‘Twas the night before Mother’s Day, for mothers of estranged adult children

Mother's Day for mothers of estranged adult children
‘Twas the Night Before Mother’s Day
(for mothers of estranged adult children)
by Sheri McGregor

The night before Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May,
TV and radio remind of the day.
Rose bouquets, gift cards, and visits galore—
We’re shown family perfection, happy kids at the door.

But that’s not the reality estranged mothers see.
Since our rejection, we may not even know who to be.
In church should we stand up as all mothers do?
Or sit there, embarrassed? We might cry: Boo hoo.

Should we buy our own presents? Pretend we’re not sad?
Stay home with the curtains drawn? (It won’t be so bad.)
We could throw a big party; greet the day with a cheer.
Or turn off our cell phones; avoid calls we may fear.

Will that child we birthed so long ago phone?
Or will the adult we don’t know send a message we’ll bemoan?
We know from experience it’s just words on a screen.
Amid all the silence, it may seem just plain mean.

On this day and always treat yourself well. Let sadness go.
Enjoy others who love you, and do let you know.
Make a card for your own mom, and give her a hug.
Thank a motherly figure—at her heartstrings tug.

The day honors mothers for the gift they once gave.
For the diapers and sleep loss, for the life’s way they paved.
Honor your own self, on this day and all.
Do whatever feels best, and then heed the call—

Good woman, you’re worthy! Get up and have fun.
There’s life to be lived. You’re nowhere near done.
Get out and smile. Find people, find purpose, and joy will abound.
It’s beyond the next corner. Do look around.

Tomorrow the sun rises. Moon and stars too.
There’s hope and there’s healing. What will you do?
The world is an oyster, but its shell you must crack.
Search for the pearl. Tell the world, “I am back!”

Related Posts:

Mother’s Day when your adult child is estranged

Happy Mother’s Day


Join the newsletter

Pine 300x225

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

29 thoughts on “‘Twas the night before Mother’s Day, for mothers of estranged adult children

  1. lou

    Beautiful and touching poem.
    Please remember that if your child is on drugs or an alcoholic this could be a reason they are estranged. Many alcoholics or drug addicts have low self esteem and hide behind their addiction by staying away from parents who they think would judge them.

    1. Natalie

      hello, I am new here. but I do have very hard time to my son 19. lost his 2 jobs, his fould, he never show up. so his truck was stolen, his identification as well. I am hopeless. don’t know what is best and what else will come. he took drugs, alcohol, rejected twice me and my husband, was hospitalized twice as well. at the hospital he met sum teens, now he is running behind him, we are hopeless. so I send him to Germany to his grandparents with only one way. no he is willing back to Canada. I do have no problem if he is back. just no trust, and think I will loose him forever

  2. Irene

    My daughter has had weight issues for almost all of her thirty eight years.
    Her first diet was mandated when she was six months old and it has been a source of pain and isolation for her.
    There have been years that she would not see me or talk on the phone with me because of “shame and blame”.
    It is so painful to have another Mothers Dsy with no contact from her. Everyday hurts.

  3. Chosen333

    I’m a newbie to this site, so hello.

    Well, since my mother said, “I don’t like girls or women,” I guess there’s no need to contact her. My 28 year old son has punished me countless times if I didn’t give him monetarily, and that punishment has been abandonment. Now my 7 month old granddaughter has been used as a tool to further inflict pain. I gave up on life almost two years ago, but God hadn’t given up on me. During this time of much prayer, it is only God that can bring me through through. You see, when my son’s love became too expensive, when I could no longer afford him and I, in turn, needed his help, I was discarded as that of a piece of trash.

    I just want the pain of it all to disappear. I am faced with trials that seem unbearable, and as I cry at this very moment, I ask God to just send someone along to help me bear this cross. I have no one.

