For many, Mother's Day is a beautiful holiday as they get to spend time and show appreciation to one of the most important people in their life. If this is you, I couldn't be happier but this blog post won't be for you.
This post is for anybody who finds Mother's Day hard because they have been raised by a mom who couldn't (or wouldn't) show up and provide the care they needed. This is your virtual permission for all the feelings you might have about your mother and society finds unacceptable - anger, rage, disappointment, hate, grief, sadness, and pain.
What would a good enough mother look like for you? Would she empathize with you when you are sad or in pain? Would she look after your basic needs? Would she celebrate your small and big achievements? Would she be forgiving if you slip up? Would she stand up for you when you face discrimination or unfair treatment from others? Would she show up for you no matter what?
Re-mothering is about giving yourself what your parent should have given to you. Showing up for yourself as a good enough mother would do is incredibly healing and positively improves all aspects of your life. How to start practicing re-mothering:
1) Practice positive self-talk
Our inner dialogue reflects how we were spoken to by our caregivers. One of the most critical steps of re-mothering is challenging your inner critic and replacing it with self-compassionate sentences. When you first start engaging in positive self-talk it can feel fake and unnatural. However, the more you stick with it and recognize the critical voice within you is only trying to fool you that your shortcomings made your parents reject you, the easier it becomes.
Start by simple compassionate sentences like "I am sorry that you feel this way. I am here to support you"
2) Become your own strongest advocate
Regular experiences of neglect, abandonment, discrimination, and not being heard can leave one in a very tough position as an adult to look after their own needs. The role of the good enough mother is to be attuned to her child - listening to their needs, wants, and desires and then meeting that child's needs. This teaches the child that it's okay to want something as there will be somebody who assists them in getting that need met. Later, this child grows up to be a confident adult who recognizes and meets her own needs. When there was a lack of attunement the person struggles to pay attention to what she feels and develops unconscious beliefs about how it is wrong to want or need something.
To re-mother yourself, practice checking in with yourself once or twice a day.
Ask questions like
"What do I feel in my body right now? Is it showing signs that I have an unmet need?" ( tired, sleepy, hungry, etc)
" What do I feel about what my colleague, friend, mother, etc. is asking me to do? Am I sure I have to do it?"
"How overwhelmed do I feel on a scale of 1-10 and do I need to take a break?"
4) Find positive examples of what good enough mothering looks like
Sometimes figuring out how good enough mothering looks like can leave you feeling lost. Taking inspiration from books, films, and from helping, professionals can give you healthy examples of what it looks like. Part of the reason why counselling can be so effective to heal from mother wounds is that it gives you a first-hand experience of a non-judgemental and empathetic relationship.