Whether you’re a biological or adoptive mother or neither, everyone has an experience of both “mothering” and being mothered.
According to History.com:
Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.” (History.com)
However, the beginnings of the modern day celebration of mothers is traced back to Anna Jarvis who—surprisingly—was not herself a mother. Read more about Anna Jarvis and the history of Mother’s Day here.
The Mother archetype, as “the life-giver, the source of nurturing and nourishment, unconditional fountain of love, patience, devotion, caring, and unselfish acts” is a powerful archetype in our consciousness—both individually and collectively as a culture (Caroline Myss; Appendix: A Gallery of Archetypes). While The Mother—as archetype—is the keeper and protector of life, she can also be wrathful, abandoning, or devouring.
Most women have complex and sometimes conflicted feelings about being mothers and about how they were mothered by their birth or adoptive mother.
For example, many women who work outside the home struggle with feelings of guilt and pain about leaving their children in daycare, or the amount of time they spend with their children.
Or, if you grew up with an abusive or neglectful mother, you may feel intense shame for having feelings of anger—and even rage—toward your mother.
On this Mother’s Day, I invite you to fully accept what is true for you, even if your thoughts and emotions don’t neatly fit into the thin, superficial “joy” that is the unspoken expectation of the day.
If you’re a partner with children still at home, you’ve probably had to contain a multitude of emotions and conversations to protect your children from information or charged interactions between you and the addict in your life. You may have lost contact with adult children who have distanced themselves from you and your partner because of the consequences of his addiction.
And compounding it all—living with the effects of sex addiction can cause you to feel dishonored, disrespected, and diminished.
Since Mother’s Day is for honoring, if you’re a mother I urge you to do everything in your power to honor yourself today. As wonderful as it would be to be honored by others, they may . . . . and they may not.
Ask yourself the question that a woman in one of my partner’s groups asked this past week:
“What would be your ideal Mother’s Day?”
Take some time to answer this question for yourself, and do everything in your power to create it. Your answer may be as simple as a long soak in the tub, or something more extravagant—whatever brings you joy. And if you’re struggling for ideas, check out my post honor yourself (10 ways).
May your Mother’s Day be peace-filled and blessed.
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© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2016)
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