There’s a problem with Mother’s Day.
The problem is the way we idealize motherhood.
Because we all had a mom, for better or worse, we all have some image of “great mom” that lives in our heads and hearts. On Mother’s Day that ideal comes out in sweetness and roses and a whole lot of sentimentality.
Try this little exercise: Take a moment to let images of “great mom” well up from your heart to your head. What do you see?
For me, a “great mom” is always nurturing, patient, kind. She always gives unstintingly to her family and the community. She is organized in the home, she can relax and have fun, she can relate to kids of any age. Her kids love to have their friends over because the home is so beautiful, serene, and fun.
Guess what? I don’t live up to anything in the image I just mentioned.
In fact, I can’t help but wonder: Do we harbor images that are exactly what we are not (or what our own moms were not)? Everything I mentioned above is just what I’m not. Yet somehow, in my heart I’ve enthroned this ideal that is the opposite of what I am.
Thus, in a part of my heart, I’m a failure as a mom. (So is my own mother.)
So how did you stack up? Do you, or your wife, or your mom, or your daughter or daughter-in-law live up to the ideal that silently reigns in your heart?
What happens when such an image lives in your heart?
She is not a kind queen, this Ideal Mother image. She reminds you, often daily, that you don’t live up to her. Unconsciously, you’re always comparing yourself to that image. Or you compare those other people–wife, mom, daughter, daughter-in-law–to that image.
We all fall short. Hence, guilt, depression, disappointment,shame, bitterness take root. Stress signals broadcast to our cells, they slowly shut down, and eventually, physical or emotional problems surface.
What’s the answer?
Change the pictures. Dethrone the Unrealistic Mother-Queen.
By applying forgiveness, faith, and grace.
It starts with forgiveness. You may need to forgive yourself for not being the mom you hoped you’d be. You may have to forgive your own mother.
Sometimes we don’t want to forgive because we think it means acting as if there’s nothing to forgive. But It’s not a matter of glossing over the truth. The truth is, I have not given my children the attention I could have. I’ve lost my temper and said things I shouldn’t have. I have to forgive myself, and so do my children.
Forgiveness acknowledged the truth, and then lets go of the need to retaliate. Here’s where faith comes in.
A client shared a wonderful aspect to forgiveness. He said it’s about entrusting the situation and person to God, believing that God will act in exactly the right way toward the person and us. He will make it up to us as only he can, and deal with the person who wronged us in just the right measure of mercy and justice.
So forgiveness is about giving it up to God to take care of.
Finally, there’s the grace aspect. Grace is able to have compassion (again, toward self or others), understanding that the person acted out of the pain of her own heart issues.
So this Mother’s Day, change the picture on your ideal. Forgive, trust, and exchange bitterness for grace.
Have a Happy Mother’s Day.
Diane Eble is a Certified Healing Codes Coach/Practitioner. If you need a little help with forgiveness and letting go, she recommends using The Healing Codes. She offers custom healing codes for yourself or a loved one at www.healingcodescoaching.com.