Episode 9: Some Thoughts About Mother’s Day
I’m LDS Life Coach, Hannah Coles and you are listening to The confidence catalyst episode 9: Some thoughts about Mother’s Day.
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a friend about Motherhood and that mother’s day was coming up soon. She mentioned that in her area it’s a really touchy subject and that in relief society – or the women’s class at church, they’re not even going to mention it. I said, that’s too bad. Why wouldn’t they talk about Mothers on Mother’s day? She told me that it’s too painful for too many and so it’s just better not to talk about it.
This didn’t sit well with me. This sounds an awful lot like avoiding and if you’re confused go check out **** podcast episode to hear more about that and why that’s a problem. Avoiding the topic so that feelings won’t get hurt has some huge holes in it. First, avoiding it, changing the topic doesn’t make the feelings go away. They’re still thinking them even on a subconscious level. It’s just temporarily distracting them but the thoughts are still there and still hurting. The other big hole is believing that topics, conversations, or people CAN hurt us. They can’t.
If you remember from the model which I mentioned in episode 5 – set her free – what other people say or talk about is a circumstance. The best thing about circumstances is that they’re neutral. They don’t mean anything until you place a thought on them.
This topic should be addressed because if so many people are feeling pain and resistance there needs to be relief. I have a lot on my mind with this topic but for the sake of time I’m going to just share some thoughts about four areas of mother’s day. See if you fall into one of these categories:
Four reasons women struggle with Mother’s Day
1.) Mother’s day is hard because your mother has past.
2.) Mother’s day is hard because you feel inadequate and undeserving as a mother and it hurts to be reminded of all your faults and failures.
3.) Mother’s day is hard because you don’t have the mother you want. You don’t like the relationship you have with your mother. She’s not the mother you wanted or want her to be.
4.) Mother’s day is hard because you haven’t had children yet and don’t consider yourself to be a mother yet.
There are other area’s and my goal today isn’t to take away years of belief systems or change the past or take away and heal every area of your pain but today to offer you some thoughts that will plant the seed towards progression and relief. Which is why I named this podcast, SOME thoughts about mothers day. I’m pretty sure I could write a book just about this day but again, for time’s sake, just some thoughts today.
I do want to also say that I know there are mother’s and daughters out there with just beautiful relationships and honor and love their mothers, they love being mothers, they cherish womanhood and this day. I’m not trying to diminish your outlook – keep thinking that, feeling that, honoring that. This podcast can still be for you so that you can gain an understanding about why this day is so hard for so many others and so you can in your own natural and normal ways be able to help, lift, succor, and support those around you.
To the woman that lost her mom
I know this day is hard. Losing someone so precious to you isn’t supposed to be easy. The pain doesn’t go away and I know it doesn’t feel good. People don’t like to cry. They don’t like to grieve. So they avoid. It seems easier to avoid but I promise you allowing yourself to feel all the feels is the most compassionate thing you can do for yourself.
I listened to a women recently say that she lost someone very close to her. The pain was real, intense, and that she’d often burst into tears. She said, people would try and comfort her. They’d say things that weren’t helpful because how could they possible know what she needed? So she offered this, which I love, “when words fail, hug”. If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. You don’t have to say anything. Just hug. This goes for you too. You don’t have to apologize for crying, for missing, for longing, for mourning – no matter how many years it’s been. You’re allowed to cry, to feel, to be human. Cry, hug, cry some more. It’s okay. Allow others the gift of being able to cry too, I’m sure they need it too but are too afraid or embarrassed to cry. So be the light, be the example, miss them, cry for them, allow grief.
I read a book by S. Michael Wilcox who I just love so much. He speaks directly to my soul. This book is called, Sunsets. It’s a book about loss and it’s just beautiful. There’s one chapter he speaks about how painful sunsets were. He used to think that each sunset meant another day without his wife and it was painful and it hurt so intensely. He hated sunsets. He hated to be reminded that he was without her. Until one day a beautiful tender mercy was given to him, the opportunity to try on a new perspective. *
You can think of mother’s day as another day or year without her. It’s hard, it hurts. Or you can think of another year, day, mother’s day closer to seeing her again, to being with her again, to holding her again. It’s still hard. It still hurts and it’s still okay. Let it be hard. Let yourself cry when you need to. Grieving is a gift. I want to choose grief out of love. I want a day to honor, think about, focus on those that have passed, those who I love and want to keep them close to me in my mind.
I heard a ted talk recently where a widow said she speaks about her late husband in the present tense. This boggles some people because they think there’s a time limit on grief. But relationships are in our heads. They’re what we choose to think about them. Your mother is still very alive, well, teaching, guiding, loving in your mind. You can still talk to her, joke with her, sing with her, whatever you did that you loved to do with her, you can still have that. Just because her physical presence isn’t here, she can still be. It’s up to you if you want to be willing to feel the feels. The more vulnerable and open you allow yourself to be here, yes, the more pain you also allow in but the more love is present as well.
Love feels amazing. Grief is a small price to pay to feel and have felt that love. Don’t avoid her on this day. Allow her to sit with you, to cry with you, to be with you. Allow the pain because it opens the door to allowing deep love. It’s worth it. Then show others they can do the same.
To the mother who feels unworthy, inadequate, and failing as a mother
This was me for so many years. I didn’t like mother’s day. My kids would draw me cards and write letters and do THE cutest things for me and I felt horrible. I couldn’t enjoy it or appreciate it. I even thought sometimes that they were just “saying that” because they had to, it’s mother’s day, right?
To you I want to tell you, that I see you.
