Where motherhood has taken you
You know how challenging the motherhood role is, how impossible it is to do well in all areas, how little acknowledgement you get from all the background work that is done every day and how wonderful it is to receive support. Despite this, you often focus on other mothers' short-fallings. And even with your own mother, you can overlook all she did for you. And while you accept that relationships are probably all that matter at the end of your life, you don't spend much time celebrating these relationships throughout your life.
What motherhood could look like
Together with all mothers, celebrate and support all mothers because you empathise with their challenges. By celebrating other mothers and your own mother, we are celebrating ourselves as mothers. Put aside any judgment and celebrate your mother for all that she has done for you. Give the love and compassion you feel for your children to everybody.
How you could get there
Celebrate your mother by:
- Sending her a postcard
- Postcards have been left in venues across Melbourne but otherwise you can print, fill out and send the letter version of the postcard to your mother.
- Writing her a letter
- One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is to set aside a couple of hours and write down all the positive, wonderful memories of them, the experiences you have shared, the things they have done for you, what you think about when you think of them.
- Imagine they have died and you are speaking at their funeral. Ignore any of their weaknesses. Interestingly…
A great Japanese exercise of appreciation is to ask yourself 3 things:
(i) What has that person done for me,
(ii) What have I done for that person,
(iii) What trouble have I caused that person.
- You can either send them these words or say them to them privately or publicly in front of family/friends.
- Listening to her story
- You can give your mother the gift of really listening to her by interviewing her.
- Put aside at least a couple of hours for the conversation.
- You may choose to record the conversation if you think it will ensure greater concentration from you both or create a different space to your usual conversations.
- Try to take yourself and your past views, reactions and judgements out of the interview process and just listen. Act like a professional interviewer rather than her daughter. Imagine your own daughter interviewing you and how you would like her to treat you, and do the same for your mother. Tell your mother that this is the way you will be conducting the interview, so she feels comfortable and safe.
- A conversation like this can be good to cover off on areas of tension because often tension arises when we feel like we are not being heard and an interview, in contrast to an argument, should be a safe place to be heard. You can chose whether you want to ask her questions specifically about the areas of tension or more open ended questions like "What were the most challenging parts of being a/my mother?"
- Whenever you feel your own judgements being set off by something your mother says, remember these things:
- She was always doing the best she could for you. She, like you, like all of us, has many issues and struggles in her life that may prevent her from handling situations well. But her motives were always driven by love for you.
- You are at least 50% responsible for any tensions in the relationship.
- For perspective, you may want to complete the Japanese exercise of appreciation that I mention under the 'Writing her a letter' section above.
- Some good interview questions:
- When have you been happiest? Saddest?
- What are you proudest of?
- Do you have any regrets?
- Is there something about yourself that you think no one knows?
- How would you like to be remembered?
- What does your future hold?
- How did you feel when you saw me for the first time?
- What did you find were the best/worst things about motherhood?
- What have you sacrificed for me?
- How has being a parent changed you?
- What are your dreams for your children?
- Is there anything you would like to ask me?
- You may choose to write her answers up and either give them to her privately or share them publicly amongst friends/family.
- We would love you to either email us or post on Your Thoughts a photo of your mum with the most poignant quote from the interview, to inspire others to celebrate their mothers.