Motherhood is wondrous.
It’s also complicated as hell.
Along with the beautiful days, there are days that test, (and let’s be real) even break, my patience. There are days when I think wistfully of those (comparatively) carefree pre-child times. And there are times I feel concerned for my children & the world I’ve brought them into.
But under it all, there’s hope – for the people they are and are becoming, and the work they’ll do in the world.
Then, there’s my relationship with my own mother. It’s also very complicated. It often feels sweet and loving and sometimes it’s really hard.
And this kind of mother-daughter relationship is something I hear about quite a lot. Friends, colleagues, and clients often relate stories of their complicated or painful relationships with their mothers. Mothers that overstep boundaries; mothers that don’t appear to notice or care what’s happening in their children’s and grandchildren’s lives; mothers that say and do hurtful things.
Whether there was neglect, or even abuse, or hurts that built up over time and were never resolved; hurts that keep happening through miscommunication and misunderstandings, or moms and daughters who just don’t see eye to eye, mother-daughter relationships are often complicated and fraught.
What we expect from our mothers, and our mothers from us, is charged with some of the most intense possible human emotions. Is it any wonder that we feel deeply what is connected to our mothers; the women who bore and birthed us, the women who reared and raised us? It’s in many ways the most intense human relationship.
And because it’s so charged with emotion, we do our human thing with it. We make mistakes and miscommunicate. We become fearful and defensive. We idolize and pedestalize.
But if we choose to, we can also empathize and forgive. We can strive to see life from our mothers’ perspective, and they can do the same for us. We can feel our own emotions and pain, fully, without letting them control us. And we can see our mothers as the flawed, fallible, and real humans they are, instead of the all-powerful super humans we sometimes wish them to be.
This Mothers’ Day, if your relationship with your mother is good, I hope you’ll celebrate and honor it, and her.
And if it’s not, I want you to know that I see you. I know you hurt. I know your hurt. I also know you can make it through, feeling it all, letting it all be as it is…letting it all in, and letting it all go.
Whether our mothers are in loving relationship with us, or hurting us, or gone from this realm to another one, we all have available the beauty of a mother’s love in the earth that holds and cradles us, that sustains and nurtures us.
Lean into that.
With all the love of the earth,