Mother's Day, as we celebrate it today, really makes me desperate. I am writing this so that someone might feel normal, or perhaps as a chance to do something differently.
A small child needs caring, warm and secure adults. If we celebrate give or take nine months of pregnancy and hour-four hour-twenty four hour birth, then let it be Mother's day. But then let's celebrate all wonderful features of human body, not forgetting the Nature in general. But if we celebrate childhood, then let's start with the fact that all mothers are different and that it is not only the mother who raises the child. Only the ability to give birth does not make a woman perfect. Yes, woman becomes sensitive (thanks, hormones), true, only mother can breastfeed. Yes, it is a significant event in our lifetime, and we all interpret it differently. Someone does it very poetically, someone can only express a wish to hug. Someone derives a self-evident or even sacred duty. This is where a gap of even an abyss appears, between the cultural stereotypes of sacredness of motherhood and one's personal experience with on mother.
In celebratory posts we will find plenty of notions about mysteriously deep meaning, sanctity, exclusiveness, endless and unconditional love, care, purity, lots of sunny blurry pictures. In reality mothers are different. Good, wise, aggressive, careless, manipulative, warm, simple, complex. Well, all people are. All people are different. And we as humanity probably did not mature tot he level where we love every human being. I agree, it would be simply amazing if we would celebrate Day of Love to Every Person, and then all my worries would go away. Yet today, regardless of all the public poetry, every person and their mom has relationship reflecting all it's building effort throughout the life. Sometimes very warm and close, sometimes very reserved, distant and running on duty. Duty for those nine months and twenty four hours. Yes, of course, and all those sleepless nights, and thousands of kisses on the bruised elbows. But don't think that all of that does not worry dads, grandparents and siblings. Small children are raised by the whole family, and every one contributes in their own ways, mostly as agreed by all. Limiting the celebration only to the mother creates overly favorable conditions to amplify what is done by the mother and diminish the rest of the family. And the fact of the official celebration does not magically change reality. I know, I do not forget the conditions in which our grandparents and parents grew up. I know that this role "falls" upon mothers. But "falls" also sounds like a learned helplessness. It seems to me that it is also a decision, decision to act in this specific way - because then we will conform to the norm, because then we will not have to argue with our family, because it is more convenient. And when mother decides it is only up to her to get up at night to care for feverish child - is barely good grounds to demand the duty of repayment from the child. It is priceless, and it is not repayable. The experience itself is a repayment to the mother. Yet, it acts like such a good method to trigger feelings of guild and shame, and produce duty. Notion that mother's position gives good ground to demand anything from your growing or grown up children is one of the scarier manipulation methods, and significant number of people are suffering because of that. Can you feel what impact phrase "it was so challenging raising you" has? Who would be able to be guilt free, and feel only pure and warm gratefulness? Who will learn that having children is meaningful, not only difficult?
As in a proper meeting - call to action.
Dear mothers, become mothers only because it is amazing beyond comparison. It is your personal experience, and leave your children out of it. Raise them to be independent, provide them all the help that they will ask for, and understand that wish to be needed b your children is not a good enough reason to deprive them of independence. Do not dedicate your whole life to your children, because by that you gift them endless duty and guilt. Is that your goal? Wish to be needed, when it lives only in your head, is a very dark thought. This is one of the masks of meaninglessness. And it is your own problem, not the problem of your children, who supposedly do not appreciate everything that you have done for them. I'm sure they do. Provide help when asked, and focus on your own meaning of life when not. If you will not pressure your children to show love and will show it without any conditions - they will do the same, just as you taught them. If our children do not do that, there are reasons, and your reproach will not be responded to with love. Review your expectations. If your children will not congratulate you todays - that does not mean they do not love you. If they congratulate you - it dies not mean they do love you. Maybe it is just simpler to do so. And for you it is a super easy way to judge - which has very little to do with reality. I believe that any other way on any other day is better to show the love than standard text with a standard picture on the occasion. Especially when everybody does that, and you want to fit in than to actually say anything.
