The Free Motion Quilting Project: You Are NOT My Mother

Friday, December 16, 2011

You Are NOT My Mother

I was planning to share another cool design today, but I received a certain email this morning that requires me to vent a bit.

So if you don't want to endure my anger, frustration, or emotional "stuff" please go check out all the cool designs and emotion-free stuff available here.

The following vent is directed at certain people who email me to scold me over something they feel I've done wrong, or chastise me over a decision I've made about my own life.

Now for the vent - You Are NOT My Mother.

It seems silly to have to say this out loud, since I'm sure you, sitting there reading this are most assuredly NOT my mother because No. 1 my mother doesn't have internet access because she's an idiot and left my dad after 30 years of marriage and is now living in relative poverty, which really is most appropriate considering her terrible behavior and No. 2 she doesn't read my blog even when she does have access.

I ask because ever so often, or sometimes as often as every day, I receive a random email in which the sender seems quite confused. She seems to think that I am her daughter and I need "straightening out."

Or at least a solid talking to, which usually comes across as condescending, passive aggressive, and patronizing.

The theme is always "stupid little girl, you can't think this way because you're a stupid little girl and you don't know better and your mother loves you and you need to stop feeling and thinking this way because IT'S BAD. You need to keep a door open, keep the option around, ask for forgiveness, hug and make up, forgive and forget, allow bygones to be gone, and all other manner of get-over-it-right-now-and-be-fixed."

To which, my response is always the same - DELETE!

I call the women (and yes, it's always women that send such messages. I don't think men know how to be so condescending) who send these emails Crazy Mothers. I never respond to such emails simply because there is no response that will ever properly express what I'm feeling without being offensive:

"Thank you for your opinion, but please back off."

"Thank you for your opinion, but you're dead wrong and have serious boundary issues."

"No thank you for your opinion."

No matter what, I'm sure to get an email back that will be even more condescending and patronizing, even more of what I absolutely don't want.

But some emails just can't be ignored. Some are so hurtful, so condescending, so passive aggressive, that they make me want to punch the sender in the face. So to those specific Crazy Mothers, past, present, and future, here is my responding letter:
Dear Crazy Mother,

You are NOT my mother. You never gave birth to me and you did not raise me. You have read my words and applied yourself to my emotional venting and decided you actually have a say and are involved in my life.

Guess what? YOU'RE NOT!

You, my dear reader, are just a reader, not an active participant.

I'm sorry to have to remind you of this, but I DON'T KNOW YOU.

You know me, which makes for an extremely one sided relationship in which you assume we're best friends and have a great relationship, but we don't. I've never met you, I don't know you, and I definitely don't need your stuff applied to me.

Please don't email me again. ~ Leah Day
Yes, this is harsh, but it will be reserved only for the craziest of the Crazy Mothers. It will also allow me to place a boundary line between me and the people who seek to change and manipulate me.

As I said, this is a vent, nothing more. Read it and laugh that you're not this screwed up, that you have children you love, who love you back.

Trust me, you don't want to be my mother because my mother wasn't a good person. She's an alcoholic, a prescription drug addict, a junkie who views the world in an extremely narcissistic way. You don't want to be her, and you seriously don't want to try to step into her shoes.

Because I'm a girl who no longer needs her mother. I'm a girl who has stepped out of that conventional role and who doesn't want or need to hear that what I'm doing is wrong or bad or something I'll regret.

I may well regret this decision when I'm 60 years old an have the time and capability of foresight and hindsight, but here's one last fact - It is my choice to make, not yours.

I'm comfortable with the idea of regret. I have many regrets in my life already, but the biggest one so far is allowing terrible people to hurt me for 27 years. Allowing them to control and manipulate me. Allowing others ideas, wishes, or actions to change the course of my life for so very long.

And that now includes the Crazy Mothers, who have had the power, up until today, to make me feel like a bad little girl making stupid decisions. You cannot hurt me anymore because I will not allow you to.

