Sunday, 11 August 2013


Yesterday was my mum's birthday. I wont say which number but suffice to say she is my little fossil!

This is the cake I made her. For any poor, poor, deprived person who has not experienced Despicable Me; this is a Minion. The cake underneath was a rather yummy (yes I had a crumb or two :o) was a plain sponge made with addition of greek yogurt and one of my precious Vanilla Bean Pods. She is worth it!

Anyway I thought this would be a fitting opportunity to make a post that for a long, long time I have felt needed to be made.

Until about a year ago I had spent my life professing that I had such a wonderful, fantastic and pretty much perfect Mother. It wasn't bullshit either because I genuinely believed it. Me and mum do not fall out much, I mean probably never more than 4 times in a year. Of course this was different when I was little because kids will have tantrums however perfect they are. But in my older we basically never really 'fall out'. Naturally she will annoy me sometimes, and no doubt I really, really annoy her sometimes but it never results in a conflict and it is very transient.

So imagine my reaction when I had a therapist tell me I was deeply angry at my mum, and not just that but that I apparently felt she had hurt me deeply and the wounds were still smarting. This is what happened about a year ago.

I reeled at this insinuation. I spat back my denial. I defended her without ever allowing myself to even really listen to my therapists argument never mind entertain that it could be even minutely true. We spent maybe 5 sessions in this tennis match of abhorrent suggestions and venomous defensive reactions.

I honestly can't remember how this stage of therapy transformed into what it did become. It doesn't really matter, all that matters is that I stopped proverbially covering my ears and shouting 'LA LA LA' and I realised he was a very, very clever man and that he was not just not talking shit but that actually; he was spot on.

I was furiously angry at my mother. Frustration, hurt and rage sprung up in the well I had capped for all these years whilst I had been telling everyone how much of a wonderful, ideal maternal figure she was. I don't need to explain the reasons for all this suppressed hurt. It would bore you and seem completely irrelevant.

All that matters is I realised that what I had been wanting all my life was my oh so perfect mother to stop being oh so perfect and FUCKING WELL SAY SORRY. Admit she had hurt me, admit that she had been wrong, see how much she had wounded me and see how much salt she allowed the fall into those wounds that I have spent my life frantically trying to cover.

A couple of weeks ago we were sat in a beer garden and I just started talking and suddenly the five year old in me sprung up and spoke the words and shed the tears that she never had. And you know what; for the first time in my life (and probably hers) my mother was dismayed. She did more than apologise. We left that pub on a plain we had never before inhabited.

Now I will say: My mother is not perfect. But then she finally said she was not perfect. She didn't just apologise- she repented. Then she became more perfect than ever before.

If I could give all those people suffering mental illness a mother like mine I would.

How many of you want someone just to listen to you, not to try and rationalise everything you say?

How many of you would want someone to have never forced food upon you because they know the most likely result would be not a cured anorexic daughter but a bulimic daughter?

How many of you would like someone to come into your room in the middle of the night when they see your light on and you sat shaking from hours of agonising panic attacks, and not bring you a cup of milk and go back to their room, but instead come and sit with you until you fell asleep or simply to make you feel less alone? Even if that meant all night.

She is repairing all those years of hurt by how utterly selfless she is being now. That's enough for me.


  1. Sometimes this perfect illusion annoys people, but then they realize they do the same thing. They pretend to be perfect, and have great difficulties admitting their mistakes. I really hope my Mum can do that as well, and you're right - she will become more perfect than she has ever been. I'm happy you were able to experience that, because that kind of openness and having someone admitting their imperfection, is truly difficult.

    That cake both sounds and looks great. And so cute.

    1. Everyone wants to have had a perfect mum, and everyone wants to BE a perfect mum and you don't realise what a relief it is to let that go.
      thank you for reading and also commenting.


