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Woman with twin boys and a black and white picture of actor Cole Sprouse.

Woman with twin boys and a black and white picture of actor Cole Sprouse.

Cole Sprouse, Dylan Sprouse, and their mother Melanie (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images) | Instagram/ @colesprouse
Uplifting News

Not Everyone Has A Great Relationship With Their Mom — And That's OK

Your annual reminder that you're not alone.

Mother's Day is celebrated with flowers, heartfelt cards, and family gatherings. It's a day dedicated to honoring the women who raised us, yet for many, it's a day filled with mixed emotions.

The bond between a mother and child is often seen as sacred, but not everyone has that idyllic relationship with their mom. If you find Mother's Day challenging, you're not alone.


Cole Sprouse's Strained Relationship with His Mother

Many people know Cole Sprouse from his work on the Disney Channel's The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and later on the hit show Riverdale. However, behind the scenes, his relationship with his mother, Melanie Wright, was far from perfect.

Cole and his twin brother, Dylan Sprouse, became child stars at a young age when they starred in Adam Sandler's Big Daddy. But their early success came with challenges that shaped the rest of their lives.

Cole's mother had aspirations for her sons' careers and saw their acting success as a way to find both artistic recognition and financial stability. In a 2023 interview on the Diary of a CEO podcast, Cole described his mother as "the tortured artist type" who struggled with mental health and addiction.


"This industry encourages the worst qualities of you as a person: selfishness, greed. A lot of these things that we have come to know as cardinal sins. It’s one of those things that encouraged a kind of selfishness that’s directly opposed to the fundamental idea of motherhood. And as I grew older, in my case, the court had to step in and send my brother and me towards my father."

- Cole Sprouse

As her erratic behavior became more severe, it affected the family's financial stability and eventually led to Melanie Wright losing custody of her children.Cole's father stepped in to provide a more stable environment, allowing the twins to continue their acting careers while regaining a sense of normalcy.

However, the scars of his mother's struggles left a lasting impact on Cole. With time and distance, the now 31-year-old shared that he does not "blame" his mother, but though we may forgive, that doesn't mean we necessarily forget.

So what do you do when you don't want to live in the past, but don't know how to move forward?

Navigating Boundaries with "Mother Wounds" In Toxic Relationships

Not every mother-child relationship is healthy, and sometimes setting boundaries is the best way to cope with toxic behavior. These toxic behaviors can be subtle and challenging to identify, especially when they come from someone who should offer love and support. If interactions with your mother leave you feeling drained, confused, or constantly judged, you might be experiencing what is often called a "mother wound."

Common signs of toxic parents include manipulative behavior, controlling tendencies, constant criticism, or creating an environment where you feel like you're "walking on eggshells." If these traits sound familiar, it's essential to establish and enforce boundaries to protect your mental and emotional well-being. Although setting boundaries can feel uncomfortable, it's a crucial step in reclaiming your sense of self-worth and finding peace of mind.

Remember, setting boundaries with a toxic parent isn't about blame or changing them; it's about taking control of your response to harmful behaviors. You can choose to limit contact, skip family gatherings, or even cut ties if that's what's best for you. These boundaries can be a lifeline, helping you heal from your "mother wound" and move forward without guilt or anxiety.

Finding Support and Creating New Traditions

If Mother's Day is difficult for you, know that seeking support is a healthy response. Just as Cole Sprouse found stability with his brother, father, and the acting community, you can find support through friends, family, or therapy. Organizations like Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) provide a safe space to talk about your feelings and share your story with people who understand. Whether through therapy, support groups, or a circle of close friends, connecting with others can help you feel less isolated.

Given the variety of reasons why Mother's Day can be painful, it's crucial to find your own way to navigate the day. Traditional celebrations might not resonate with you, and that's okay. Consider creating new traditions that bring you joy. This might include spending time with people who feel like family, engaging in activities that bring you peace, or even volunteering to help others in need. Mother's Day doesn't have to be about conventional celebrations. It's about honoring your journey and creating new memories that reflect your values and desires.

Mother's Day is just one day on the calendar. It doesn't define you or your relationship with your mother. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions arise, without judgment or pressure to conform to societal expectations. If you need to take a break from social media or avoid certain topics, give yourself permission to do so.

You are not alone. Many people have complex relationships with their mothers. As you navigate Mother's Day in your unique way, remember that you have the power to shape your own future. Focus on what brings you joy and strength, and know that you can create a life that reflects your values and dreams. By doing so, you honor your journey and create a future that brings you comfort and strength.

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