“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”―Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm
Motherhood is such a daily process, isn’t it? I know I used to think that I would raise my children until they were 18, then I would have done my job. No one told me as a young mother, that I had signed up for life, with all its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, twists and turns. I am grateful for motherhood and the opportunity to keep doing it over and over again!
I find myself thinking about motherhood as Mother’s Day approaches. It’s a bittersweet recognition for many. A relationship is the way in which two or more people talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other. I think a mother-daughter relationship can be one of the most beautiful, tense, complicated, wonderful, frustrating and potentially sorrowful relationships there is. I had that with my own mom and I have that with my daughter.
However, I have learned a lot about navigating motherhood with my own daughter, that I didn’t have with my own mom who’s been gone 10 years. I didn’t have the honest, transparent relationship with my mom that I am developing with my daughter.
I believe a lot of that was cultural. Mom was raised in a time period where you didn’t talk about your feelings. She said once, “Dad said he got angry once and swore he’d never do it again.” How’s that for bottling your feelings? It also shows how negative feelings were never discussed in my home of origin and things were always “wonderful”.
I took that “wonderful” into my own parenting. I wanted my children to be happy, think I was the best mom and I know now that I hovered when I could have challenged more. So how do I put motherhood into place now that my daughter is a 30-year-old wise woman?
In our adult relationships, since my daughter is now a mom, we have three things that are cementing our relationship more and more. I know there are women who want to be moms, who aren’t and women who still have their moms living. These three tips can apply to your relationship with your own mom, instead of your daughter, or with your son, or even your best girlfriend!
Give advice only when asked
When she reads this, she will laugh, as she knows I am full of ideas. This is an area that is a challenge for me. I truly want what’s best for her as a mom, yet she wants and needs to navigate her life as the wise woman that she is. My stance needs to be one of support, not fix-it.
Listen, listen, listen
She needs a sounding board. As women, we need a safe space to share our hearts. This relates to number 1, in that even when I am listening, I don’t need to be giving advice, just listening and creating a safe space for sharing.
Put boundaries on when and where to be helpful
I love caring for my 2 ½ year old grandson. He is a delight and a joy. He is inquisitive, funny, and busy. Because my daughter owns her own business, her hours are quite sporadic. I also have my own coaching business so I can be flexible to a point. We are working out when, where and how we can care for J and how often so that we are all happy. When he comes, we all take naps! The best thing about boundaries is that no one gets to feeling used or put out.
Motherhood – the best, hardest job in the world and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. May Mother’s Day be a day of reflecting on who and how you can enjoy the relationships you have in your life.
Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach. She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope. She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you! You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress. It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.