    1. Candy

      Dear Chose 333,
      Well, here we are together! My birthday is today as well and I too have no relationship and have been abandoned by my son. I “know” how much you want the pain of it all to disappear to use your words. The pain gets duller and duller as you read this site. Please do read as many of the replies and articles as you can. I don’t want to sound like I am preaching, but that really helped me and educated me to the fact I was not alone. You aren’t alone as there are so many of us in the same boat as you find yourself.
      I recently read one of Sheri McGregor’s articles about replacing sorrow with positive actions and using smiles. Well, since my birthday was today and I am alone, I went to a mall. I smiled at as many people as I could and believe it or not, many people smiled back. Perhaps people have always smiled at me and I couldn’t see because of my grief. I am working so hard to get out and join the world again. It is hard, very hard, but please come to this site and read and reply to as many as you are able to. There will be tears all over your keyboard, but hang in there. I have found my sad feelings, grief etc. are like a tsunami. There are waves of some good feelings and then another big wave of incredible sadness. I am glad you have G-D in your life. I hope you continue to use him/her to your use and this wonderful site. I honestly feel as empty as you do, but I have to keep trying to feel some “smiles” in this world. You are a good mom, a good woman and please hang in there with the rest of us.

    2. Judy kay

      Hi,Chosen 333,
      I can so relate to you (I’m a newbie,too)….today has been agonizing in my heart…….it always is.
      I have nobody either,my husband and brother died 3 yrs.ago and that was the last of my family (I’m 64) and came from a small family at that.
      I have two grown sons and a great grandson…..My oldest is 45 and youngest is 40…..my oldest has not spoken to me in 10 yrs.except through his wife now and then…..she’s the ‘controller’….but,that does not excuse him or my youngest…..in fact,it’s like their hearts just turned to stone one day~!
      And I,like you,try to comfort myself with prayer and depending on God.
      well,I won’t go into the long story of my life,we all have so many stories……..I pray for them all the time,for God to soften their hearts.

  4. Maryjo

    Dear ladies
    I can so relate to your stories and my heart goes out to you. I battled for 4 years and wasted a lot of tears. What I learned was the outcome was never going to change. I needed to change. I no longer pine for something to happen. I am the one who calls the shots. I want her to feel like I was made to feel. If she does come back to me fully, I want her to have worn my shoes.
    She called me on Mother’s Day. I did not answer the phone. I still am alittle concerned how she will present herself. She has been vicious before. I would not take a chance on her ruining what had been a great day. Do I sound harsh and uncaring? I hope not. I am just sorry it took me so long to come to my senses. I am merely giving her what she wants. Maybe when she sees she is not my priority, she’ll start evaluating herself and want a meaningful conversation. If not, I am not willing to waste another 4 years of self doubt and hate. I am better than that and so are you.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?!

    1. Lisa


      I do not think you are heartless or uncaring. I also did not even check my phone on Mother’s Day, because I refused to let my daughters ruin my day. After years of heartache, I am moving on. I was a good and loving mother. We were seperated for a time when they were growing up due to financial hardships and no child support from the father. I explained everything to them, I did all that I could and continued to support them throughout. They treat me like I am a stranger who should only be approached at arm’s length. I’m tired of their guilt trips, and I can honestly say, I don’t like the people that they have become.
      They have the choice, my mother did many nasty things to me but I always treated her as my mother.
      You may not like your mother, but you should always know that she is your mother and be respectful.


      Hows about this one folks – I had a son – he changed his name to Andy. He has decided for the last 20 years to mould himself in the image of his alcoholic dad. What does that entail you might ask – he thinks only of himself, has never ever asked how I am, I had to pay him to do 30 mins work for me. THAT sums up what he became after he left home 20 years ago – he has treated me as though I do not exist – that has been so cruel. It has taken me a good year or so to finally have to face the fact that he does not care about me. The final straw was being told that I could not go his wedding and I cannot see my grand daughter. That is exactly the attitude my ex husband had – he has even decided to wear similar clothes to his dad and to have his hair the same. His dad drove me to a nervous breakdown because of his not caring about me or his children or me. His son has had exactly the same effect on me. I even had to change my will to make sure that my daughter gets my home when I die, Had I not done this he and his cold wife would have eventually forced my daughter out of my home and I am not having that. My daughter is so warm hearted and supportive of me and me of her.
      At the moment I hate life – I cannot see anything changing in my life, Itrs akll very well to say – go out and re invent yourself – do things you like – but the grief is so overwhelming today. I have had enough, being positive has worn me out, my skin looks old, I feel old and worn out and I have little hope for the future. I no longer want to see him ever – I am better off with him out of my life for good. Please do not say I will change my mind because my sanity depends upon never ever trusting him with my feeling again. I know it isn’t a positive post but that is a taste of how I feel today – I hate him and his wife – I hope he stays away for ever and a day because I doubt if I will ever allow him to breathe the same air as me again.

