3 Tips to Celebrate & Strengthen Your Relationship with Mom
“My mother is my root, my foundation. She planted the seed that I base my life on, and that is the belief that the ability to achieve starts in your mind.”
My mom came to visit recently and shared a story that I thought was very interesting. She was an only child, so when her parents were going to visit their “children” or grandchildren, it was only her they were focused on.
One day (long ago when there were no cell phones!), she and my dad took us to the park for the afternoon. That evening, my mom received a call from her parents. They were upset that she didn’t tell them her plans because they had wanted to stop by for a visit that day.
She didn’t like being an adult and still having to report her whereabouts to her parents. She felt stifled and didn’t want her children to feel the same way.
As a result, she has become very hands-off and goes to pains to not check in with us and ask for updates. Sometimes this translates to her children as: 1) she is too busy for them, or 2) she doesn’t want to put in the effort to stay in contact.
Here’s what I know: My parents enjoy nothing more than to catch up with their children. It’s gratifying for them to know what’s going on in each of our lives.
And as their child, nothing is more gratifying to me than to know that my parents are proud of me. When I know I have the support and admiration of my parents, I feel like I’ve got some sort of superpower that protects me from everyday stress.
The moral of the story is to have compassion for your parents. Try to understand their own story that drives how they parent. Don’t be afraid to make requests to change some aspect of the relationship if it’s not working for you.
Remember that long before your mom became a mom, she had a life that may be very different from the way it is now. I know, that’s pretty hard to imagine 🙂 Take a little time to get to know about that – and in doing so, you may gain powerful insights that will help you understand how she became the “mom” you know and love today.
Even if you think you know everything there is to know about your mom, there are probably hundreds of things she’s never told you before. Getting to know her story may help deepen the relationship you already share, or it can even serve as the first step in pointing your relationship in a new, more positive direction.
Follow these three additional tips to help you strengthen your relationship with mom (or anyone!)…
1. Communicate! Here’s the interesting thing – sometimes when we’re very close to someone, we assume the other person knows exactly how we feel without any verbalization on our part. In truth, no one is a mind reader 100% of the time. Making assumptions about how the other person feels can result in hurt feelings, miscommunication, and even long-term rifts. The solution? Be open, and don’t be shy about making the first move to tackle a relationship issue head-on.
2. Listen. It’s great to voice your own feelings, but don’t leave out an equally important part – listening. Give your mom the gift of your full presence. Do your best to listen without judgment and to appreciate her perspective. You might be surprised at the new understanding you gain if you really do this. Here’s another tip: Reflect back what your mom is saying to make sure you’re comprehending her words, and to show that you truly value what she’s saying.
3. Keep it real. Evaluate the expectations you have and be honest with yourself to determine whether they’re realistic – or not. Remember when you were young and you believed your mom would always be there for you to rescue you, no matter what? Now you know that expectation was unrealistic…after all, there was a thing or two you wanted to figure out on your own! Just because you’re grown doesn’t mean that all the expectations you have are practical.
As a special Mother’s Day feature, my Mom is on today’s episode of Women Taking the Lead.
Share your story: What’s your #1 tip for strengthening the relationship you share with your mom (or with anyone who is important to you)?