Mother's Day is coming. As an adult, grown and flown, are your ready to spend time with Mom?
Are you looking forward to that special time with Mom, that loving, respectful, mutually-appreciative time, when you reminisce and deepen your bond?
Are you braced, teeth gritted and fingers crossed, one foot on the floor ready to run in anticipation of being broad-sided or insidiously discounted?
Perhaps, you're somewhere in between.
If you're in the "All Smiles" division of Mother's Day, enjoy! Celebrate the love, the understanding, the respect, and the joy that your relationship offers.
If you're in the "Gritted Teeth" division, I'm sharing a few insights with you to make this Mother's Day the best one ever.
What can we do to improve our relationship with our mother once we have grown and flown?
There is little question that we all want to feel loved, respected, nurtured, acknowledged and supported by our mothers. Mom, at her best, is the everlasting arms of unconditional love, encouragement and support. She loved us when we turned up dirty with a runny nose. We want her to love us when we turn up...period! That's the ideal.
But, sometimes, there are things that get in the way, obstacles to our relationship that need acknowledging and removing, healing and mending. Once I had flown the coop, I learned that my mom took it in stride, if not doing a victory dance around the kitchen, that she got her life back. Maybe, you can relate.
Now, before you think that was all good, she still retained the claws I thought I had escaped, and the capacity to cut me down to size with less than a sentence. Fortunately, over the years, I changed my view through my training and work as a psychologist and mediator. It wasn't easy, and I'm not going to pretend it was for me, or it will be for anyone. But, if you want it to change, you begin by changing you and, if other relationships can change, they will.
More on that in my seminars, but, with Mother's Day approaching, you might find it worthwhile to think about these things as you prepare to spend time with your Mom.
How can you be different when Mom is likely to be the same?
- Go with an open heart, being a blast furnace of love, no matter what she says or does. When you are focused on expressing your values through your behavior, what other people do is relatively immaterial. Trust me!
- Give up your expectations of Mom being different and love her for who she is and could be. That is living from who you are, rather than reacting to others.
There's a great story about a chiropractor who had just returned from a personal growth seminar. He had been invited to find something about each client that he liked so that he could love him or her through it. Late one evening, a man arrived at his office door, dirty, smelling of too much time between baths and too much alcohol consumed, disheveled and confused. He asked him how he could help. The man said nothing so the chiropractor invited him to lie down on his table.
The only thing he could find to love the man through was his new, bright shoelaces, and so he did. He gave him a gentle adjustment and the man went on his way.
Several weeks later, a very well-heeled executive came to the chiropractor's office and asked to see him. He said, "You do not remember me, but I remember you. I had been on the street, drinking, lost and confused for weeks. It was the lowest point of my life. I saw your light on and gave the world one more chance. Your love and attention, so freely given, to me when I could not even speak, caused me to go home, make amends with my family and go back to work. Thank you."
If Mom is difficult, judgmental, harsh or belittling, she is hurting. Just love her through her shoelaces!
- Know what your boundaries are and be willing to express them in kind, honest ways.
- Remember your purpose for visiting and sharing time: it is to connect, share and love, not judge, demand and begrudge.
- If your pattern with your Mom is that you're OK for two hours, plan to leave before that. You're an adult now and you can take charge of your relationships. You didn't go there to have a rehash of "You never....." and "You always...." and "Can't you ever...?" This Mother's Day is a good time to take the first step in moving towards one another thoughtfully, and you are going first!
- Keep mindful of old patterns while keeping your heart open. You are conscious of unhelpful family patterns, so you can do your best to avoid shaky areas and controversial topics. You know the minefield, so avoid the mines!
- Keep your intention clear: to express to Mom what you ARE grateful for, not regurgitating the bones of contention. Keep your focus on the shoelaces!
- Give yourself time to reflect and recover after the visit. Even if it is the best visit ever, recovery may include reflecting on the joy that it brought. If it is the first time you haven't walked away wishing you'd never gone, hurray! Take time to acknowledge yourself for consciously making it so. If it didn't go so well, take time to reflect on when it turned south and note that point. Next time, find a workaround. You can do it, if you care.
Not all moms like flowers, candy or skydiving. Most like seeing their children. Start there and make time for the relationship.
This IS a special day for honoring the woman who gave you the opportunity of A lifetime. That's worth setting aside your expectations and differences to offer her your love and gratitude. If you're not quite ready for that, offer her your non-judgmental presence with all the warmth and interest you can muster. It will take you from gritted teeth to a relaxed jaw, and that's a great start!
Happy Mother's Day!
If your Mom is, or was, a relentlessly difficult person--a Hijackal®, you may have difficulty with boundaries to create healthy relationships in your life. Find out if Mom is a Hijackal. Free ebook: How To Spot A Hijackal, at Hijackals.com Find helpful information and blog at ForRelationshipHelp.com and videos at YouTube