    3. Heartsick but Healing

      It’s been 4 months for me and it may as well be 4 years. I had two children to consider and could no longer tolerate my daughter’s behavior. I do not want a relationship where she will show up only when she needs money – that is not how I taught her to treat others. It is a grieving process for me and I focus on my spouse and my younger daughter, who does not share the vicious nature. Some days are better than others, and some days self doubt is so strong it’s painful. Unsolicited advice is painful – so many think you should just them do whatever, but I strongly believe – our house, our rules. Her sister is several years younger so I want the rules to be clear. You never stop worrying or caring, you just reach a point where you remember that the whole family matters, not just the one person misbehaving. They have so many outside influences so you know it’s not your fault – even though you get blamed. It’s helpful to know there are others out there hurting just like me.

    4. Wanda

      Maryjo, I like your post. sounds like you have taken back your power. I am working on it.
      I have 3 grown children who alienated me when I devorced their abusive father. I have allowed them to treat me badly. I know I was a good mother and it ends this Mother’s Day. I have come to the conclusion that these are not he children I raised,loved and nurtured by myself. their father was an absent player and abusive. for a long time I ruminated over the fact that they alienated me when I left him. he is a narcissist and has bought them off. these are not my children. the children I knew and nurtured would not do this to me.
      no cards come for Mother’s Day but if any should I have decided to return them unopened. it’s time I too took back my power. it feels good rather than sitting around sad and crying. I have a son who lives with me who has Autism it is time That I focus on what I have rather than what I lost. wishing everyone a happy Mother’s Day. I will get myself some flowers and go out for dinner with the son I have.

  5. Mjmom

    Hi Lisa
    Thank you for your support. Even though I have let go I still carry the guilt of what ifs. As a mother you will always carry this burden.,As a child, I guess it doesn’t. apply.
    No longer do I feel awful not including her in family functions. She made it perfectly clear she has “another family”. Really? I didn’t know you could trade your family in. It seems to be a cancer amongst our children.
    I only know my life is happier without her. I regret she never told me what caused her exit. I only know I no longer cry or want her back. 4 years is too long. At my point in life I may not have another 4 years. If I do, I refuse to spend it in a living death.,

  6. Laura

    All the stories are the same. All very sad. Being silent in our lives means we will no longer be misquoted.
    Every day now for a few years I think of my children and their children. The rest of my family have died.
    It is too long now even if they do return. I would no longer trust them or set myself up to be abandoned again. Once bitten twice shy. My children were loved, anticipated and cared for long before they were born. Though not the perfect Mom I did the very best I could do. I was a stay at home Mom and enjoyed and appreciated the chance to be at home. Now I am at an age where I might become “needy” in my senior years and for this reason I believe adult children abandon parents. Their stress levels cannot handle a possible needy parent! Good luck to us all as we reinvent who we are and take control of our lives again. I am only sorry that one day they will have to live with regret.

    1. Linda

      I noticed your post is dated 2015 but I couldn’t resist responding to the part about becoming “needy” in old age. Yes, I have felt this also. My 3 children, all college graduates know how much I sacrificed while they were growing up to give them things like piano and dance lessons, private schools, tutors, since Home even though I was a single mom through a great deal of this. Now, with their perfect educated lives they seem to resent that I just scrape by on very meager income. They have plenty and chose to share their lives with the spouses families and I just don’t fit it. I am isolated, lonely and trying to find out how this happened. We had such a great family.

  7. Maryjo

    I read your post. It caused me to revisit my situation. You are in the place I was once in. Feelings of grief, anger, guilt the blackness of the future become overwhelming. No one understands, I felt all alone in a crowd of people. Sometimes life felt useless. I felt useless. Once I accepted my situation, I mean really accepted it, it was like an elephant lifted from my chest. I could make rational decisions. I felt sorry for my daughter. She wa the one with the problem. I had a life to live and by God I was going to live it to the fullest. No regrets, no hate no denial no excuses. I pray you give yourself the gift of self love. You deserve it!!!!

    1. Sylvia

      So how do I get to where you are now?? What do I need to do to make the shift of I don’t give a damn about if my daughter lived or died

    2. Wanda

      Maryjo, I am new to the site and love reading your posts. they are very empowering. I agree acceptance is the answer. I find saying the serenity prayer to be helpful .

