Lawrence tells us of the traumatic downfall of an upper middle class family struggling to maintain appearances in the face of habitual overspending. The worst offender is the status-conscious mother because tragically, no matter how much money Paul earns, her extravagant tastes only escalate.
The mother has a cold heart and an inability to love when it comes to her children. She goes through the motions of being a mother well enough to fool her neighbors and friends, but she's unable to hide the truth from her children. .
The story actually begins with a discussion of his mother, saying that she had the best opportunities in life, yet she lacked luck. Also, it states, "She married for love, and that love turned to dust." Paul's mother tells her son that his father is unlucky, which to her is obviously a character flaw. The mother dismisses the contributions and value of the father, and this forces Paul to dismiss them, and his father, also. One of the greatest crimes that parents can commit is to defame the other parent in front of a child, as Paul's mother does. .
At one point, Paul tells his mother, ".you ought to know you needn't worry." This is a very significant moment in the story, but there is a reversal in the roles as there should be. Parents should be able to tell their children that they don't need to worry about money or their parents. However, Paul is telling his mother not to worry about him, or money, indirectly. Here again she fails to be a good mother to Paul. .
Such instances from the story clearly prove that Paul's mother was a very self-occupied, selfish, mother who didn't live up to her responsibilities at all. .