Dr. Rachell N. Anderson
As a Psychologist, I have experienced how the relationships between many mothers and their children resemble a long and winding road with plenty of twists and turns, dead ends and warm sunny days. Yet, I’ve found few mothers who would say it’s a road she wouldn’t take again. For the child, it may be different. For children, the relationship with their mothers are the foundation on which to build the sense of self. Attachment to our mothers help us learn who we are and who we will be in relationship to others. The process continues even after we become people with our own independent thoughts and feelings.
Still there is no perfect mother. Most people have shortcomings and demands. Mothers are no exception. As we grow into maturity, her shortcomings or tendency to over-protect or control may make us feel unloved or infantile. I imagine every person can remember times when they were embarrassed by their mothers, especially as we entered our teen years. Still, whether the relationship was fraught with joy or woe, every person has (if he or she looks with care) things for which to thank their mother.
After giving your mother a hug, (if she’s still alive) telling her Happy Mother's Day, and presenting her with flowers, candy, or some other trinket: tell her or write down the things that would ignite your heartfelt gratitude. Take a moment to step back. What do you see? Craziness? Fogginess? Demands? Whatever? Don’t worry. You may discover that whatever you remember was somehow useful for your development in adult life.
Instead of struggling through the hustle and bustle of brunches, purple flowers and such, consider other loving things you can do for her to thank your mother for what she’s done for you.
Here are some ideas from others I got while doing a workshop.
What’s A Person To Do To Thank Mother?
1. I’d give the gift of touch.
A. I’d give her a hand massage and a manicure. I’d treat those hands that have done so much for me with relaxing love and care.
B. I’d give her a back rub. I’d let my fingers do the talking and give Mom a chance to relax and feel my love.
C. I’d give her a foot massage. I think feet are a lot like moms. They work hard and seldom get the attention they deserve. Now is the time to change that.
D. I’d give her a facial that is relaxing and would leave face glowing with the beauty that I know is in her heart.
2. I’d give her more of my time the way she gave her time to us.
3. Give her the gift of clarity.
A. I’d tell my mother something that I learned from her. It’s just a reminder of how special she is to me and what impact she had on my world.
B. I’d tell her what she did that made me happy.
C. I’d fill a notebook with my favorite memories. I’d dig out all the gems of our times together and the little things we shared. I’d include pictures, bits of fabric and poems that fit the occasions.
4. I’d give her the gift of peace. I’d make a no fighting pledge. That means I’d agree to stop bickering and fighting with my sibling and others in her life. Mom will be delighted. It’ll be hard but I think I can do it.
5. I’d give her the gift of thanks.
A. For the example she set for love of family, her strength in the face of adversity and the sacrifices she made for her family.
B. For listening to me. For being herself. I look like her and I act like her. I finally understand my self by understanding her. That has finally given me a sense of peace.
C. I’d thank her for being an excellent grandmother.
D. I’d thank her for teaching me to be kind to animals and people and to look for the good in everyone.
E. I’d thank her for believing in me. Through love, patience and determination, she nurtured the shy little person of my youth to become a strong confident leader.
F. I’d thank her for not giving me more siblings. Nine was quite enough.
G. I’d thank her for her sense of adventure. She opened the world to me and saved me from a life of boredom as the wife of a rural dirt farmer.
H. I’d thank her for teaching me to manage life in an unpredictable world and find happiness in the process. That’s a lesson we all can use.
Well, that’s quite a list and I imagine you’ll add to it. Some people tell me that by doing this, they finally understand the struggles their mothers went through. And that now that they have children, they understand and appreciate their mothers more than ever.
Then, here’s a gift you may not have considered. Is there anything your mother did that you vowed never to do to your children? When you are able not to do it, your children will be
straighter road to happiness.
(C) Dr. Rachell N. Anderson, April 30, 2018