Children, please understand, that regardless of all the poetry, all mothers are different. One mom lives in your childhood memories, another mom lives in your current reality, and they are not necessarily the same. Perhaps you have some old sores, perhaps you have warm memories. Perhaps today you fight, or you get along as good as it may get. Your real relationship is todays, here and now - and not back when you were five. All your experiences made you what you are today. It is up to you what you do with it - use it as poison or as source of strength. An it is your own decision, not your mom's. Share your warm memories, talk often if your relationships are warn and close today, talk to your whole family - but god forbid not because todays is celebration day. Do it every day. And if needed - allow yourself to be free of the so-called duty. If you do feel obliged - name this duty specifically, know what and how makes you in debt, and enjoy repaying it. If you fulfill your duty - focus on the positive side of it. Otherwise, if you keep doing it and keep complaining about it, ask yourself, whether you are teaching your children to play this victim role as well? Congratulate your mom as good as you personally can. Standard words on a standard postcard is not a sign of love...
I hope that one day this day will become a Day of Warm and Loving Family, and that we will learn to share love and not demand it. Wishing you to so some more thinking about it today.
Photo: kie-ker from Pixabay
#spoonfulofreason #psychology #mothersday #relationships #duties
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Podcast I would like to recommend - "Infinite Monkey Cage". While it covers a very wide range of topics, today I enjoyed "Science of Dreaming", and there is more on human mind and psychology related subjects. It is difficult to discuss such a subjective field with so much reliance on memory and personal interpretation, but these guys do it brilliantly. Podcast hosts - Brian Cox and Robin Ince with a panel of cool guests for each episode.
Episode on dreaming: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0008wtj
My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach.proto
#spoonfulofreason #psychology #recommendations #podcast #infinitemonkeycage
Book that I would like to recommend this week is in Lithuanian, Danutė Gailienė "Ką jie mums padarė". I am not sure if an English version exists, but it definitely should. It is not only about the psychology of the personal trauma, but also about what happens to the whole nation during wars, repressions and exile. Not only what happens in general, but also what did happen to our parents and grandparents and what does it mean to us and our children. A difficult read, excellent writing style and an important piece of knowledge.
My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach. Book my talk to know more.
#spoonfulofreason #psychology #recommendation #book
Do you like our own pictures? No?... This is why. And how to change it.
People often dislike their own photo, because they believe they look better (this is called "self-enhancement bias"). Even those who claim that they do not like their own look, have an internal "pretty me" which is "in reality" or which "should be" - and get disappointed when it magically does not materialize.
Another reason - we usually like what we see often (this is called "mere exposure effect"). Even though we see ourselves quite often, it also often happens _in the mirror_, and the subtle difference of reverse picture is sufficient to not identify it with yourself as you see in the picture.
What to do:
🧠 use exposure effect for your benefit - makes selfies often and look at them (no need to publish :); shot glance will be more productive to generate the effect than long staring. Keep in mind that selfies will increase sense that you are attractive to yourself, and not to others.
🧠 smile. During smiling perception of attractiveness also increases, even if the face has objectively unattractive features.
🧠 perceived attractiveness is related to perceived happiness - which makes it worthwhile cultivating you own small happy moments (and taking pictures of them... :)
🧠 look at the old pictures - this advice is not scientific, but comes from author's own experience. But I see the logic here, as man of us tend to romanticise the past
My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach.
Bornstein, R. (1989). Exposure and affect: Overview and meta-analysis of research, 1968–1987. Psychological Bulletin, 106(2), 265–289. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.106.2.265
Diener, E., Wolsic, B., & Fujita, F. (1995). Physical attractiveness and subjective well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(1), 120.
Epley, N., & Whitchurch, E. (2008). Mirror, mirror on the wall: Enhancement in self-recognition. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(9), 1159-1170.
#spoonfulofreason #psychology #photographs #attractiveness
Photo: Milada Vigerova from Pixabay