by Beverley Paine
We mothers don't and won't and can't and shouldn't need to get it right, not now, not then, not every time.
We will wound our little ones, whether they are 2 or 24 or 44 and probably even 64 should we all live that long, and we won't mean to, it will just happen because we're different people with different needs, focusing on different things, developing different values, with insufficient communication skills, too busy creating business so that we never have enough time to simply relax, enjoy, accept, let the differences simply sit and be without wanting to eradicate them, or change each other.
It's that time of year again. Hard to avoid mums and mums-in-law. Hard for mums and mums-in-law to avoid daughters and daughters-in-law too. Hard to remember why this time of year is special, hard to remember that at the heart of this time of year is family.
The birth of my daughter changed my life. Before her birth I was me, just me, wonderful awesome me. After her birth I was mummy, mum, mother and now grandma. But I was still me. I am the same person I was that day and I am different. I'm the same person I was yesterday and I am different. My daughter grew and changed and grows and changes, as does her daughter.
For years I blamed my mum for my woes: she parented me wrong, her choices limited mine, her example restricted me, her misunderstanding wounded me, her ignorance distressed me, her lack of support undermined my confidence, and so on. She never got it right, not once, not intentionally anyway. I was her harshest critic, too wounded to be forgiving, intent on maintaining distance to protect myself.
Eventually though we daughters need to heal: mum can't heal us, only we can. Mums don't and won't and can't and shouldn't need to get it right, not now, not then, not every time. And even if they never ever get it right once, that's beside the point. We can sit beside our pain and acknowledge it as real and as having had a huge impact on our lives.... and we can let it go. We can tell our mums that it's okay, we understand, it matters and yes, it probably still hurts, but it's our choice to let it go, to keep letting it go, replacing the pain with joy, joy that we mums universally feel. At some stage we stop seeing ourselves as merely daughters, but as mums-in-common.
So when gritting our teeth because yes, mum has done it again, and our anger and resentment and frustration starts bubbling to the surface, let's close our eyes and mentally and spiritually connect with all mothers across time and space and feel our commonality: we are mothers! It's not an easy task to be a mother, and being a mother never stops.
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