The relationship I’ve had with my mom has been the most trying one of all. It’s been a true roller coaster. Twists, turns, peaks, pits, screams of terror, and excitement. Not really the idea I had in mind for our relationship as a little girl.
This ride, our relationship, has taught me lessons that I hold very close to me. With today being Mother’s Day, I wanted to share some ways to simplify a complicated or strained relationship, keeping your mental health in mind.
By sharing what I’ve learned, I hope you know you aren’t alone and you’re allowed to do what’s best for you!
I. Accept it
For a long time, I couldn’t believe this was my life. I didn’t want to believe that God gave me such a complicated mom and accepting that would mean it’d be real.
Little did I know, I was actually hindering myself from growth by being in denial.
Did you know, it takes more energy to live in lie than in truth? You’re so busy keeping the false narratives alive, that you don’t even see what’s right in front of you. It’s just sitting there, the cold hard facts, waiting for you to notice. Waiting for you to grasp it.
In order for me to start living in truth, I needed to stop spending so much time daydreaming about all that could’ve, should’ve, or would’ve been. I had to hold onto what I actually knew, real events, and feelings. And I did.
This is my mom. This is our relationship.
II. Let go of unrealistic expectations
By the time I accepted our relationship, I had already created many molds for mom. Ones that other moms around me and those that were on tv fit into.
All this time, I was comparing our relationship to everyone else’s and that’s what I centered my expectations around. It was draining. And yes, an ideal relationship with your mom, or anyone, should be healthy, but constantly looking at the differences between yours and the next, is not helping YOUR situation. You know the saying and how it goes…
Comparison is the thief of joy.
It was crazy of me to think that she could deliver the same outcome, exactly how everyone else was. Nobody is perfect, therefore no relationship is either. Not to mention, that she was just mentally and emotionally unable to do it.
So, I smashed my molds and built something better. A nest. One that would give us enough room to grow in over time. Baby steps. I had to meet her where she was, not where I wanted her to be and from there, I could have better expectations (and sometimes none at all) going forward.
My mom isn’t them.
III. Speak your truth
There will come a time when you will need to express how you’re feeling. Sometimes, more than once.
When doing so, it’s important that you are honest about everything, even if it hurts them. What you’ve felt and experienced is real and telling them how it’s affected you will at least, get it off your chest.
They may not have the most pleasant reaction and that’s okay. Getting your feelings out, breaking free from the chains that are holding you captive, is necessary. And if you don’t want to verbally talk about it, try to write a letter.
We don’t want this to feel like an attack to the other person, so try to use “I” language as often as possible.
“I’m frustrated (emotion) because of xyz (behavior or event).”
“You’re stressing me out because of xyz.”
“I feel that I’m the only one trying in this relationship.”
“You’re not putting enough into this relationship.”
“I want to put this issue behind us.”
“You need to do xyz, so I can move on.”
IV. Set Boundaries
I was 21 the first time I stood my ground and told my mom “no.” This was hard because growing up, I was taught to respect adults, especially when those adults were your parents.
But what do you do when they aren’t respecting you?
Set boundaries. These protect your wellbeing and it’s essential for all relationships. Stand up for yourself when you feel disrespected, hurt, or uncomfortable, assertively. Age or relation should not be the exception to this.
Even though I felt like I betrayed my mom, I knew it had to be done. I needed to say yes to me. My life depended on it.
Make your demands and if they can’t meet them, do what you gotta do. When they’re ready to treat you the way you need, they will come around. And if they don’t, it’s probably for the best.
V. Let God
Some things are completely out of your control and at that point, it’s time to give it God. It’s okay to try to work at things, but once you’ve done all you can do, there’s nothing left to do.
I gave her back to him.
Everything is a loan from God. Time, money, our jobs, family, and friends. I had to understand that my she was his first.
Out of everything, this was my best decision. As much as I love her, God loves her so much more. And just like God has been with me, he has been with her, too.
I have to trust that he will take care of us. And he has. While I wait, I’ve decided to forgive, have grace, and love her anyway.
This journey has been very slow. If I were you, I wouldn’t expect for things to change overnight, but with time, you’ll be able to look back and see all the tiny miracles he’s done.
Thank you, God.
Mother’s Day has made me feel so uninvited for the longest time. It’s a day where mothers are loved on, celebrated, posted, and liked. Pictures of everything I haven’t experienced, fill my social media feeds.
A while back, I was watching This Is Us and one of the characters said, “Don’t let yourself forget all the times you had with her when she was absolutely perfect.”
And so today, I’m choosing to remember all of those times when she was perfect. She still is. All of the warm embraces, her laugh, and her big smile.
Perfectly imperfect, because she is Endlessly Becoming, too.
To all of the mothers in my life, to the kids with strained mom relationships (or the other way around), to the mothers who have babies in heaven, to whose mothers are in heaven, to the mothers that are hoping and waiting, you inspire me.
Happy Mother’s Day! 🤎
MEET THE AUTHOR
I’m a 24 year old who is passionate about personal growth, intentional living, and spreading light wherever, whenever.