That is my stand, this is my road, and I will walk it to where ever it leads.

Now I don't know about you, but I need to go quilt!

Leah Day


  1. I know too many children with crazy mothers/fathers. Thank you for showing me that these children can grow up to be intelligent, articulate, caring, and mature adults. Good job and keep quilting.

  2. Well said! Starting to move away from the toxic people in you life at your age will be a great asset when you reach my age. You will learn to spot them more easily and the stress in your life will be much reduced. I applaud you for what you have written, even though I am not your mother.

  3. I'm standing on my chair applauding you.

    Sounds like those "crazy mothers" are projecting their own guilt!

  4. Doors close (and lock) for good reason. Sometimes we need to use them.

    People who don't understand - I figure they either haven't encountered a toxic person, or they themselves are a toxic person. It's often easy to tell which is which.

  5. We are all stronger women when we have whacked out crazy mothers. We are all better and happier women when we push all those crazy lunatics out of our lives. I am happier when I hit the delete button before I ever open those emails up to read them. I never regret any of it. I hope your quilting today has made your blood pressure go down and to be happier again. Merry Christmas.

  6. you don't know me, and i certainly don't know you. i recently found your blog a few weeks ago and have loved all the designs you have been posting. it has helped me step out of my little insecure box of machine quilting and show that i can really do something else besides stipple. you wouldn't think it, but i have a harder time coming up designs for machine quilting than hand quilting. i don't know why.
    and since we don't know each other, you might not even care what i have to say. i do think your vent is appropriate. not knowing anything about your personal life, others really should stay out of it. we all have things in our lives that make it easier to judge other people, when we should judging ourselves first. i hope you do send your response back to those who try to impeed on your life's decisions.
    good luck to you!

  7. I am so sorry you had to grow up that way. I am also very glad you are able to stop the circle of abuse and be a good person, wife, and mother. So many people are not able to do that. Be strong. Go quilt and BE HAPPY.

  8. YES!

    I say"If I was advertising for the post, you wouldn't get to the interview stage"

    Sadly, like a lot of strong, opinionated, feisty, wonderful women, (like you, too) I have to say this a lot these days


  9. I'm the kid whos mother chose an abusive man over her own kid. Ignore and delete, they don't have a clue.

  10. I'm speechless. Shocked.
    Those people are WAY OUT OF LINE!
    (Sorry aout the shouting.)

  11. What is up with people? All of us have to live with choices we make for ourselves... but we don't have to accept the choices others inflict upon us, especially when they hurt and damage us. Being related by blood doesn't MAKE anyone a good decent human being. Leah carry on doing what makes you feel good, and congratulations that at only 27, you have worked out how toxic some people are... and how ignorant others are of such situations. I hesitated about writing because "you don't know me" - but you do speak words that many of us immediately understand. There are many of us in varying degrees who 'get this' and have no idea what life is like on the pink fluffy cloud, with cute kittens and puppies, where the sun shines every day......
    Do what you need to do for you.

  12. Hear, hear Leah. Merry Christmas.

  13. I had a crazy father, but a wonderful mother who adopted many to share her warm heart and always offered kind inspirational words & encouragement. I think she would agree with you on those crazy mothers, or crazy people that feel they need to share their opinion on what you are doing wrong....especially when you didn't ask them (not that I think you are doing anything wrong).

    I struggle with why can't we all encourage and support others more? Why if one sees something negative do they feel they need to "push" their perspective off on someone else.

    I say - ignore them. I think you are doing a great job and want to see your creativity continue....and am very appreciative for all you share.

    Thank you for being you Leah!


  14. No opinions here, I promise! I wanted to say thank you! I used the Supreme Slider, which I purchased for you, for the first time today! I am giddy with delight at how amazing the stitches are. While my FMQ leaves alot to be desired, it is completely user error! It seems that the more needle speed I have, the faster I want to move the quilt!! Lots of practice is in order!
    Thanks again for doing the video clip on the slider.

