Mother’s Day, My Hurt Feelings, and Pulling On My Big Girl Pants


As you know, Mother’s Day was several weeks ago, and I am glad I didn’t write this article about my hurt feelings in the heat of the moment. Count to ten and all of that… over time, how many times have you asked, “What was all that fuss about anyway?”

Mother’s Day is a tough one for me. My amazing mother has been gone for thirty-six years and my daughter and her partner (my stepdaughter,) and their daughter (my granddaughter) live hours away. I keep myself busy on Mother’s Day, but, for me, it is never the day that everyone posts about on social media. I typically shed a tear or two. Do I have a heightened sensitivity on that day? I would say a big fat yes… It seems like I often have hurt feelings on Mother’s Day.

I did appreciate that my daughter FaceTimed with me first thing on Mother’s Day. She is one who makes me laugh. Even though she is in her late 30s, she is my baby, and I adore seeing her beautiful face. Later in the day, my stepdaughter usually reaches out via text. This is not my preference, but I try to be a big girl. I do love that she is thinking of me. This year, my stepdaughter posted a Happy Mother’s Day message on Facebook to all of the moms out there, and particularly to her two moms, her mother and me. Wow, that felt great!

two women at a baseball gameI began to wonder why my granddaughter had not reached out. She is very often so sweet and out of the blue, just calls me… so why not on Mother’s Day? Facebook was blowing up with granddaughters honoring their mothers and their grandmothers.

grandmother and granddaughter Hey! What was I? Chopped liver? I just told you that I am sensitive on Mother’s Day, so it should not have been a shock that I felt sad about the lack of regard from one who I thought loved me. My hurt feelings!

Can I be melodramatic or what?

This is one of the things I find challenging about social media… all the unrelentingly happy faces. But then again, I am not much of a fan of those who always share “woe is me” posts. I even advise the beauty consultants in my business not to get too negative on social media. Who wants to do business with negative people who are full of drama?

Back to the story of my hurt feelings… where was my Mother’s Day wish from my granddaughter?

This is where my mind could really run amuck. Communication is so important. I told my husband that I was hurt and actually was angry at her lack of regard. What was the good of telling him? He was sympathetic and he was sorry that I was sad, however… it ended there. I still had hurt feelings.

I decided to do a little research on Emily Post’s website. Etiquette isn’t as valued today as it used to be, but I find that it provides me with good guidance. I searched for, “is it good etiquette to wish a grandmother Happy Mother’s Day?” Side note, did you know that the Emily Post Institute is based in Burlington? Their offices are on South Union Street! Huh! But I couldn’t find my answer there, even though I did see some pretty fancy table settings!

hurt feelings sad face in coffeeWhy do we talk about our hurt feelings and conflicts with other people, rather than the source itself? Particularly when the source is a family member. Are we protecting ourselves against more hurt? Does this give us a chance to reflect? I don’t know about you, but I admit, I tend to go to a darker place than necessary. Instead of thinking that my granddaughter forgot, I immediately assumed she forgot all about me. What’s with that?

This happens in my business too. If I reach out and don’t hear back, I try not to, but I usually worry that the person is avoiding me, and I ask myself, am I bugging her? All sorts of insecure scenarios start dancing in my head. Where in the world does that come from? My parents were great at building me up… although, one out of one hundred times, my father would become a viper and really do a verbal number on me. What about the other ninety-nine times when he told me how wonderful I was? Geesh!

Ok, ok… back to my granddaughter. I know you are dying to know if I reached out to her directly.

Yes, I put my big girl pants on and sent her a text, which is her preferred form of communication, not mine. I told her that my feelings were hurt when she didn’t acknowledge me on Mother’s Day. I told her it was particularly hard to be ignored when I was seeing others posting about their grandmothers, writing about their love for their grandmothers.

Do you know what she wrote back? She said she didn’t know that was a thing, to wish your grandmother a Happy Mother’s Day.

That was the easy button. In a flash, I felt better. Lucky for me, I go to a dark place quickly, and I also come out to a brighter place just as quickly.

My answer to her? Who doesn’t like to be acknowledged? Is there ever a time one doesn’t like a shout out? Well, maybe some of you introverts might want a quiet version of happy wishes. As a big-time extrovert, for me, bring it all on!

The moral of the story? The lesson learned here? Bottling up hurt feelings is not healthy.

Take a breath, count to ten, take a few days, and if that feeling is still bothering you, reach out. Don’t attack, or accuse, just state your truth. My granddaughter is sixteen years old. She doesn’t know everything (I know, shocker, right?) I had an opportunity to expand her horizons.

My feeling of resentment is gone, and my love for my granddaughter is strengthened. After our texting back and forth about the Mother’s Day issue, I have heard from her more than usual. She just got her learner’s permit… and watch out people, there’s a new driver on the road! Someday, social distancing will ease up, she will get her driver’s license, and I look forward to seeing her pull into my driveway. What a day THAT will be!

Mother's Day, My Hurt Feelings, and Pulling On My Big Girl Pants

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Nan Patrick
Nan grew up in Glens Falls, New York, and attended Boston University. She thought of herself as ”very urban” until she realized she enjoyed being a big fish in a small pond. At the very “mature” age of 23, she moved to Burlington, Vermont to open an eponymous women’s clothing store. That was a 27-year run and a wonderful experience. Her store was a place where women felt like they mattered. During that time, she married her husband, Ken, became a stepmom, became a mom, and started a second business with Mary Kay Cosmetics. Now her kids are grown, and she has a 16-year-old granddaughter… what? How did THAT happen so quickly? She was promoted to a sales director with Mary Kay. Life is good. She figured out how to make money, save money, and enjoy what she earned. She loves to travel, spend time with her friends and family, take ballet and yoga, go on fun walks with my dog, and is an avid skier who loves to ski the bumps!


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