Dress Up, Show Up! It’s Mother’s Day

improve bond with motherIf you’re a mother, there’s always a time you’re reminded of your own mother as her words slide in and out of your consciousness. Sometimes, you may find her words coming out of your mouth as you give advice or opinions to your own children or others. Whether you had a positive or negative life experience with your own mother (or guardian) she’ll never be forgotten. I was fortunate to have a warm, loving, fun relationship with my mother Doris. However, there were power struggles as well, but we always were able to overcome them.

As life unfolds, there has to be time to build bonds – a phone call, an email, a letter or card, a planned day out for lunch and movie or to see a play, (if you’re lucky enough to live in the same city). Mother’s Day for me and my mother was always a lunch or dinner spent together, sometimes with other family members. In the early years of my marriage, I belonged to a women’s organization; we held a Mother’s Day event each year. Everyone got dressed up and our mothers were made to feel special. Lunch was served and Mom didn’t have to clean up! Every mother received a present.

One year, some of the women in our group decided to perform a skit for the event; we rented a hall with a stage. We chose the “Cinderella” story, with our own comical twist. I played Cinderella; I was 5’5” tall and ‘the prince’ (one of our members, dressed as a male, was 5’). Also, in real life – I was 8 months pregnant! But the part of the play that received the most laughter from the audience was when the clock struck 12. I was supposed to run off stage, leaving behind one glass slipper…however, I forgot to step out of the slipper! As I got back stage, the rest of the cast was yelling…”the slipper, the slipper”! So to keep in sync with the original story, from side stage behind the curtain, I threw my ‘slipper’ (a large size 11 gold high heel shoe) onto the stage! I’m not sure how long and how hard the audience laughed, but those fun moments still stand out in my memory. Actually, as reported in Psychological Review, July 2000, this fun, socializing with women – ‘tending or befriending’ suggests that more oxytocin is released to produce a calming effect that reduces stress! So it’s in women’s best interests to socialize with other women!

That year my mother-in-law was also in attendance and she had received from the Toronto Star, the “Mother-in-Law of the Year” Award. I had entered their contest to write in a 100 words or less why my mother-in-law deserved the award – and I won! I realized what a lucky person I was to have both a warm, loving mother and a mother-in-law who was also a gem. It was a great community celebration when a huge picture appeared in The Toronto Star of my mother-in-law, Betty, along with me and my three sisters-in-laws with an accompanying article on Mother’s Day.

Now, in what seems like a lifetime has passed, I am fortunate to be treated to Mother’s Day as the senior matriarch by my own children along with my precious little granddaughter! I work hard to keep my relationship with my children strong, without being overbearing. (We’d have to get their opinion!) Some things I learned from my own mother was to make Life an occasion, to enjoy small and simple things – a walk in nature, a glorious sunset, a spectacular rainbow, baking muffins with my granddaughter. My mother Doris instilled in my psyche to love and respect all people, no matter their race, creed or religion or station in life. But she also taught me to speak out and stand up for what I know is right. My mother also emulated a strong work ethic, striving for excellence in whatever job she chose. I like to keep those values close to my heart and hopefully have passed them along to my own children.

I hope you can find the joys in your own relationship with your mother and cherish your time together. Life is short. There’s always a way to improve the bond with your mother even if you’ve had a stormy relationship. Start somewhere. If this applies, appreciate and honour what she has accomplished and sacrificed for you and the family – even if your mother has passed on. Happy Mother’s Day to all who wish to celebrate!

relationship with mother