Mother’s Day is coming and with it a variety of emotions.
Some look forward to the celebration they’ve planned with their mom and mother figures.
Others dread the emptiness of a mom gone or the emptiness of their womb.
Many are fighting childhood baggage and blame while many more eagerly anticipate the appreciation.
My relationship with my mom isn’t easy.
There’s other family dynamic baggage and, on top of that, we’re stuck somewhere between being very different people and sharing a lot of insecurities, mannerisms, and habits. It’s pretty frustrating on all sides.
Some counseling would probably do us some good. Hear me though: relationships that take more work are not bad.
We both just wish it were better and easier.
Even though relationships go two ways, I can honestly say I haven’t maintained or cared for my side of the road well over the years. As I look for ways to move past my own guardrails, a few simple reminders keep popping up:
1. I can take initiative
As a kid, I think it’s normal to depend on your parents to initiate certain time together or communication. These are skills we have to learn to develop to maintain all relationships.
Now as an adult kid, it’s my responsibility to reach out, to communicate my perspective and needs, and to invite her into the life I’ve built. I can only control my side of the relationship and part of that means posting signs that say, “Welcome!”
2. I can apologize
My brain brings up all the things I want to hold against my mom, so I find myself forgiving the same thing over and over again. Reminding myself to let it go because one thing I forget (a lot!) is my mom is just a person with her own story and life she’s working through.
So I have to ask myself, “What do I really expect from her?” because sometimes I really want her to fix the past. But she can’t. Sometimes I want her to act completely opposite of her 50+ years of personality. But that’s crazy of me.
So I can apologize for my unrealistic expectations, my harsh words, and my over distancing. I can lay down my selfish ambition of being right, feeling heard, and wanting what I want when I want it and apologize for what I’m doing that’s not helping our relationship grow.
3. I can say, “Thank You”
I can be grateful for what my mom has done and is doing despite all the ways we fail each other.
She did host my growing body inside of hers. She did rear my sassy self. She does care and tries to show it in ways that she thinks I’ll receive it.
There’s a lot of scientific research out there about gratitude and how the more we say what we’re grateful for, it actually changes our chemistry so feel it more. So when I recognize where my mom tried her best or met me in a way that meant a lot, I should say out loud to her, “Thank you.”
Because she deserves that and it’s true and it will help me, too.
These are hard steps to take when I already think I know how they’ll unfold and am unsure if they will change anything. Being vulnerable in tough relationships is… well, TOUGH.
God’s Word has a lot to say about that like love is not just expecting something in return. So when I think about what God says regarding how I should respond in any relationship and apply it to my relationship with my mom, I can see more clearly my side of the road, let go of fears that keep me from moving closer, and love her better from Love Himself.
Mother’s Day isn’t to celebrate moms with no flaws or failures or mistakes – as if there actually is one. Mother’s Day is for tough moms, too. “Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you” and then go show your mom some love.