard enough I'm sure that you can find one that is simple. Skipping the holiday is probably not a great idea, even if it is tempting, because avoidance usually doesn't lead to good things and my hope is that your relationship with your mom will improve over time.
I wish you good luck. I know that the holidays can be tricky.
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