What is a mom? She’s much more than the woman who gave you life. If yours is like many, she’d gladly sacrifice her existence to save yours. Mothers do so much, and all most of them ask for in return is a loving relationship with their children. How can you cultivate a healthier relationship with your mom? Take some tips from this list, and honor the woman who means the most every day of the year.
Examine Your Feelings
You might unconsciously avoid your mother if you have unresolved issues from your childhood. Your mom doesn’t have a crystal ball. Even if she did something that broke your heart, she might remain unaware of how her actions hurt you. Before you try to improve your relationship, examine any negative emotions you feel. If you avoid your mom due to unresolved feelings, schedule a time to meet for coffee in a neutral location. Tell her that you want to talk, but don’t write a laundry list of ills. Focus on one issue that frustrated you the most. For example, “I feel very hurt that you helped my siblings with down payments for their homes, but never offered me financial assistance when I needed it.”
Set Boundaries in Advance
Maybe you keep your distance from your mother because she turns a dinner invitation into a week-long visit. If your relationship isn’t as close as you’d like for this reason, decide on boundaries in advance. Depending on the role you played in your family, you might find this activity difficult at first, but it becomes more comfortable with time. For example, “I’d love to have you spend the weekend with your granddaughter and me. However, we reserve Sunday evening to prepare for the week. Can I offer you a ride home after a late brunch?”
Reach out Regularly
Do you rush from one job to the next, or from the office to pick up the kids at soccer? If you do, you might not have time to nurture your relationship as much as you would like. Technology to the rescue — even if your mother lives overseas, you can keep in touch via cellphone apps. If your mother is new to technology, help her get started with a cellphone designed for use by older adults. Some companies design tablets with seniors in mind, too.
Cultivate Common Interests
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit, and your mother can knit just about anything without hardly a second thought. Why not ask her to give you some lessons? If she doesn’t already engage in a hobby you love, do you know what her interests are? If not, ask. You can come closer together by enjoying similar activities. Get her moving by inviting her to a mother-daughter yoga class. Bike to the farmers market together on the weekends and spend a few hours in the kitchen prepping food.
Let Her in — Within Reason
Depending on how old you are and your relationship, you might share everything with your mother. However, if she’s the type to offer you unsolicited advice on everything from what kind of formula to feed your baby to how to make the bed, you might want to keep some information close to your chest. Do keep your mother in the loop on things like holiday travel plans and significant life events like engagements. However, whether or not you tell her about every Tinder date is up to you.
Help Each Other
You probably turn to your mom when you need anything from advice on how long to cook the holiday turkey to packing to move into your first home. When was the next time you offered her a helping hand? If she’s getting close to the age where she needs help with activities of daily living, help her to find suitable assistance. Maybe she can’t work her garden as vigorously as she once did — when planting time comes, help her prep the soil and get the plants where she wants them.
Respect Her Wishes
Some mamas take the stance, “I raised my family, and now it’s time for me.” You can’t force your mother to spend the weekend with you if she has plans to jet off to Paris with her new beau. Do continue to invite her over regularly — especially if she can’t get enough of the grandkids. However, don’t expect her to drop everything and babysit on demand.
Connect With Other Family Members
Some mother-daughter duos grow super close, like twins — but this could make your other siblings feel excluded. Include them in your plans whenever it’s possible and convenient. Group outings can prove tricky if some of you live in other states, but if they live nearby, invite the gang.
Practice Loving-Kindness Meditation
Maybe you recently adopted a vegan lifestyle, but your mom insists on having meat for the main course when you invite her for meals. If you love your mom, but quirks of hers drive you nuts, practice loving-kindness meditation to generate positive feelings. Sit in a quiet place where you can breathe deeply and recite an affirmation like, “I see the goodness in everyone.”
Seek Outside Help
If you’ve tried these tips, but still feel conflicted about your mom, seek outside help. Talk therapy can help you reevaluate your relationship and decide how to proceed.
Your Mom Gave You Life — Show Her Love
Your mother is the first and likely the most important woman in your life. Begin cultivating a healthier relationship today with these tips.