Sunday, May 8, 2011


Are there any among us who don’t have some mother issues? Even those of us who love our mothers dearly usually have some small things that bother us about this oh-so-primal relationship. After all, this is the person who gave us life (as she frequently may remind us in the midst of disciplining us). This is the person who was (or was supposed to be) our primary caretaker when we were small. The one who actually kept us alive! She is the one who watched us step onto that school bus the very first day of school – albeit with tears in her eyes (and then returned home to FINALLY relax, all alone thank you, over a quiet cup of coffee). So, for all of this positive stuff, why do so many of us feel ambivalent about this important relationship – this relationship that is the basis for all future relationships?

Mothers guilt us, protect us, defend us, scream at us, count to ten over us, spank us, despair about us, put us down and build us up. Doing all of these things is what mothering is all about. Until we have our own children, and struggle with being the very best parent we can be, we really cannot understand how gratifying, and how frustrating, parenting really is. It is hoped that we “grow” as mothers (and as fathers), that we are able to take in new information about parenting and incorporate it effectively. After all, as the saying goes, “When I know better, I do better.”

Accepting that our relationships with our mothers (even with our deceased and long-gone mothers with whom we still have our inner dialogues) will never be the perfect “I Remember Mama” relationship that we have seen depicted on both the large and small screen is a start at some resolution of our “mother issues.” Accepting our mothers as the flawed folks they are, who never had an owner’s manual handed to them when presented with their little bundle of joy………accepting our mothers as people who usually try to do their best (and often really miss the mark)……and accepting the fact that our relationship with this all-important woman will never be exactly “right” is a start at healing some of our “mothering hurts.” Let’s give this lady a break, accept our life’s choices without blaming them on her, and enjoy what we can about our Moms. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you.

Sandy Fournier, M.A., LMFT

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