I came across this post this morning. It really challenged me and I felt disloyal to my mother even reading it. My mother and I have a great relationship that is touched with moments of awkwardness. Mostly because she doesn’t understand me and lacks the skills to understand me. Sometimes in a darker, less charitable moment, I think she doesn’t want to understand me. But I know that is only because her life would be easier for her if I fitted the mould of what a daughter should be. What I do know is that she is incredibly proud of me, and even though she can’t understand how I am “happy”, she is pleased that I feel I live a life with meaning and fulfillment.
For me, I confess that in my early 20s I really didn’t like or respect my mum very much. The whole, I should stay home and bake, 1950s housewife model never ever appealed to me. I wanted to be a trailblazing career women in a black suit. It was a very intense time of my life. I am incredibly honest and have always sought to live my life with honesty and (later) integrity. I agonised over cutting my mother out of my life and the lives of my children. I realised then that I had two choices … a life without a mother or a life with occasional (and not-so-occasional) moments of biting my tongue. Fortunately for me I chose life with the tongue biting. I decided to accept my mother for who she is. Warts and all, you could say. And how glad am I that I did. Once I stopped measuring her against my ideal, I discovered a wonderfully generous (if somewhat sexist) woman, who has turned out to be an amazing grandmother and great-grandmother.
So for all of you out there struggling with horrible and not-so-horrible mothers, perhaps see her against the backdrop of her upbringing and her own relationship with her mother. Think about how that might have impacted her and your relationship. And remember always that we aim to meet all challenging people with loving kindness and the challenges they throw at us with equanimity. Only by owning our part in the relationship can we know peace. The choice to be present in that relationship allows the little taunts and digs, and the odd public humiliation, and the sometimes complete and utter lack of their ability to understand and accept you to no longer matter.
Of course, some people are truly toxic and there may come a time in your respective meanderings where you need to wander without each other. If this is the path you feel compelled to take, try to do it without acrimony on your behalf. Own the decision and explain why you are making it. And only do it once, and be absolutely resolute about the changes you require before repairing and rebuilding the relationship. And be fair, there will be changes that your mother may request, and you need to hear those requests and consider them. Lastly, if you are a mother yourself, remember, your children will model their relationship with you on your relationship with your mother.
For those of you that have fabulous mothers, I am so happy for you. And for those of you that are missing their mothers, who are either far far away or have moved on to the next cycle, hold that love in your heart and let it be a beacon of light in your life and the lives of those around you.
#choices #stepup #ownit #mothers #relationships #family #meanderings #wanderings