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6 Ways You Can Survive Mother’s Day

6 Ways You Can Survive Mother’s Day

Are you ready for Mother’s Day? And I don’t mean with the perfect card and flowers. I mean, the day you have to celebrate a woman, who you may not actually like. Unfortunately, many daughters have an estranged or tense relationship with their moms and while we live with this every day, what happens when it’s Mother’s Day? Whether you’re ready or not, it’s her day, so what are you going to do about it?

It can easily become a day to remember and resent all of the things we dislike about her and our upbringing. Many mothers are controlling, dismissive and unavailable, just to name a few of the toxic patterns they can display.

These behaviors hurt, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Or the mom out with Mother’s Day.

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You see, as Peg Streep wrote in Psychology Today, “the female of our species isn’t hardwired to love her offspring; it is the child, not the mother, whom evolution has equipped with a powerful need as an aid to survival. It’s estimated that half of us, plus or minus, hit the jackpot and have mothers who range from ‘great’ to ‘good enough.’”

So that means, the other half of us didn’t hit the jackpot. But instead of begrudging your mom for not being the mother you need, you can see yourself as the daughter who she needs. You might be saying, “There’s no way that my mom is my responsibility!”

But it’s not that you’re responsible for her. You’re responsible for you and your presence can help her. So, here’s what you can do for both you and your mom, this Mother’s Day.

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Heal yourself

As much as we want to save a sour relationship or another person, it’s neither in our power nor our responsibility to do so. We cannot heal others, but we have to heal ourselves! And this is the best step toward reconciling yourself with the relationship you have with her, whatever it looks like.

Forgive

Until you forgive, you’ll carry lots of emotional baggage that will permeate your mind and body. You forgive, not because you caved in and made everything she did OK. You forgive so that you can be free of the pain and negativity.

Respect

You may not respect, admire or like your mom, but her impact on your life is strong (which is why she can draw out some pretty high emotions from you). But because she still has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, just as you do, create opportunities for respect, while limiting the ones for disrespect. Maybe you can’t spend more than a couple hours with her and if that’s the case, keep it short and sweet. If a phone call is enough for the two of you, go with that. Just don’t feel obligated to meet the expectations that advertising and marketing bombards you with: Big parties, elaborate gifts and cards, expensive bouquets, etc. Do what feels right for your relationship.

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Gift toward the Good

Go with gifts that you know will bring her happiness, not what you think she should have or what you wish she’d be into. Give her what will bring a smile to her face. My mom is an amazing craftswoman when it comes to all things knitting and crocheting. I don’t understand any of it, but a gift along those lines is perfect for her.

Plants not Flowers

Flowers, of course, are the popular choice, but these can be showy, insincere and short-lived. Perhaps a plant (even a small one) can remind you of the long-lasting bond between you and her, and the many seasons (both good and bad) which you’ve endured together.

Picture It

Find an old photo of the two of you and keep it to yourself. When you look at it, reverse the role. Maybe you’re not so different than she was back then and maybe she did the best she could. Let this be your compassion card to help you be a good daughter, irrespective of the type of mother you had.

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Mother’s Day is her day because she is your mom. But It also has a lot to do with you because, well, she’s your mom! And you can make it a good day for both of you.

Featured photo credit: Richard Taylor via Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 15, 2018

Why Helping Others Actually Helps Yourself

Why Helping Others Actually Helps Yourself

Helping others: it’s a fundamental part of humanity, bonding together and helping a fellow man or woman. In times of tragedy, the stories of those who help others are inspiring, such as helping the nation recover from national disasters and terrorist attacks. Some men and women even devote their lives to helping others, from the police force that protects our cities, to the fire departments who run into burning buildings, to the service men and women who risk their lives for the common good.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ― Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

But helping others isn’t limited to these grand gestures or times of tribulation. Helping others can be done each and every day. And contrary to what you may have heard, helping others doesn’t always have to be a selfless act. It’s important to understand that helping others can actually help yourself. No matter what the motivation, getting out and helping others is the key. So in that spirit of motivation, here are 5 reasons why helping others actually helps yourself.

1. Quid Pro Quo

When you help someone, they will be more likely to help you. This is the basic, unspoken agreement that fuels nearly every move. I’ll spend my entire day lugging boxes, but you owe me. It’s much easier to find help when someone knows you’d do the same for them. They may not always live up to their end of the bargin, and you may not either. But if you help enough people and do many good deeds, it will be given back when needed.

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2. Karma goes both ways.

All too often, the idea of Karma is described in a negative way. If you do bad, bad will come find you. But it works the other way too. When you are a good person and help people, good things seem to happen. And while you may not believe in an inter-connected universe that rewards good deeds, there is something to be said about how helping others changes your perspective. When you’re helping others, you will often feel better about yourself, increasing the likelihood that your next experience will be a positive one, rather than a negative one.

3. Doing good feels good.

It’s maybe the most cited benefit of doing good: you’ll feel great. Helping others is a great way to feel better about yourself. Seeing a smile or even tears of joy makes it all worth it. It’s as simple as that.

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4. Good publicity is the best publicity.

People notice when you’re doing good. It may not be the reason you help out, but someone is always watching. Even the simplest gesture can make an awesome impression.

When I was in college, I had a class that helped out at a school for a full day. I worked with a small group of high school students who were incredibly interested in writing, and I had a great time. I asked the teacher if I could come back on my own time and work with these students to finish this project we were working on, to which she agreed.

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I went two more times that week, thinking nothing more about it. Fast forward a few weeks: I received a letter in the mail stating I had been chosen as a Presidential Grant Recipient for the summer and received a $2,000 stipend to work with a group of students and professors on a research project over the summer. I was floored, as I hadn’t even applied. I was nominated by that teacher who appreciated the work I did with her students. It wasn’t expected, but helping others ended up opening a door I never would have known was even available.

5. Helping others looks good on a resume or application.

Is your resume looking a little thin? Does your college application need a bit of pizzaz? Volunteering your time and energy to help others makes your resume and applications look as good as it makes you feel. Hiring managers look favorably on volunteer work and many acceptance committees use it to separate similar candidates. So read to some first graders, volunteer at the homeless shelter, and volunteer at your local Boys and Girl Club. Your resume will thank you.

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Featured photo credit: xavi talleda via flickr.com

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