  8. Candy

    I just got back on the computer. Had back surgery and am home and feel good. Read your wonderful email. You really hit something on the head for me. You said, ” once you accepted the situation, really accepted it, it felt like an elephant was lifted from your chest”. Thank you! There are some days I am at that state of mind and then the longing and self blame and anger returns. But your words really hit me in between my eyes today. Maybe it’s the drugs I was on, but thank you again. I have to really accept my situation and move on and have a life without my son. Thank you again.

  9. Caro

    The stories & comments on here are absolutely heartbreaking. I am new to this & fear I’m heading down similar path with my 22yr old son. Is it natural to feel your heart actually breaking – at night I feel as if I may actually be having a heart attack; the pain is so great. Like others I feel the guilt, sadness, shame, worry & embarrassment of sharing the situation with family & friends. I too am a single mother; with no partner.

    Thanks for sharing all your feelings – it helps just a little to know I’m not alone.

    1. Sunshine Deb

      Dear Caro,
      Yes when your heart is being ripped too pieces it does feel like you’re having a heart attack! My heart has been broken by my two sons so many times. This last rejection by my oldest son who is 35 yrs old and who I use to be very close to at one point almost put me over the edge. I didn’t know if I wanted to live any more. I contemplated suicide because I felt that I let God down. The children He blessed with no longer wanted to be part of my life. My wonderful husband and best friend helped me through the worst part along with my girlfriends. I know realize that by wanting to take my own life I was telling God that was the only reason He created me and that isn’t true. He created me for Him. For His pleasure. I am very spiritual and spend a lot of time in God’s word and have learned so much. I love my children and that is what God expects from me. To love one other. I know I am a good person. It’s too bad my children are missing out. They have been spoilled for years by my ex-husband family and if something doesn’t go the way they want they write those people out if their life. Some day.God will judge them. I get through it only one day at a time. I fight Satan and tell him to stand behind me when he filled my head with regrets our memories. You definitely aren’t alone in this plight and we all love and care about you, Caro

    2. Sylvia

      Nope. Your not alone. Been there did that. But now I’m coming back home to me. For me.

  10. Tracie

    Lisa, your comment of “I don’t like the people that they have become” is EXACTLY how I feel about my 20 year old son and what I say to folks when they ask me, “How’s Ben doing?”…. I feel worse for my mom, his grandmother, who at 78 is desperately missing the relationship with her grandson. I know when and how our estrangement came to be and all down to a dominating, over opinionated step mother who had actually sent me a 3 page scathing email in 2011 on what a “horrible mother” I was…. that didn’t even bother me in the slightest as I know that my son’s father an I co-parented beautifully and with much respect until she came into the picture in 2009. My son was a loving, bright and caring boy who has just completed his 3rd year of university, in on the Dean’s list, fortunate to travel the world and learn but alas, like his father, avoids confrontation and continues to “drink the Kool-Aid”. His father and step-mother don’t feel that my son should be visiting me or my mother as we don’t contribute to his university education or fly him home for visits (that’s another story) so he doesn’t. I look at this as “his loss” and my life will continue to thrive and I’ll be happy! I always tell folks, “I had Ben in the best years – “pre 16” because what he has grown into so far and become, is not something that I support or want in my life either. I also find humour, and say, “now I know why mother’s eat their young in the animal world”… haha! Hold on to the pleasant memories and always feel hopeful for the future….. I know I will and I do.

