Moms rock even when they don’t. Without them, none of us would be here. And that’s something to celebrate. It’s also a fact you can feel grateful about.
You may not have a great relationship with your mother. Don’t let that stop you from honoring your mom on Mother’s Day—even if she has passed on.
If your mother is (or was) difficult to get along with, negative, critical, abusive, absent, or downright crazy, you still have at least one reason to feel grateful: She gave you life.
Without her, you would not exist. So, if nothing else, thank your mother for bringing you into this world and giving you the opportunity to fulfill your potential and purpose.
Mom: A Mixed Bag of Goodies
Many people enjoy loving and positive relationships with their mothers—and I hope you are one of them! These people have tons to acknowledge each year on Mother’s Day and every day of the year.
My relationship with my mother has been a mixed bag of goodies. On one hand, we have enjoyed a good relationship. On the other hand, that relationship has felt difficult to maintain.
My mother supported my creative endeavors and interests as a child. She encouraged me to draw and to write. When I wouldn’t stop talking about horses and riding, she bought me a horse. She later accompanied me to many, many horse shows, even when we had to get up at five in the morning to meet the trailer on time. She even contacted an Olympic equestrian to help me find a suitable mount—and he, indeed, helped.
My mother taught me to love reading, gardening, and animals. She instilled in me an interest in travel and took me with her on a variety of trips, such as to Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Israel, and Peru. She allowed me to take advantage of my wanderlust, which resulted in a semester in London and a few months traveling Europe on my own. She even cultivated my woo-woo nature by talking to me about aliens and psychic abilities.
That said, my mother and I have not always met eye to eye. And she does not share my positive outlook on life. There have been periods in my life when I hardly spoke to my mother and others when it’s been difficult to spend time with her.
Cut Mom Some Slack
At 92, Mom lives in pain and with few experiences that bring her joy. Yet, she continues to fight to live, altering her diet and activities as necessary. She has chutzpah and is never afraid to speak her mind (even if I don’t enjoy or agree with her opinion).
I usually just cut her some slack. She is who she is because of what’s happened to her in her life. She’s a child of the Holocaust; all but her immediate family died in concentration camps. From the age of 40, she raised three young girls alone after my father died suddenly. She never remarried and has lived her life alone since her children grew up and moved away. Her father was enormously strict, if not abusive.
Now, that history does not give her the right to be mean, judgmental or ungrateful. But I can still cut her some slack when I don’t like her behavior or comments. And I can respect her.
Mom’s Do Their Best (Even When the Kids Don’t Think It’s Good Enough)
We all just do our best every day, and as a parent, I can attest to the fact that sometimes our best is not enough. There are some things I’ve done or said as a parent that I’d love to change. I could use a retake of the years I spent as a stepparent, for example. And I’d love to have handled more than one (hah!) incident with my biological children differently.
I hope all of my kids cut me some slack rather than hating or blaming me. I hope they learn from both the good and the bad behavior I’ve displayed. I hope they won’t carry scars they don’t allow to heal.
I refuse to spend my time, energy or attention on blaming my mother. I have the choice to make the past my current story about who I am and why I am the way I am or to create a story I prefer to tell. I choose to move forward and learn from the past but create the future as I’d like it to be.
That also means that I don’t blame myself for past parenting booboos. Yeah, I could have done better. Yes, my kids have had to deal with that fact. (I admit it. I’ve yelled, threatened, been distracted, and even once gave my son the wrong medicine…) But I choose every day to be a better parent (and I hope I succeed).
Love and Learn from Your Mom
No matter what, I love my mom…even if I don’t always like her. And she loves me even when she doesn’t like me.
If you have a good relationship with your mom, that’s awesome! Celebrate that and tell her how much you love and appreciate her.
If you don’t, use this Mother’s Day to make a list of the positive things you remember about your mother. Also, list the things you have learned from her.
We learn even from troubled or difficult relationships. When someone abuses us, we can learn not to abuse others. When someone abandons us emotionally or physically, we can learn to be counted on and to stay connected to those we love. When someone speaks critically or negatively, we can learn to do the opposite.
And we can learn to forgive and forget or at least to let it go.
At the very least, thank your mother for giving you life. And thank her for the life she gave to you—and everything that goes with that. Yes. Mom’s rock even when they don’t.
Happy Mother’s Day.
What’s your experience with motherhood, mothers, and Mother’s Day? Tell me in a comment below.