  15. <> I'm sorry you have to deal with those sorts of people. Maybe it is a good day to finally comment to thank you so much for putting yourself out there in the process of teaching so many of us! I just completed a quilt using some of your patterns and it looks so awesome, I can't believe I made it. Thanks so much! And I hope you have a good day!

  16. I must say Leah! Well Said and very much to the point. I too do not appreciate people who would act in this manner and you have a wonderful way with words. I thank you for sharing this as I have a friend who tends to talk to me in the same tone of voice. I just shoo her anway and tell her to lighten up or sometimes I just tell her off in a way that isn't appropriate for this comment section. In other words Keep up the strong barrier and I enjoy reading what you post, it always make me stop and think...

  17. Leah - You will NOT regret your decision when you're 60 years old. I'm now 65 and I have never regretted scrubbing my brother out of my life 30 years ago. You're doing the right things - including tell nosy and obnoxious people to butt out.

  18. There are, unfortunately lots of screwed up parents and children out there, but you prove that that sometimes out of nasty and distressful situations some can learn, develop, be strong and caring - you are one of these people - bless you and the love you share with your family at home

  19. Good for you. People who write stuff telling you how you should live your life are most likely dealing with their own issues and simply don't know where their boundaries are. Still, it must be incredible frustrating to have to deal with and be invalidated that way.

    One of the reasons I enjoy reading your quilt blog is that, unlike most other quilt bloggers, you don't paint life to be perfect and wonderful. There is real BS out there and many of us are struggling with living it in one way or another. Mine has to deal with stepmotherhood and while I keep most of it off my quilt blog and on a private stepmom site, it's still really challenging, and I bet that if I had as many fans and followers as you did, I would be compelled to stifle it to keep things happy and conflict free.

    Your authenticity is inspiring. Keep it up.

  20. Leah, i have so much i want to say, but i hesitate...

    When my girls were in high school, they would complain about other kids' mothers, and i would gently tell them to tell their friends that "Sometimes you have to *choose* (or *make*) your own family. Not everyone is born with "good parents".
    I think that's what you may need to do too.

    And i'm so happy for you that you've figured all this out at such a "young" age. So many times when i come read your blog, i honestly feel that you are walking a path toward being a Most Wise Woman.

    (I envy you a bit. [smile]
    I wish i was a smart as you when i was your age!)

    Continue listening to your own Truth. It's leading you to WONDERFULLY GREAT Places.

  21. I have to say your quilting in very inspirational.
    This gives me hope as my grand daughters have a very crazy mother. They are lovely girls and am sure they will break free some day.
    Liz from NZ

  22. Now Leah... you should really...

    LOL.. like THAT, you mean? I love your comment about how you might, in 60 years, regret... yadda yadda... I think we can all expect that there will be many things we look back on with regret.. but, hopefully, many more that we look back on with, "see? I KNEW I made the right decision... to follow my heart"...

    Keep stepping away from the people who are toxic in your life (even when they're related to you, or maybe especially when they're related to you!)... it's soo much healthier!!

  23. refreshing, honest, insightful.....more people should try it.

    Regrets.....maybe or maybe not. Every decision has the potential for regrets but that's life.

    We each get to choose our own path - our own forks in the road.

    Crazy mothers......get off the bus. ;o)

  24. The Joy of Internet is that it is in your power, I hope with this post that people wake up and know this goes for all blogs. We post to enjoy not be ridiculed and judged.
    Bravo to you for being so brave, Bravo to you for the strength you have that you did not inherit.
    Bravo for being you, Leah.
    Looking forward to your posts for the year 2012

  25. So sorry that you had to endure this. I grew tough (parent) skin, after my son was born (who has Tourette Syndrome, and probably ADHD). The experience taught me well to not judge others until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

    Here's a quote I found that seems appropriate: “After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul, and you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t mean security, and you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises, and you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes open, with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child, and you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans. After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much. So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure… that you really are strong, and you really do have worth.” ~Veronica A. Shoffstall

  26. I can't tell you how much it helped that a therapist told me, in my 20s, that I don't have to LIKE my father. It sounds like you have arrived there on your own, so good for you!

