I feel compelled to tell you the story about my mother since we just had Mother’s Day. All my life I had a hard time finding a Mother’s Day card that represented my relationship with my mother. I didn’t want to lie and say that my mother was wonderful, that she was always there for me, or that she was the best mom ever. I would find a simple card that said, “I love you.” Even that felt like a stretch which I’ve been working on changing for years.
I had so much suffering from not feeling loved, tended to, or valued by her. When she was 91, she finally shared with me, my daughter, husband, and future son-in-law that she was never praised or told “I love you” by her parents. We finally understood why she couldn’t be the mother I so desperately needed.
After hearing this, my amazing adult daughter said she was going to say “I love you” to her grandmother every time she talked to her. I agreed to try as well even though the words often got stuck in my throat. In a short period of time, my mom started to respond occasionally with “I love you” in return. Our saying “I love you” made my mother feel loved and thus she was able to find and express her love for us in return.
During this change, my mom also became nicer to the caregivers. At her memorial at age 92, her caregivers told us that they used to not like my mother but that she changed. This is why they attended. I was able to let go of my final remnants of childhood pain and be at my mother’s bedside as she peacefully passed away.
My daughter’s determination and advice was the final wisdom I needed so I now think of my mother lovingly as I look at her beautiful face on my refrigerator door each day.
Because of my angst, I was determined to learn how to parent differently with my daughter so that the pattern would be changed. I wanted to feel loving and for her to feel respected, cared for, loved, and all those other juicy feelings. And thus, Ally Parenting was born.
My efforts have been well rewarded with many loving moments and cards from Jen. Here is the card she just sent me for Mother’s Day that touches me deeply and sums up the skills I try to teach you.
I titled it “The Good Mom.” Here is what it says.
A good MOM just KNOWS when to give ADVICE and WHEN NOT TO SAY “I told you so.”
When to STEP IN to HELP and when to STEP ASIDE so you can FIGURE THINGS out on your OWN.
And SOMEHOW SHE JUST naturally KNOWS THAT Love is what you NEED MOST, even when you act sort of UNLOVABLE.
A GOOD MOM makes all the DIFFERENCE in the WORLD, especially to a VERY grateful ME.
Happy Mother’s Day
So keep up your efforts because the rewards are well worth the struggle.
Copyright 2022 – Cynthia Klein, Family Happiness Expert – Coach, speaker, and author of Ally Parenting: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Transform Conflict Into Cooperation. Learn more about Cynthia’s services and contact her at her website, https://bridges2understanding.com. Contact Cynthia for permission to reproduce any information from this article.