You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Magazine

Miss Conduct

Wisdom from mom

On Mother’s Day, Miss Conduct reflects on what she’s learned from Mrs. Conduct.

A FEW YEARS AGO, a friend and I riffed on a line of Mother’s Day cards for people who couldn’t in good conscience congratulate their mother as a Hallmark-approved “World’s Best” mom. We had slogans like “You’re the best mom I have!” and, of course, “You were a real mother to me.”

All holidays have their dark underside, and Mother’s Day can be painful for women who would like to be mothers and aren’t; mothers mourning children and children mourning mothers; all those whose relationships with their mothers or their children bring more pain than joy. Be sensitive to these folks. If you happen to be one, I hope you can use the day for some kind of healing. If you can’t, at least don’t use it to punish yourself.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week