  27. Bless your heart honey! Well said, you don't know me either but I have been trying to free motion like you since I started learning how. You set a wonderful example of making the best way you can. God bless! I think you rock!

  28. your instincts are usually right... and you will never regret having ended an abusive relationship. you're totally in the right for setting up such defined boundaries, and i applaud you for that. most people aren't capable of establishing them.

    for what it's worth, try to keep in mind that those women were trying to help. NOT saying you should listen to them or heed their advice! i have a feeling that they meant no harm.

  29. It is better for your mother that you take this stance. It sounds like she doesn't need any more co-dependent relationships and you have a right to claim you life. I hope you feel the support intended in this message.

  30. Seriously, you've got it so right. Either the women who send you those emails are truly a crazy mother and don't quite get it, or they've never had to deal with someone like a crazy mother, and therefore still don't get it. I have a crazy father, and my husband has a crazy mother. They may not be drinkers or pill takers, but they know a thing or two about manipulation, and they don't mind to wield it as a weapon against everyone in the world, including their own children. I'm glad you took a stand.

  31. You go, girl! It's the right thing to do. When I closed the door on my family, I was amazed to realize just how much fear I had been living in my whole life. You are touching so many people in so many ways, through these posts and with your quilting. Anyone who can't see that is nuts.....

  32. YOU GO GIRL!!!

    I know exactly how you feel (in my circumstance it was my father - or lack of one).

    Remember, we are strong women, and stronger because of these things.


  33. Bravo! I applaud you. Some people just can't help themselves and need to stick their noses where they don't belong. I admire your strength and courage. Big hugs to you!

  34. congratulations on 365 days. I love your work and have received great benefit from it. I hope you don't stop!

  35. Hi Leah. Wow. Um, so I stumbled upon your videos on youtube while looking for quilting help, as I'm a complete novice, and let me just say, you've knocked my socks off with all the options there are as far as quilting goes. I'm still pretty sure I don't have a freaking clue as to what i'm going, lol, but at least i have you to help me through some of it.

    So, I'm starting to feel like there's no reason to post this, but I'll go ahead and go through it. I'm feeling very insignificant in my life, but maybe that's just all my stupid insecurity. You don't need to hear all my rants.

    I had a mother like yours. and I cut her out of my life. and she died. of a drug overdose. and yes, I sometimes thing, and ponder, and wonder if maybe I did the right thing. and I know in my heart that I did; I don't regret cutting her out of my life. WHat I regret is not having the kind of mom that I would regret cutting out of my life.

    Hugs and love.

  36. Nope. I am not, but I would be proud to be :-)

  37. Nicely said. Funny how people think they have the right to say things like that. It's your life, your blog, and your life! Rock on!

  38. Personally, I think you are amazing to share your incredible talent with all of us. I don't know who presumes to tell you what you should/should not do, but shame on them! I AM a mother (hopefully a good one) and I HAVE a mother (a fantastic one), but I know I am blessed. Many people are not, and they don't need others trying to "fix" them. Good for you for standing up for yourself! I don't know you, but I'm proud of you and I thank you again for helping me to have to courage to try to FMQ.

  39. Well I think you are amazing! Focus on all of the good validation! \you have touched many hearts and have given an example to so many (re comments). wishing you and your precious one a very merry Christmas. D

  40. Ahem. In a previous life I was a corrections officer. I know many naughty words. If you would like me to teach you some, I would be happy to do so. In the mean time, here's a {{hug}} and I will tell those bossy posters to go PISS UP A ROPE for you. There.

  41. Why do strangers feel they have the right to comment or make the even bolder move to email you about your personal life? I've never understood this.

