Understanding Our Moms

Posted April 8, 2013 by Monica O'Connell in Life After Five

mother daughter relationships


Are you ready to chat about moms? Yea, me too.  For quite a few women, on the surface, this doesn’t seem like a relevant conversation.  My goal in this is neither to get you to like your mom more or to get you to blame your mom for anything, though my mom commonly jokes that she takes the heat on most things, even the genes she’s given us. Instead, my goal is to get you to start to examine the relationship, how it’s impacting you and if you need nudge to do some work around it.

Our relationship with our moms is the most complicated relationship in our lives.  Think about it, your mom grew you inside of her body.  Like actually inside.  She was responsible for every part of your well-being for a solid 9 months and then birthed you.  Complication city.  We got hooked into mom’s energy from the second we were conceived.  If mom was an Anxious Annie about having a kid, we somehow felt it.  If mom was excited beyond belief, we soaked that up.  Then out we emerged and she was supposed to know how to have a relationship with us immediately. She had to know our likes and dislikes from the instant we arrived.  Likes: warm environments, constant access to food.  Dislikes: being cold and not being held.

From there, she was still our primary source of all things in the world.  In a popular court case regarding divorce, a woman who was a stay at home mom presented all of the jobs she had beyond stay-at-home mom in order to receive spousal support and she listed the rate at which each of the jobs charged.  We’re going to make a list like she did (minus the income).  If you’d like to grab a pen and a piece of paper or make a mental note, jot down all of the jobs your mom had.  Ready?

Gourmet chef, chauffeur, laundromat, personal clothing shopper, activities director, teach, personal tutor, comforter, bed-time-tucker-iner, storytime reader, artist, camp counselor, maid, birthday party events planner, cupcake baker at 9pm for school bake sale, fundraiser, teacher’s helper, bank/atm, grocery shopper, consoler, automatic item finder, cheerleader, personal assistant, travel agent, driver’s ed instructor, college career planner, baker, doctor/nurse, shoe/hockey-skate-tier-extraordinaire, hair stylist, counselor.

What did you come up with? Any more to add? Obviously the list goes on and on and on but this is just a snippet of what we expect moms to do on an ongoing, never ending basis.

Our expectations of our moms is mammoth, gigantic and unreasonable.  As we start to dig deeper into our unrealistic expectations of our moms, we easily start to uncover that our mom, just like every other woman, is doing the best she can in the very moment.

Our mom, just like every other human is working to the best of her ability on being.  On being + authenticity, honesty, bravery, kindness, compassion and the goodness of loving life.

If I can step back and look at my mom from that lens, I can begin to relate in a deeper way.  I can also start to soften my unrealistic expectations so that she can show up as she is and I can love the pieces that she does have to offer.

Whatdaya think? See you next week for Mom time-Round 2!

About the Author

Monica O'Connell

Monica O’Connell is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her practice, she spends her career cheering on “Career Girls” as they learn how to get the most out of life. Monica works with arguably some of the most successful, intelligent, inspiring women in the Twin Cities who tackle self-discovery, career success, and what’s getting in the way of their true desires. She shares her favorite moments as those “best described not by words but by the stomach aching, face soreness that comes from spending an entire day laughing with loved ones.”