All Articles Tagged "mother-daughter relationships"
I knew that if I ever wanted to have a relationship with her, I had to put it all out on the table.
I became a relationship coach to help understand and accept my own relationship hang-ups, most of which can be traced back to my relationship with my mother. Infants need lots of touch and holding in order to develop what psychologists call “secure attachment.” I was one of those children who was deprived of that. While it is true that Mom (now deceased) was one of the sweetest, most supportive mothers I know, she was also shy about her body and uncomfortable with physical touch.
Since I didn’t get that nurturing touch from Mom, I grew up feeling like I always wanted “more” in my relationships with men. I think a lot of us feel something like this—a deep inner sense that something is missing, that either you’re somehow lacking or your partner is.
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My mother is turning 58 next week on the last day of July. If there ever were black Spartans, I am sure she is a descendant of them. I learned from an early age that though she is far from perfect, her indomitable will and grace would make you swear before God she is. My mother’s marriage fizzled last year, and although even I thought she’d be down for the count, she’s emerged out the ashes of a love gone wrong…just like a phoenix.
Heartbreak has always been glorified as a matter of the young. Rarely do we get to witness the affects of the death of a relationship on women who are more seasoned. If we are to take society and the mainstream’s viewpoint, women’s hearts freeze up after age 50, and they resign to church activity and bingo games with their friends. Being the daughter of such an extraordinary woman, I should have known better than to take such simple advice from the world around me, but even I became indoctrinated with it.
After my mother announced that her marriage was coming to an end, my mind became a ceaseless cycle of worry. Who would take care of her in the years to come? Is she going to be alone for the rest of her life? How can someone possibly start over again this “late” in life? Of course, I did not utter these questions to her — the woman had enough on her plate. Besides, there really was no need to. My mother proved through her actions that you can bounce back from tribulations at any age.
One of the most brilliant things she taught me in the past year is that you are never too old to live the life of your dreams. After my stepfather left, my mother decided to dedicate herself to the things she has always desired. She started hanging out with her friends more, taking weekend trips to Atlantic City moreso for the laughs and company than the gambling. She went back to school and aced all of her courses with nothing lower than an A. She found joy in studying, in exercising her mind, and even in doing homework.
The difficult is merely difficult — not impossible. For years, mom always thought that in order to lose weight she’d need the help of a whole team like those seen on the Biggest Loser. And yet, in six months after her breakup she lost 35 lbs through diet and exercise. It wasn’t always easy to watch, but it sure was inspirational to have a front seat to this accomplishment. In watching her revolutionize her lifestyle choices, I too was able to realize the issues in mine and make proper and healthier changes.
Most importantly, mom has shown me that forgiveness is possible and needed. For so long I was angry with my stepfather — angry with him for breaking my mother’s heart, for abandoning a life he had created with her. As my mother healed and grew from this situation, she forgave him and urged me to do so. She asked me to show him compassion and kindness even when the contrary of these emotions nested in my heart. Her acts of respect for his humanity shamed me in my rage, and made me seek understanding and closure of the divorce for myself.
For all these lessons, I could not be more grateful. Wisdom comes not with age, but with experience from the rumbles and tumbles of life. We are never too old to learn new lessons not only from what our parents preach, but how they live and what they live through.
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My mother chose my husband. Thirty years later, I chose my daughter’s husband. No, these were not arranged marriages. They were simply the influences of a mother upon her daughter’s choice for a mate.
I met my husband, Terry, in seventh grade, and we started to “go steady” in eighth grade. His family moved down the road from my house while we were in high school so he became a regular visitor at my home. We were the typical all-American high school couple. He was an athlete; I was a cheerleader. He was blonde, blue-eyed, and always wore a smile. My mother came to adore him. She always greeted him warmly and made his favorite foods when he came to dinner.
Through the course of our high school years, Terry and I did, however, have our share of break-ups. We dated other people, but always remained friends. My mother never cared about the other boys I dated. She would hide behind the newspaper, or go to another room if my date came into the house. (Thankfully, my dad was more congenial.) I think my mom felt a sense of betrayal to Terry if she accepted or even acknowledged the other boys I dated. It was her quiet, yet potent way of communicating that Terry was the right guy for me. And she was right.
My mother was one wise lady. She knew intuitively that sweetheart of a boy would turn out to be a wonderful husband and father. She was able to see qualities in Terry that I, as a teenager, may have missed or taken for granted. Terry was kind, thoughtful and sincere. Most of all, he truly loved me and my family.
Mom passed away when our twins (Beth and Ben) were almost five years old. Terry and I had been married 12 years at that point. She knew that, as a couple, Terry and I had experienced some highs and lows, but she was able to see us prevail and conquer. Her greatest joys in life were her children, then her grandchildren.
Mom did not get to see her lovely granddaughter grow up, yet her guiding presence was still among us years later. I believe that it was her wisdom guiding me when my daughter, Beth, entered that serious stage of dating in college—but I’ll let her tell you about it.
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Whether you had a harmonious childhood or a long term contentious relationship with the woman who created you, chances are you’ll find that relating to her as an adult may come with a new set of challenges. It should be no surprise the woman who carried you in her womb for nine months, changed your pee-soaked diapers and may have even fed you from her breast may have a hard time seeing you as an adult and you may also find it hard to break your ‘mommy’s little girl’ habits as well. Here are a few tips for having a grown-up relationship with the woman who made you.
Do you find the pressure of honoring your mother properly can be a little stressful sometimes? Well if you give it some serious thought and start planning early enough, you’ll be able to make this Mother’s Day memorable. We can’t tell you what will work best for your mother specifically, but here are some ideas that you can make your own. Your mom will notice the effort you put into making her feel special and you can pat yourself on the back and relax until…her birthday.