Kids of all ages are planning ways to celebrate and honor their moms again this year on Mother’s Day, as mothers await with anticipation the flowers, phone calls, gifts and cards that show them love, respect and appreciation. It’s a heartwarming and deeply personal holiday as each child tries to let his or her mom know and feel how very special she is.
Yet, tensions can also build up around this day–tensions that arise because families are not always in perfect harmony and relationships between parents and their adult children are strained. This year, why not make an extra effort to ensure that Mother’s Day will be special for both you and your adult children?
– Spoil it by having too many expectations. Your adult children have lives of their own, often filled with time restraints and responsibilities with their own children. They don’t know specifically what would make you feel loved and respected on this particular day. So rather than expecting them to meet a standard you’ve set up for them, let go and allow them to surprise you with their own way of honoring you.
– Make your children feel guilty by saying such things as, “When am I going to have grandchildren?” or “Why don’t you visit me more often?” I once had a therapy client whose mother commanded her to appear for holidays. My client attended begrudgingly, but the feelings she had of being forced to be with her mother permeated the atmosphere and led to unpleasantness rather than celebration. Guilt rarely produces feelings of warmth and tenderness and may cause your children to prefer to stay away from you.
– Make your adult children feel obligated to you. If you play the martyr and expect them to fawn over you, you may be disappointed. Holding back on your subtle but manipulative demands gives them the opportunity to give to you genuinely–out of the goodness of their hearts, with sincere love and caring.
– Criticize, judge or lecture your kids. They don’t need to hear how they should be raising their children or that they’re making bad career choices, spending too much money or gaining too much weight. Throwing out careless or critical comments in the midst of a family celebration will turn the entire atmosphere sour.
Rather than sitting back and depending on your children to fulfill your day, take charge of it yourself. Expand your view of Mother’s Day by acknowledging your membership in the world’s largest private club: motherhood. Get in touch with the real meaning of Mother’s Day by including mothers everywhere in your celebration.
Here are some tips for making it a great day of love and appreciation–not only for you but for others as well.
Next: 7 things you should do on Mother’s Day