It might sound a bit circular to you to suggest that you be a mother to yourself – but I believe that most mothers (no matter how wonderful) fall short of being the nurturing, caring, unconditionally caring mother we all need to get us through life.
Through this blog and in everyday interactions, I hear stories that range from mothers who are exceptionally giving and accepting to downright bitches on steroids who poison every person they meet. We cannot choose our mothers, but we can choose how they affect our adult life (or at least we can try!)
Just as I believe in the Type Y management theory (most people will do the best job they can given the knowledge and education at hand) versus the Type X (people innately need to be micro-managed or they will cheat and do the least) – I believe that most mothers (and fathers) do the best job they can given their knowledge and education about parenting. (Of course there are exceptions – we read about them in the daily press or see them on Reality TV!)
What We Need from Mothers
Childhood memories might not be as distant to you as they are to me, but no doubt the good, bad, and the ugly of childhood sticks with us all. We all bear the wonders (and the baggage) of growing up and I venture to guess that no matter where or when you grew up, it was not all honey and roses (if it was, then I applaud you for an ideal childhood or a selective memory!)
What would the ideal mother give? Here is my “laundry list”:
- safety (from the physical and emotional affronts we face in the outside world);
- security (with basic food, shelter and clothing taken care of);
- acceptance (to know that we are whole, complete and perfect just as we are);
- love (unconditional if that is even possible);
- truth (that life isn’t fair, that there are good and bad people, that we deserve love, and that no matter what we can make it.)
Moreover, the perfect mother would remind us that we are good enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, deserve love, and can make it no matter what or who life throws at us. But, like a Barbie doll – such an ideal is only a fantasy.
My mother did her best to raise five children (only seven years apart) and offer a nurturing environment – given her knowledge and parenting skills, and I am truly grateful. I always had a home where I knew someone would know my name and I could fall asleep without fear of violence or hunger – I am grateful, especially when I know that not everyone had this luxury.
Lifelong Mothering can only come from Within
Regardless of what your mother was like, I believe that EVERY mother falls short of being the ideal mother we need(ed). The good news is that no matter who was/is your mother, we all have the opportunity, starting today, to be the ideal mother to ourselves. We can give ourselves the inner pride, security, safety, unconditional love, acceptance, and truth to become the best we can be!
Many books attempt to teach us how to nurture ourselves and overcome our childhood – including as the Inner Child, I’m Ok- You’re Ok, There is Nothing Wrong with You, Co-dependent No More, The Four Agreements, etc.; but few teach how to be the mother you need(ed) for yourself.
Being able to rely on unconditional love and undying support of the ideal mother can only come from within. We owe it to our inner child to give him/her the nurturing in the way we need, from someone who knows us better than anyone possibly can.
Starting today – evict the Inner Critic
The first step to being a mother to yourself is to evict the harsh inner critic who takes up valuable real estate in your mind. Replace this critical voice (you’re too xxx, you’ll never be yyy, don’t even try to do zzz!) with that of the ideal mother (you are perfect the way you are, you can become yyy, don’t just try but do zzz!, you can do it!)
Tell yourself what an ideal mother would say:
...you are extraodinary…you are beautiful…and you are loved.
In The Four Agreements, author don Miguel Ruiz says that Agreement #1 is Always live with integrity. In other words, never tell yourself anything that you would not tell a best friend. Be supportive, loving, accepting, proud, nurturing, and giving to yourself!
The second step is to write down the characteristics an ideal mother (or father) would have (or could have) provided in your life, and then start doing them for yourself!
Does this make Mother’s Day sense?
What do you think? Is this simply airy-fairy, psycho-babble? I can tell you that the Royal We (me, myself and I) plus my inner Mother is a formidable team (newly formed!)
Does this ring true for you (or anyone you might know)… please comment!
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
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