Though moms should really be celebrated every day, once a year the calendar reminds us to do something special for the moms we know. It's an opportunity to say thank you for the magic they work day in and day out, and to appreciate how amazing they truly are. Motherhood calls for a woman to be emotional, intellectual, and logical all at once. If you are a mom, you know the quiet rewards that come with the job. In addition to the satisfaction of guiding a life from infancy through adulthood you learn firsthand the meaning of the old adage that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! It takes a strong woman to put her kids and family first, and taking a day to recognize that altruism is the least we can do!
Of course, motherhood isn’t always simple. Many women struggled with their mothers as they were growing up, and even though your adolescence is long in the past, you might still feel like you are unable to establish your identity and independence around your strong and outspoken mother. If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. Mother-daughter relationships are always complicated, but luckily, they can be clarified and strengthened with a few simple tips. Consider the following:
Let go of the past. You can’t have a happy relationship with your mother (or anyone) if you are dragging around 30 plus years of hurt and resentment. Leave the past where it belongs, and move forward with an open and forgiving heart.
Get out of your roles. Often, we get stuck in certain roles around our families. Maybe you are the peacemaker, or the baby, or the aggressive tough girl. Whatever the case, it’s important to step back and realize your role for what it is — a barricade between you and an authentic relationship with your mother. Drop the role and be yourself, just as you would around your friends and other loved ones. Give your mother the amazing opportunity to see you for who you really are.
Make a plan to move forward. Often, spending time with one’s family can feel like the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day. We get stuck in patterns that never quite seem to change. People have the exact same arguments and get caught in the same mire of anger and resentment. It’s likely that you and your mother have a few issues which continually rear their ugly heads. Knowing this, you can head these issues off at the pass ahead of time. For example, if you argue about religion, make a plan ahead of time to avoid this issue, whether that means simply not discussing the matter or leaving the room gracefully if the subject arises. Or, you can stick to a simple stock phrase, such as, “I’m glad you raised me to be so independent and form my own opinions, but since we so often disagree on this subject, let’s talk about something more pleasant.” Then, show her a recent picture of her grandkids or engage her on her favorite topic. Remember, you have the power to avoid confrontation and create a peaceful atmosphere.
Most importantly, take advantage of the upcoming holiday and spend some quality time with your mom. Go out for a long lunch, look through your family photo albums together, do a little shopping, enjoy a spa date — whatever is fun for the two of you. Tell her how much you love, admire, and respect her — and if you are a mom, remind yourself of the wonderful role you play. Have a Happy Mother's Day!
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