Bad Mothers

In Craft, General, Musings on May 9, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Trolling Facebook today I’ve been surprised to find some anti-Mother’s Day sentiment. There’s a lot of, “Nobody should be excluded for not having kids,” and “Mothers aren’t the only ones who work hard!” As a mother of one who waited 12 years with her husband to have a kid, I agree that being a parent does not elevate one to some kind of saintly status. But really people, is there really anything wrong with appreciating mothers. Whether you love or despise yours, where the heck would we be without mothers?

More importantly, where would great literature be without them? (and great cinema. Cough. Mommy Dearest. Cough).

In graduate school, my last mentor professor, Alice Mattison, accused me of writing stories that, if collected, could probably bear the title “Bad Mothers.” This made it into my graduate lecture as I explored why certain themes reappeared in my life when, frankly, my own mother wasn’t really all that bad.

I’m not going to go into the breakdown here, but I ask you this question, writers: how has your relationship to your mother, or your own children, played into your writing?

  1. This is intriguing about the anti-Mother’s Day sentiment. Ha, maybe people are just highly over-sensitive. 🙂

    But I’ve also noticed a trend in my writing when it comes to mothers. I tend to write about characters who have a tentative/bad relationship with their mothers and that is not the case with the relationship with my own mother.

    Maybe I’m just fascinated with the negative side of this relationship. How things can go wrong — or maybe it’s just a good foundation for good conflict.

    • Karen, I have the same tendency, so this IS interesting. But I think that there’s so much potential conflict in parent-child relationships that we’d be foolish not to mine that area!

      Thanks for commenting

  2. I think people who have issues with Mother’s Day are 1) not mothers 2) not parents…if they were either, they wouldn’t have time or energy to get all nit picky about it! Plus, they’d understand the need to celebrate regardless of the other issues surrounding it ;o)

    As for the ‘mother theme’ *insert deep chuckle* my own mother would freely admit (and has) that she has given me enough material to fend off writer’s block for the rest of my life and possibly beyond that :o)

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