Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the wonders of being a mom! For most of us, Mother’s Day is the perfect time to honor our mothers and to allow ourselves, as moms, to feel the pleasure of a job well done.
However, for some of us, there is a sadness, a bittersweet element to a day that celebrates parenting. It could be because your parent or child has died. It could be that your parents or children are far away and cannot be there to celebrate with you in person. Perhaps your loved one is suffering from dementia or some other debilitating disease. It could be that you are estranged from your child, or that you have always had a difficult relationship with your parents.
It is the rare person that cannot look back on the past and not wish they had the opportunity to change some things. It is in these moments that a liberal application of compassion is the best gift possible for all concerned.
I’m not perfect, but
I am dedicated to excellence.
Perfection and excellence are not the same.
Pete Walker says, with “good enough” parenting children learn there is enough good in life to significantly outweigh its necessary losses and travails.
Good enough parents teach their kids that they are way more than enough because they teach them to value themselves.
If you don’t believe that you are way more than enough, you are probably an adult child of a dysfunctional family. This doesn’t necessarily mean the dysfunction was intentional; it can also mean unconscious or unschooled parenting.
What does this mean to your life today, with Mother’s Day just around the corner?
What kind of gift can you offer and own this Mother’s Day?
Let’s consider some of the somatic manifestations of dysfunction:
How well do you sleep?
How relaxed are you?
How “armored” are you? (this means chronic muscle tightness)
Do you suffer from digestive disturbances?
Some of it may be due to dysfunction we have carried from childhood. Regardless of its origins, for those of us who feel this dysfunction deep in our bodies, it is vital to have a self-care plan that becomes part of your life as a sacred daily practice:
Proper hydration, nourishing food, stretching, breathing exercises, massage, meditation…nature bathing…these are some ways to give your body the love it craves right now.
What does your self-care plan look like?
Oh! Remember to tell that nasty inner critic to HUSH!
One of the hallmarks of an adult child of dysfunctional parenting is that we entertain a harsh inner critic. This is the inner voice that beats us up saying we aren’t good enough, and extends, particularly on a day designed to celebrate parenting, to our family of origin (the family we were born into), and our family of procreation (this is the family we created through our partnership with a significant other).
This inner critic continuously scans our past, seeking mistakes and finding fault. It latches onto them with laser focus. We feel the shock of each painful memory as they surface.
We conclude that we were never a good enough parent…that we always should have done more, could have been more, would have done better if we had been given a better example, had known what was going to happen, or could read our partner’s mind…
Today of all days, we take a special battering. This vicious inner critic urges us to take responsibility as a parent for all the shit that was the result of our blended family legacies, passed on to our family of procreation.
That isn’t fair.
It isn’t realistic.
It does not serve you now – not you nor your children.
You had a part. For those whose part included physical, emotional, or sexual violence, Mother’s Day is the perfect time to begin healing – it is a wise and compassionate choice to seek counseling.
For those who muddled through and raised reasonably healthy, productive children and good citizens, it is important to keep in mind that life has many shades of grey.
If your part didn’t include the factors noted above, and you did the best you could, give yourself some credit. You did okay, given your life experience, resources, and what you knew at the time. When you knew better, you did better, right?
Own your own, but don’t take credit for your parent’s shit. Don’t take credit for your partner’s shit. That is self-abuse. It is unproductive, self-flagellating, and can make you sick.
Own your own. There are healthy ways to feel, deal with, and heal your own shit. Make amends, if necessary, to the degree that you can without doing any harm. Release what you cannot change. That is how dedication to excellence is demonstrated. You do your best and release the rest.
You don’t have to be perfect to simply let that shit go. To be good enough right now.
You are in a sweet green meadow beside a softly flowing river. This river is sparkling with vitality. Plunge your senses into its refreshment… embrace its ability to cleanse. Wade in…the water swirls around your legs, clear and cool.
Offer that legacy, those regrets – what was never yours to carry – to this healing flow. Let them fall, like heavy, sweaty-wet cloaks that were thrown, one by one, over your head by others.
Gently remind yourself that it is your right to not accept it.
There enough to own without dragging those around. Mindin’ your own business is all that you can ask of yourself. Observe as the flow takes those cloaks down the river and out of sight.
Let this Mother’s Day be a day to practice mindfulness and celebrate achievement, growth, and most of all, love.
Live your love, not your pain.
Offer gentleness…to yourself, your children, your parents and your ex or current partner.
It is always the perfect time to do…