    Fortunately, I can't relate myself, but I think a person has every right to shut out a person who continually causes pain. Sometimes you need to do what is best for yourself and your family. My half-sister is in a very similar situation, but she can't pull herself out or let her mother go, even though she doesn't know where she is-- last anyone heard, she was homeless and a junkie. Way to go for being strong, keeping yourself safe, your life on a good track, and not letting your mom cause you further damage. I wish my sister had your strength.

  42. G'day Leah. More power to you. Well done. Take care. Liz...

  43. Hi! Leah,

    Good for you, you are a grown-up, living your life as you see fit. Glad you told them to butt out. and by the way ddn't mind you're rant one bit.

  44. You're so's your live.
    Love and Blessings my dear...

  45. Good for you! No one has the right to do this. On a purely technical note, have you thought about blocking their email addresses so that they won't be delivered to you? I use that option a lot so that I don't even have to see that I've received an email. Bless you.

  46. Toxic moms...yep, still dealing with mine, and I am 59 years old. However, in her defense (?!?) I just learned that, as a girl, she witnessed her own mom chasing her dad, with a butcher knife in hand. It gave me a small peep into her life, which helped me realize that mine was a shade (just a shade) less crazy....and thank heavens, I had the sense and sensitivity to stop the madness when my own childen came along. Just as you are doing, Leah. James will never experience what you did. Thank the awareness of your beautiful inner self for that. And keep on quilting. Quilting is what keeps me sane!!!

  47. Leah--no one has the right to judge you or anyone else. I have one family member that has been nothing but hurtful and toxic for most of my life. Stopping the abuse is a good thing. No one understands unless they're on the receiving end of the abuse.

  48. It's been 2 years since my toxic mother's death, and I keep searching for some sign of regret or remiss on my part. It just isn't there. The first thought that came to mind when I heard she had died, "She can't hurt me any longer".
    I agree with you completely, enough with the projectile guilt.

  49. New to your website and loving it. This post makes me want to come here more often! You go, Girl!!

  50. When I was a little girl, I always felt bad for all of the other kids (except my sibs) because they didn't have my wonderful, safe, loving mother. How I wish I had been wrong to think it.

    That said (and with no more authority than the crazy woman,) do whatever you have to do to keep yourself safe and happy and to protect your son from that kind of craziness. You don't need to hear it from us, but you're doing the right thing.

  51. I'm the same opinion like Mrsblocko...
    You're right and I wish you all the best for your way in self-determination.

    Wishing you and yours merry christmas!!

  52. I'm a sixty six yr old G/Grandmother and believe me I wish I'd learned what you have allready at 27 good for you, you go girl .
    still too scared to F M Q

  53. I'll add to your vent my own therapy method that people yelled at me about when the man-formerly-known-as-my-father upped and left. I grieved for the death of my father. It works! 16 years later (& zero contact), I am able to talk about two distinctly different periods of my life, without rancor or sadness. It is what it is. Feel free to steal what other people call unhealthy-- or not-- I am not your mother!

  54. A lot of people that didn't grow up in an abusive relationship really don't get that you can't work some things out with other people. They don't understand that a toxic person that won't ever change and doesn't even feel the need to try should be written out of your life. I actually commend you for coming to this realization yourself as I had to have a priest tell me during confession to stop having a relationship with my father because it wasn't what God wanted for either one of us to stop the nightmares I was having every time there was even the suggestion that I would have to deal with him.

  55. Leah - don't worry about regret over your decision. you need to do what is best for you.
    i had a toxic mother that i cut out of my life. even chose to not go to her funeral. and in my old age have never regretted it for a moment.

  56. As you can see, I'm way behind in my blog reading. I don't usually respond, but your post really struck me. I'm old now and have no regrets about avoiding toxic people. I used to give in to that kind of emotional blackmail and it only hurt me. So, I hope you won't worry too much about taking care of yourself by limiting your exposure to people who hurt you - ESPECIALLY STRANGERS WHO HAVE NO BUSINESS TRYING TO TELL YOU WHAT TO DO.


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