5 Beliefs that Make You Out to be the Biggest Crybaby
“There is an expiry date for blaming your parents.” J.K. Rowling
When I now think of my mother, I think titanium.
It took me a good decade before I recognize her strength and separate her from the role of “Mom” to that of a person in her own right. Obviously, I’m a slow learner.
In addition to having a slow learner for a daughter, my poor mother never got her revenge. I never had kids; ones who would grow up to be as obtuse and headstrong as I was. That would have made for the best parental payback.
I didn’t recognize my mother’s strength because I wrongly based my idea of what strong is on some superficial and unrealistic set of expectations. I felt that my father, who was a strong personality, was the stronger of the two. I had thought she gave in way too much or didn’t stand up for herself enough. But that’s where I was wrong. She was simply smart, knowing when to pick her battles and letting Dad think he won. She made compromises that I didn’t understand but which are the stuff of successful marriages.
Granted, our lens of our mothers will never be wholly objective. But if you still hold these 5 childhood beliefs (grievances really), you might be hampering your growth. Perhaps you might recognize some of these misconceptions in your own relationship and use them as a jumping off point for meaningful dialogue and further reflection.
Motherhood and sainthood are one and the same.
We may not readily admit it, but we want June Cleaver or Donna Reed or (insert another overly idealistic figurehead here) for a mother. We rarely see our mothers as someone who may not had strong parenting of their own and who were scared of messing up. And because we put Mom on the highest pedestal, when she falls short, woe unto her. Our judgment is swift and unforgiving.
Mothers should just be mothers.
Lest, you think you’re being generous because you don’t expect your mother to be a saint, you may still have difficulty seeing her as a multidimensional human being. We can’t fathom that this person whom we see “only” as mom might have been a cool person in her own right; that she was someone who did audacious things in her youth, and who “gets it” more times than we allowed her credit. That like us, she may still be growing and learning and figuring out how to be the best version of herself.
Mothers should rescue us from ourselves.
Before we even strap on our training bras and begin shaving the scant hairs on our chins, we expressed ad nauseam that we want to be independent and make our own mistakes. But at the same time, we want Mom to shelter us from the consequences of our mistakes. We want to be rescued. When you ask to be treated as an adult, you can’t revert back to childhood when adulthood doesn’t serve you.
Mothers should always know and anticipate what we need.
In a parent-child relationship, we often magnify our parents’ shortcomings and downplay their strengths. This is even more pronounced if we have developed values and viewpoints vastly differently from our parents. I value physical affection and strong verbal communication skills. My mom’s way of showing love was through cooking and quietly performing small acts of kindness, like picking up my favorite ice cream from the store. Needless to say, her acts of kindness were taken for granted then. The fact that she never stopped doing them, despite the lack of appreciation, is a strong testament of her goodness.
Mothers should be held responsible for our failures.
It’s interesting that we can more readily let a friend off the hook or “kiss and make up” with our significant others, but we can’t seem to let go of a childhood grudge against our parents.
While I don’t have insight into what wrong has been made against you, I know that regardless of the level of offense, the only person that this is hurting is the one holding the grudge. J.K. Rowling said, “There is an expiry date for blaming your parents.” Forgiveness is a big topic worthy of its own posts. While we won’t go into it here, I know that if you let go, there is only peace.
This post is dedicated to all the amazing Moms everywhere! Happy Mother’s Day!
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