Dreams of Writing: Confessions of An Undutiful Daughter

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Confessions of An Undutiful Daughter

My dream is to write a book that combines my irreverent take on toxic moms with interviews from others who agree that cutting family ties can be often the sanest option.

Because, really, in a world where taboos have lost all their shame isn’t being an “undutiful daughter” just about the last thing to which anyone would admit?

Now I know that might sound a little grrrr, a little mean, but only because you don’t know me yet.

Nor have you met my mothers.

Yes, mothers.

I’ve got three, which means I’ve got material, honey.

Take, for example, a telephone call I received one beautiful summer morning a couple of years back. It just so happened that I was on-call as a volunteer law enforcement chaplain, which required me to answer my phone on the first ring. To hear the reedy, elderly voice of my mother  was a shock. Not to mention, how did she get my unlisted home number?

What kind of mother was she? Well, she took me everywhere with her. Especially to her boyfriend’s homes or smoky bars, where I was left at the curb locked in her turquoise Chevy Impala with a cotton pillow slip to embroider.

The grammar school me sat eye-to-eye with the glove box gazing up at telephone lines slicing the blue sky or down at my sewing. Hours of looking up and down super charged my hair with static electricity from the plastic upholstery. It’s why so many my childhood photos show me as if I just came in from a storm.

So, you can imagine how close my mother and I were.

Indeed, after decades of no contact my mother missed me. She wished I would call her more often.

“Tell you what. Let me call you right back. That would be two conversations in one day,” I said before I hung up.

But I didn’t hang up with a bang like I used to. I took my time checking in with dispatch . Then I suited up for my day of community service, slipping my clerical collar tab into the left cup of my serious black bra, so I wouldn’t forget the most important thing I own.

Then I sat down to return the oddest call I could remember.

When I was a newspaper reporter I wrote obituaries and covered metro stories that included so much pain and sorrow. As a chaplain I am trained to be a silent support to those suffering sudden loss. The combination of those activities, plus maturity had put me in a different place about my mother.

I realized that my mother, who stumbled through my life with a tumbler of cheap wine swirling and swishing on furniture, carpets and dogs, held no sway over my emotions other than triggering concern for a lonely elder.

If she hadn’t called I’d never have known that my mother had lost her power to make me feel like a frightened, confused child.

In a way I was grateful to her.

She said she’d like me to visit her. Coincidentally I had been practicing saying no, so I told her, “I really don’t see that happening.”

That shocked her, but I was okay with that. I knew I was right to protect myself.

Maybe you’ve felt that way, too . . .

This book idea crawled out of an emotional cauldron of shame and guilt I tended for the first half of my life. Now I’m counting on your clicks, your comments, even your scolds to help me write Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter.


Rayne Wolfe completed her dream journey May of 2011 on 8WD after a year living her dream. You can find her at Toxic Mom Toolkit on Facebook.

  • Rayne


    Thanks for the Amen. What I’m having confirmed by my readers is that sometimes (with some mothers), the sane thing to do is cut off all contact. It IS hard; but it is often absolutely appropriate. Thanks for checking out 8 Women Dreaming. Hope youll come back next Sunday for my next installment of Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter.

  • Sue

    Rayne, Thrilled to see your blog. I am in the group with “toxic mothers” and haven’t seen mine in nearly 6 years. Sad but what needed to be done.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Well I would say that you are off like a shot on 8WD. Congratulations on a great post topic and your first post with us.

    Love your writing. It makes me want to twist words in a more artistic manner and improve on my skill.

    Thank you so much for wanting to take this journey with us.


  • Marie,

    Yes, I am collecting stories of Undutiful Daughters. Indeed, I plan to spend the next year collecting a wide range of stories to use in my writing project. If you have a blog or would like to write something to me that could lead to an interview, I’d really encourage you to do so.

    Thanks for your interest. I hope you will become a regular Sunday reader.


  • marie

    rayne, are you still collecting stories of “undutiful daughters?”

  • WOW Rayne I am so on board with helping you make this happen…. You’re a wonderful writer and I know this will be an important book for a lot of people.

    I look forward to reading more, and to meeting you…

    (another writer/dreamer!)

  • Blessings upon my very first blogging commenters! I’m so amazed that you all get it and are encouraging me. Thank you for such an amazing start to this journey!

  • Rayne – I see a good bottle of wine and mother stories in the near future. I love that you are telling your story and making me feel so happy I’m not the only undutiful daughter in the world.

    Welcome to 8 Women Dream and I am looking forward to getting to know you better.


  • Colleen Du Bois

    Hi Rayne. I suspect we have a lot in common. I also “distanced myself from an ultra toxic mother” at the age of 16. And have never looked back. Also working towards my own memoir, I write poetry and short stories much of which serves as a way of opening up the many locked memories to my relationship with my mother.

    Please have a look at my writing and let me know if anything resonates. That’s the great thing about writing out our stories isn’t it …that we realise we are not alone in our loss.


  • Veronica

    I was so sure I was going to be the perfect mother. I did everything completely different then my mother, and you know what? My children are now talking about the things they will change when they have children. i smile and know that we are all exactly where we are supposed to be.


  • Katherine

    Dear Rayne,

    I am so proud of you making this step toward your book of mother stories. Our stories help us learn how not to make the same mistakes of our mothers and become the human we wish to pass on to those we love.

    I look forward to reading and following the process of your book and individual sharing of journies.


  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Welcome to 8 Women Dream Rayne.

    The relationship we daughters have with our mothers is an interesting one to say the least. I am lucky that I have a mother that I love, even though she still sees me at about age 18, but that’s how parents are.

    I am looking forward to watching your book unfold in your posts and the feedback it brings. I am so happy you said yes!

    Hugs, Cath