“Children don’t need perfection from their parents, they just need “ordinary” love and a parent that is “really” present.”
Mother’s Day is a day which can trigger many different emotions for people. Mostly we think about breakfast in bed, presents from the children and a feeling of being loved and being spoilt. However, for some people Mother’s Day also brings with it other emotions of sadness and loss.
Mother’s Day can be a day which triggers beautiful memories of a person who is no longer with us. Maybe your Mother has passed away, you may have lost a child or perhaps you are estranged from your children for reasons beyond your control. For those of us that have experienced this loss, Mother’s Day may be challenging.
Like many of you I am one of those people for which Mother’s Day presents mixed emotions. I lost my Mum to Ovarian Cancer about 2.5yrs ago. She was only 60 years old and she certainly had not finished living her life. So Mother’ Day in my extended family is a day that triggers multiple emotions. Feelings of sadness but also feelings of joy as I celebrate being a mum with my own children.
I remember the first Mother’s Day I experienced after my Mother died. That year I made a conscious decision that I wanted to remember and celebrate the wonderful mum she was, rather than concentrate on the fact she wasn’t here with me anymore. She loved us so very much and family was so very important to her. The focus in her life had been her family and her children and that is what she prided herself on. So I made sure that Mother’s Day for me that year was about putting the lessons she taught me into practice with my own children. She was always trying to encourage me to slow down and reduce the stress in my life (however, she was not always the best at modelling this herself!!!!)
“Pay attention to what bring you joy and do more of it today.”
It is only in stillness that we can untangle our thoughts and feelings. To acknowledge our pain non-judgmentally and to sit softly and gently with an open mind to what is going on around us. That first mother’s day without my mum actually became the moment I truly understood and experienced what it means to be mindful. I made room for the feelings and thoughts that were associated with the loss of my mum but I turned my attention and focus on being present to my own children and enjoying the beauty of life in that moment.
We moved very slowly that day and just did very simple things focusing our attention on the very special family moments that were happening in this space. I thought very often about my Mum but I didn’t get stuck in my sadness. I acknowledged my feelings and accepted them but I brought my attention and focus back to the moment I was experiencing.
Today I encourage you to practice being mindful and try some of these ideas:-
- Multi-tasking is off limits today. Try moving more slowly and don’t cram so much into your day. Instead, make the decision to fully enjoy the activity you are doing and take a “mind break’ from all the thinking. Our brains can only fully focus on one thing at a time. Take the time to engage all your senses in an enjoyable activity where you are fully present. Be aware of the sounds, the smells, the feelings and notice how when you do this your thoughts drift into the back ground.
- Put your phone down and move away from technology!!! Take yourself out into nature or just enjoy the pleasure that can be found in truly spending time with other people.
- Be kind to yourself today and stop judging yourself and comparing yourself to other mothers. Innately, all mothers want the best for their children but we don’t always get it right. Often our own mothers didn’t get it right. However, today we can offer ourselves some compassion. Focus on what you have also done right.
- Parent consciously. Pay attention to your children and your own feelings today. Really notice your child’s expressions, the joy of their laughter and the way that they often “push your buttons” even on Mother’s day. Perhaps today rather than just reacting you might like to try noticing your own feelings and then more consciously making a choice about how you respond.
- Be aware of all the feelings that may trigger for you today. Accept them but make room for them by just taking a few mindful breathing moments. Allow those uncomfortable feelings to soften and gently shift your focus back to the present. Mindful breath is a very powerful and stabilising tool. Truly being present to your moment can be very important. Looking for the beauty of life that can always be found when we are willing to open and soften our minds.
Take action where you can in the present moment and let go of what you can’t control.
Pay attention to what brings you joy and do more of it today.
“Mother’s Day is the perfect day to get quiet, listen to your heart’s whispers and be mindful.”
Written by Veronica McKeon – Psychologist