With today being Mother’s Day, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to brag on my Mom a bit. Guys, my Mom is the best. I know, I know, lots of daughters think that about their own mother, but I’m right, okay? haha She is my editor, looking at EVERYTHING I create (except for this post, it’s a surprise). She is my sounding board, telling me when to push past my doubt & put my ideas into the world. She even named Pause with Purpose. I mean, seriously… she’s awesome. In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s 5 reasons why my Mom is so good for my mental health:
1. She introduced me to mental health days.
Like many high school students, I was in a relationship I just knew would last forever, regardless of how up and down it was. Spoiler alert: it didn’t… but sometimes I would get overwhelmed with a whole bunch of emotions. My mom would tell me to take a mental health day. During these days, we didn’t do much… we just hung out, relaxed, reset. They always worked: I felt so much better after them. Right from the start, I understood that mental health was as important as physical health, even though we weren’t specifically talking about it. The understanding that sometimes you need to rest from emotions, was such a gift to me because I didn’t have to push past the shame or guilt we can sometimes associate with a mental health day.
2. She supports me unconditionally.
It doesn’t matter what is going on in my life, my Mom is on my side. Having that knowledge, knowing that her support will be there, whether it’s a quick question about a recipe or a big one about whether to buy a house (she has the answers to both), it feels like a safety net. At our wedding in our programs, we had this quote that so perfectly fits what my Mom does with her support:
“Parents are neither an anchor to hold us down, nor a sail to drive us there, but a guiding light whose love & support shows us the way.”
I don’t mean she agrees with everything I do; you should’ve seen her face when my brother & I told her we wanted to get tattoos! When we do something she doesn’t love, she doesn’t take her support away. It’s still there.
3. She taught me how to speak up for myself.
One thing about my Mom… she doesn’t hide what she’s thinking. She’s not in that realm of thinking that women should keep their mouths shut… THANK GOD. She is feisty, she doesn’t back down when she believes in something. It’s not fun to be on the opposite side of a debate, because she doesn’t give up! But it taught me so much… that what I think and feel MATTERS. And if whoever I’m talking to doesn’t see that, then they aren’t worth talking to.
One of my favorite- Mom is getting feisty stories, is when I had meningitis in college. At the time we didn’t know what I had going on, so a friend had taken me to the ER to get checked out. I called my parents, who were also in a hospital because my mom had broken her foot. My doctor wanted to proceed with a spinal tap, and I wanted them to know I’d call them once it was over with an update. I remember laying there, doped up with the medicine afterwards and I could hear my mom yelling that she was “going to go in to see my daughter.” Evidently, someone had told her they couldn’t come see me yet. YEAH RIGHT.
4. She’s my soft place to fall.
Sometimes there’s nothing like the comfort from Mom. It doesn’t matter if it was just a bad day, or it’s been a bad week, or even longer… she is able to make me feel like, okay it is going to be okay. This sucks right now, but it will be over soon. I saw this, not only for me but for my entire family, when my grandma was in Hospice Care. She cared for my grandma like she was her own mother, looked after my brother and I, comforted my dad through his pain and sadness. There was never a time she wasn’t making sure we were okay. Even on my worst days, she manages to make it all okay.
5. She helped create an environment of communication, love and support in our family that I thought was normal for a very long time.
You know how we all think everyone else’s families are just like ours? It took me years to realize this wasn’t the case. Now that I’m older, have worked with clients who have come from un-supportive families, I’ve seen first-hand how lucky I am. I talk to my Mom every day, and my brother & dad at least once a week. We don’t have to have a reason to call, most of the time we don’t. Supporting each other is a priority, even if it means driving 3 hours to watch a football game. We love each other, even when we screw up.
I love these parts of my family, and she helped create that environment with my dad. It’s so powerful and provides this safety net for my brother and I, that I know not many have. We know that even though we may make a mistake, we may make her angry, she is still going to be there to talk to, to support us, to love us. It’s taught me how to explain how I’m feeling, to love the people I love fiercely and how powerful support can be, even though it’s free to give.
I know I’m lucky…
I know some of you reading this may not have a good relationship with your Mom. She may no longer be with you, or you may have never known her to begin with. I know Mother’s Day can be a struggle for a lot of people. Please don’t think I take for granted what I have, because I know how incredibly lucky I am. And bonus… if you need some Momma Bear loving, let me know! My Mom always has plenty to spare!
Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom & all the Moms in the world. I truly don’t know how you do what you do!