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The Boston Globe


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.

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