Several years ago, I tried to launch a blog called “How our Mothers Mold Us.” My plan was to showcase the writing of other women, and my role would be the organizer and editor.
It was going to be big, people. Biggggggg.
Because I love hearing other women tell me about themselves as children growing into adulthood. We all have vivid and important tales about the women who raised us, for better or worse, and how their hands molded us, for better or worse, into the women we are today, for better or worse. My plan was simple: I’d ask women to write about their mothers—the love, the angst, the fury, and the loyalty. I’d tweak the pieces and put them out into the world. It would open up the untold and varied truths about mother-daughter relationships, and create a place of connection, beyond clichés, beyond what’s in the movies, beyond the gobblygook. I imagined its wild success in binding women together through our common experiences as daughters of mothers. For better or worse.
Annnnnnnnnnnd it was a bust. For one thing, the luster has worn off people launching blogs. Whenever a market gets saturated, prices go down, right? And there are a lot of blogs out there.
But, even more so, it turns out no one wants to say personal, public things about mothers. No one wants to really reveal the nuances of those relationships—not when it might be read by others, not when it might be hurtful in any way. I have a friend who has a fascinating, lovely, difficult story about her mother, a story with plot twists I’d pay good money to see in a movie. When I asked her if she wanted to write about it, her no was emphatic and quick. No. Absolutely not. And her resolute refusal played out over and over and over again with other women with whom I spoke.
Here’s the thing: As much as our mothers infuriate us, or given us things we have to deal with as grown women and mothers ourselves, most of us feel a fierce and unrelenting devotion to our mothers—and, now that we’re grown ups, we finally understand them. We know they did the very best they could. We know that some of our resentments are of our own creation and we know we hang on to things that are stupid and catty. Many of us are mothers, now, too, so we’ve begun to look in the mirror and wonder what our own children will say about us, someday, and that’s a raw, rough realization. It is kind of like walking around with a wound you know might ache for a really, really long time.
So the blog flopped. But when I really think about it, I am buoyed by the “why” behind the fail. It implies there is a sisterhood far beyond what I’d known—a sisterhood that reaches past the stories we tell to one another, a sisterhood that turns out, blessedly, to include our mothers. It’s an allegiance and constancy. It’s fidelity to forgiveness and trust. And I’ll take that a thousand times over a successful blog.