  2. Amazing post Katie
    So well written and it really hit a nerve with me
    I moved back in with my mother after I got very ill
    I never felt close to her growing up but over the last few years we have become very close
    On the surface I like to think of her as perfect but scratch the surface and there is a lot of hurt there from the past
    I think that once we become adults we realise that there is no 'guide book' on how to live a perfect life
    Just because we are adults does not mean we know everything
    People make mistakes but it's not the mistake that is important, it's how we deal with it I think

    There is so much healing I can sense in this post
    So much growth and love

    Your mum reminds me of my own mum
    She is the person who has been there through it all with me
    Through drug addiction and alcoholism
    Through detox after detox
    Treatment centres
    She is the one who slept beside me when I had night terrors
    Dried my tears when I said I wanted to die
    I hope I can add some happy memories to this list someday

    That's so funny!
    My nephew calls my mother and my auntie 'Fossil one and Fossil two'

    Much love Katie x

    1. Mental Illness is shit but you have to think of the good that has come out of it- like you say about your mum- perhaps it takes the self sacrifice of your suffering but at least you have a relationship that you perhaps would never have had if things had gone swimmingly in life.


  3. I think I secretly am still angry with my mom as well. It's sort of confusing. On one end, she did everything she could to give me the life I needed, regardless of her needs. On the other hand, her mental illness weighed heavily on dad and I and dad was an asshole and controlling and mean to her so I was her support. It's just sort of a mess. She tries to apologize for things sometimes and I just don't want her to hurt more so I say it's okay. It is. She needed me, unhealthy as the need was. Moms are amazing people and I'm scared to be one because what if I'm not as good as her? Yours sounds really great and I'm so glad you were able to have that with her, that healing moment.

    1. I too am terrified to become a mum for so many reasons. I think you just have to believe you will not be perfect but so long as you dont pretend to be you lessen the damage.

  4. Katie, it is a cross roads most of us come to about our parents... I never had that illusion with my father and only somewhat with my mother... but I did have my David up high on a pedestal... oh he was the best, he could do no wrong, he was kind, he was sweet... I was in seventh heaven telling anyone and everyone that I would be with David... lucky me.

    When I finally saw my David for what he really was, a good man, a good father... a man with faults like any other man... I took him off that pedestal and that was when I realized he was lucky to be with me too.

    I am so glad that your mum recognized your pain and apologized and repented... as parents we want to do the best for our children but we are not perfect, we make mistakes... yet we always love our children and we hope they forgive us for being real...

  5. Therapists have a funny way of doing that, unearthing issues that we refuse to believe exist.
    Either way, I'm glad you and your mum have cleared the air. She sounds like a true gem. My mum's stuck with me throughout the years of mental illness, and I don't know where I'd be without her. It's something I'll never take for granted, because we're truly lucky to have a family that sticks with us through thick and thin.
    Cute cake by the way!


  6. I'm not sure about my feelings towards my mother. I feel like there's definitely some anger there, annoyance, maybe even pity...but at the moment, I like her to think what she thinks of me. I have 2 days before I leave and I told myself I was going to tell her about all of this...nope. hasn't happened. I don't know why, it's not about being the "perfect daughter" but the part that you said about her making you not feel alone even if it takes all night...I wouldn't LET her do that. I have an incessant habit of pushing her away...I probably push her away more than anyone.

    Btw, that cake is amazing and I hope your mom had a great birthday. I'm happy you guys have a better relationship.

    1. My sister came over from taiwan recently for the last time before she pops her baby- so I knew I wouldnt see her for years. I fully intended to have a heart to heart with her, say what I havent said for 20 years and the visit NEARLY ended with me not doing so. Then at 2am of the morning before her flight on her way to bed she stopped me on the way up stairs and we stood and had that talk for an hour. I hope this makes you see there is still chance if you want it. I understand your reservations.
      Maybe one day when you are a stronger person in yourself and more self secure you wont need to push her away.
      Thanks- the cake still hasnt been eaten haha xxxx