  11. Pam

    I am a newbie. I had 4 children. Three years ago my second child and daughter died from drug abuse. My other 3 children had written her off long before she died. ( They are all college graduates, married, have beautiful homes and wonderful spouses.) My husband and I had custody of her daughter for about a year and then her husband and her “cleaned up” just long enough to get the little girl back. The last year of her life I was consumed with saving her and taking care of my granddaughter. Even though the parents had custody back we were still caring for her the majority of the time. In her last year of life she was beaten, raped, wrecked 5 cars, went through several jobs. She died on July 5, 2012. It nearly killed me. I couldn’t save her. Then during the worst period of my life my oldest child and daughter began treating me coldly. She would no longer come and stay at our house when she was in town. She stayed with other relatives and friends (still does that). She said hurtful things, then one by one, family members started staying away from me. I then learned from my brother that my daughter was telling people horrible things about me. We had some financial difficulties after our daughter died for many unpleasant reasons….but not from anything we did. We struggled for about 2 years, and during that time we had to borrow money from a couple of family members. She told them not to give us any additional help ( we didn’t need any and didn’t ask, and we are on our feet now) as she said I was gambling and possibly using drugs. How did I find this out? My brother came to my house when my husband was on a trip and laid into me about it. I seriously considered suicide, but my religious beliefs prevented me from doing that ( thank you God). My husband insisted I go get help, and I have. I am stronger now and no longer cry or grieve over the loss of two daughters, rather….I feel really REALLY pissed now. She has a relationship with me on “her terms”. It is really no relationship at all. She says I am not the person she thought I was and is in fact embarrassed of me:(. This started a year before her sister died, and has continued. It comes in waves and gets worse as the mood strikes her I guess. I am not allowed to defend myself or ask any questions as she goes crazy on me. Frankly…..I am sick and tired of her terms and her snobbery. I came here for support in hopes I can get my anger under control before I go madly crazy on her. We are raising our granddaughter, doing well except for this one child……but she certainly messes with my life and I am tired. Our other two kids are fine now, however, at one point she had them angry….we talked it out and all is well on those fronts.

  12. frances

    oh my! in the last 30mins I have laughed(thought I’d forgotten how) and cried.i cannot believe there are other people out there with exactly my grief,shame disgust and suicidal thoughts.tomorrow I have to take the police to my property while my 38yr old daughter removes her belongings.she has been living with her 65 (yep)year old boyfriend but still had access to our property because my husband is too weak to order her off,during that time I have been abused,locked out of the property,etc.i have been so close to suicide too many times during the last 7 mths and am hanging on by my fingernails. simply reading some of your stories have given me strength to get through tomorrow-its just one day at a time for me.my 2 beautiful golden cocker spaniels are my reason for still being here/

  13. Maryjo

    Hi Wanda
    I am glad you find some comfort in my posts. Sometimes I wonder who is reading and how they came to this most sad club. Life does get better.,Holidays are hard but more bearable as years go on. Mother’s day is hard. I know you said you will return cards unopened if you receive one. It was my first response too.,Kind of a reflex reaction., I am glad I didn’t go with 1st reaction. I didn’t want to acknowledge she could make me feel hurt. As it turned out she never made the attempt. this year I have no expectations. Her Dad will be 70 this May. I am having a huge party for him. She was not invited.,Perhaps she will read it on Facebook from her siblings. The door was closed, actually slammed by her. I locked it, but still hold the key. It is her choice to knock.
    By the way I retired a few months ago as a pediatric occupational therapist specializing in Autism. It was the most rewarding time of my life. My spoiled ED doesn’t have the slightest idea the challenges others have in their lives.

    1. Natalie

      thanks for the reply. I didn’t know it was posted. I am learning how to navigate this site. I have learned through the years it is about acceptance and taking back my power. I am a survivor of domestic violence. that is about loosing my power as a person. I was able to divorce and move away from him. he is a vengeful person and has alienated my children against me. he has money and bought them off. I never thought my one daughter would ever turn against me. we had an amazing relationship as she was abused by him also. he started by writing out a check and bought her a new jeep. my children never had a father and I believe they think this is love. she is now 40 years old. she has had many bad relationships and a divorce. I believe he would cut the money off to any one of them who were in my life. he can do nothing to my autistic son as he gave up his parental rights and I am the court ordered custodial parent. I do set up visits for my son as he wants to see his father. he doesn’t deserve them but it is the right thing to do.
      I have a wonderful therapist who helps me cope with this. I do not expect any thing for Mother’s Day. if a generic card comes I will return it unopened. I need to take my power back. much good wishes on your retirement.

  14. Kate

    What’s happened in this generation . When is it ok to do this to a parent for the exception. Of any type of abuse. How dare they do this. It infuriates me to no end to see what’s happening . In my generation it was unthinkable. I commend you on the fact that you are taking back what was callously stolen. Your power, please do return the card. I texted my daughter telling her in future if she can’t acknowledge her fathers special occasions , don’t acknowledge mine. How dare your daughter to be paid off . I Hooe for her sake she never feels your pain.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Website Protected by Spam Master