The relationship between a mother and child isn’t always an easy one. During pregnancy and early childhood, it’s the closest relationship possible. But as a child grows, however close you are, much of the relationship (on both sides) becomes about learning to let go.
All around us are images of the perfect mother-child relationship. We’re surrounded by cards with poems to ‘the best mother in the world’ and promotions for finding ‘the perfect gift for the perfect mum’. It’s easy to think that somewhere, eluding us, is the perfect relationship between a mother and child.
But the reality is that few people have a perfect relationship, with their mothers or anyone else. Our mums take the blame – rightly or wrongly – for our faults, or for difficult relationships with our own children. Despite the close bond of childhood, many of us spend much of our adult life keeping secrets from our mothers, which can lead to regrets later in life.
Mother’s Day isn’t just a commercial day for gift companies. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on your relationship with your mother, to heal old wounds or build bridges where necessary, or just to pick up the phone for a chat.
It’s very common to find it hard to talk to our mothers about things that matter to us. It might be that you don’t want to seem vulnerable, or you’re protecting her from something you think will hurt her. Sometimes, though, a bit of openness and vulnerability can strengthen your relationship. If you find it hard to talk to your mum, but you want to make your relationship better, try taking small steps. Tell her something you wouldn’t normally tell her, or invite her for a coffee, or call for a chat. If you don’t feel comfortable telling her you care about her, do something to show her, instead. We don’t always needs words: a gesture, a walk in the park, a card or just a smile can be enough to show you care.
If your mother’s passed away, or you’re estranged from her, or you just have a tough relationship, Mother’s Day can be a difficult time. Set aside a few minutes to think about her, and remember her. Or perhaps you’re finding it hard to conceive, and find Mother’s Day a tough reminder of that. If you’re struggling, for whatever reason, counselling could help.
You might feel a bit lonely if you’re a mum yourself, and your grown up children have either moved away from the family home, or live abroad, or are just doing something else on Mother’s Day. Give them a nudge! Use the day to make the most of your relationship with your children: let them know you’re thinking about them, too.
Whatever your position, Mother’s Day isn’t about presents, cards or flowers. It’s an opportunity to reflect on your relationship with your mother or with your children, and do something positive to strengthen it.