Becoming Our Mothers
I had my first child at the same age my mom was when her first kid was born, and the same age HER mom was when she had her first kid (25). It made the shift in generations feel very stark and heavy to me. The realization that I was exactly where my mom was in my early childhood memories brought the idea of becoming my mother into a whole new, harsh light. And it was just a matter of time before I was crying the same phrase that mothers all over the world have cried since the beginning of time:
"I swore I'd never raise my kid that way! I'm becoming my mother!!!"
Who among us has not wailed this classic lament after some terrible 'mom-fail'?
In my work with moms, I have learned that many women (myself included) feel overshadowed by their experiences with their mothers when they begin parenting.
Sometimes it shows up in obvious ways - a mom who knows exactly what was NOT ok about her childhood and that she is NOT going to raise her kids that way. For these women, the moments when they find themselves repeating their mom's missteps are excruciating (especially when anger is involved). But, over time in my practice, I have learned that mama drama shows up in much more subtle ways too. In fact, I have yet to meet a mother whose experience with her children isn't shaped (and often held back) by her relationship with her own mom.
A big clue for me that a client has unhealed wounds around her mother, is when she is mercilessly and critically judging her own parenting. When we dig deeper she will often realize that she can't give herself a break as a mom no matter how much we discuss it. This is because she's not ready to give her own mom a break for the mistakes she made.
For most of us, it feels wrong to hold ourselves to different standards than we hold others. Our feelings about the painful things our mothers did make it hard to accept that we, too, are doing painful things as mothers, no matter how hard we try not to.
Happily, my work with moms allows me to also see what's on the other side of this battle and it's glorious - not only because it heals our relationships with our past and with our parents, but because it transforms the way we navigate other parts of our lives. I just finished a session with a mom who has been dancing around this idea for months with me. She works on it, backs away from it, fights against it, but keeps coming back to it, because it impacts every area of her life. We spent time today talking about how her interactions with her kids, relationship with her husband, and even her career would all be different if she weren't so unforgiving with herself, and she knows that condemning her childhood lurks behind her self-condemnation in all those arenas.
How can we let ourselves off the hook as mothers, if we aren't ready to let our moms off the hook? For most of us, we need support and help to get there. We need someone shining a light on the ways this holds us back, reminding us of the beautiful place we're headed when we can't see it ourselves, and creating a safe space in which we can grieve, rage, heal and celebrate. That's my honor and privilege as a coach every day, and I want that experience for every mom who is ready to up-level her parenting and personal life. It starts with a free discovery call - book it today and walk away with insights and new skills that can change your life immediately.