With the upcoming mothers day and birth mother day, I was thinking of how complex motherhood can be and how for me personally my relationship with my mother is/was so complicated. It is no surprise that many of us have a complicated range of feelings – gratitude, sadness, grief, joy and anger.
As a mother you are either blamed, glamorized or judged critically by your children, family members or the outside world. This judgment leaves little room for the true complexity of our mother as well as ourselves as mothers.
The complexity of the mother/child relationship leaves many of us feeling shame or guilt for not meeting the ideals of mothers and motherhood.
Especially during this year we see all the social media and TV’s media messages regarding the perfect version of Mothers Day. The images show mothers and children and especially daughters as best friends, being close and celebrating togetherness. For many of us, this is not what we experience or did experience with our own mothers. These images can bring up a lot of feelings as we see the differences between what is portrayed on social media etc and what we have experienced or did experience in our childhood. It seems as though the cultural message is that “if you don’t have this type of relationship with your mother, there is something wrong with you”.
Mother is a verb, as stated by Gloria Steinem, "but when mother is a verb—as in to mother, to be mothered—then the best of human possibilities come into our imaginations.
To mother is to care about the welfare of another person as much as one’s own.
To mother depends on empathy and thoughtfulness, noticing and caring.
To mother is the only paradigm in which the strong and the weak are perfectly matched in mutual interest.
Besides, one may be forced to be a mother, but one cannot be forced to mother"
To mother helps you change your internal definition of mother so that you stop looking for a perfect mother and so you will be begin to identify your mother as anyone who offers care.
You are mothering and being mothered if you are offered acceptance, sustenance, direction or instruction, and empowering. There is no perfect way but if you can provide these things than you are the essence of a mother.