I see you cleaning the house, doing the dishes for the 15th time.
I see you teaching, and talking, and repeating yourself over and over again.
I see you struggling through church with big spirited toddlers and crying babies.
I see you trying again and again.
I see you crying to yourself because you feel like you’re messing up, because it’s hard, because it’s lonely sometimes.
You are seen. You are doing so much better than you realize. There is no such thing as enough. We are supposed to be part of our kids trials. Just like they’re part of ours sometimes. You’re supposed to mess up. We are our best teachers for our kids. Part of that is deliberate and intentional teaching, exemplifying, and helping them apply. Then the other part – like the other 50/50 part is through your life. Through your mess ups, through just who you are. There are things that you do that your kids aren’t going to like and it’s okay. It really is. They’re supposed to. I love what one of my sweet friends said to me recently, she said, “It’s not called Happy PERFECT mother’s day! It’s just happy mother’s day”.
The inadequacy, the unworthy, the undeserving comes from our own expectations. The rules and expectations we put on ourselves. If it feels so bad maybe it’s time to re think those expectations?
Start with bridge thoughts, or neutral thoughts. I have an amazing freebie right now if you subscribe to my list where you’ll get pages of how to use neutral thoughts, a whole page of thoughts to try on, and a place to apply and to try moving forward with this. So go to my website, the catalystcoaching.com and grab that while it’s still available. For today though, I’m going to hook you up.
I want you to start where you’re at. Start with the most painful thought you’re thinking about Mother’s day. For a long time mine was, “I’m not good enough.” I saw all these other stellar mom’s with these amazing homes and well dressed children, with their hair all perfectly done and just everything seemed to together and then I’d see me with my messy house, my ragamuffin-esque kids with wild, unruly hair, and I’d feel so less than. So my thought I spun a lot was, “I’m not good enough”.
From there you can go to, “It’s possible I could be good enough.”
To, “I want to believe I could be enough.”
To, “I am good at some things”
to, “If I’m good at some things it’s possible then I could be good at many things.”
to, “I have an abundance of time to learn how to do everything I want to do.”
to, “Maybe I’m just the right mother for my kids.”
to, “Heavenly Father is perfect and doesn’t make mistakes. He gave me this role therefore I must be perfect for my kids – all of me, just as I am right now.”
To, “I am enough.”
to, “I am more than enough.”
To, “My kids don’t know how good they have it, kids, you’re so welcome.”
I tell that to my kids all the time even with all my faults, and limitations, and flaws.
You are enough. You are so enough. It’s crazy how enough you are. You are 100% deserving of honoring yourself as a mother on mother’s day and every single day. When you’re scrubbing up another mess or taming a tantrum, try on the thought, “kid, you are so welcome. You have no idea how lucky/blessed you are to have me for your mother.” And give yourself the much needed appreciation, validation, and support.
You’re enough with everything you are. We all have areas we want to improve on in our lives – we can, we do but please don’t punish yourself because you’re learning. Because you’re not there yet – wherever you think “there” is. You’re doing a good job mama. Keep going.
I see you. I support you. I love you.
Happy imperfectly perfect mother’s day to you.
To the daughter who struggles with her mother
sometimes mother’s day is hard because you didn’t have the mother you wanted or think she should be. This goes so well with the last one because it’s all about our expectations. We think a mother SHOULD do certain things or not do certain things.
You read hallmark cards or poems or tributes to mothers and who they are and what they do and this is a problem because who said mother’s have to do those things? The things that are bothering you about her is only because of a thought in your mind. Isn’t that crazy to think about? I know you’re set on what you think they should be doing but I want you to pause for a moment and just think about this, why should they do that? Who said they have to do that? Where is the book or manual that says, “A good mother….”
We have those thoughts. There’s definitely a chapter in our own mental manuals. But she’s a human being with her own agency. She gets to just be her and do what she does. And here’s your work, Your work is to not make what she does, says, or doesn’t do about you.
What your mother does goes in the circumstance category. It’s neutral. It’s factual. She can’t hurt your feelings. This is one of the biggest areas I see pain coming from, the belief that she made you mad. She made you sad. She hurt your feelings. She offended you. She didn’t make you happy.
Here’s the truth, she can’t. She can’t make you happy. She can’t make you feel loved. She can’t hurt you. She doesn’t have access to your emotional bucket. She’s a circumstance. She’s not good or bad until YOU decide that she is and do you really, really want to believe something negative about you?
I talked to a woman once who had a mother that never came around to her house or wanting to spend time with her kids. She’d go to another siblings house and spend time with them but not her, not her kids. She told me it was hurtful. She was offended. She didn’t understand why her mother wouldn’t want to come see her, why she wouldn’t want to be with her kids – her grandkids. Everything her mother did was hurting her in some way – or so she truly believed at the time.
But she was missing a key step, she was getting her model all mixed up. She believed that there are circumstances and those circumstances created feelings, then she’d have thoughts about those feelings.
Here’s a possible example: My mother went to my sister’s house and spent time with her kids instead of coming to mine. I’m offended and hurt. I’m offended because she didn’t even call me to see if I was free or if she could come over. I’m hurt because I think she doesn’t care about me or my kids.
This would certainly hurt and create a lot of pain. But the problem with this order of things is that it makes you the victim. You’re hurt and will continue to be hurt until she changes and what if she never changes? Then you’re stuck, limited, and hurt.
This is mixed up and out of order because the true model looks like this: There are circumstances, you have thoughts about those circumstances, then it’s those thoughts that create a feeling for you.
Same example: Mother went to sisters house. I think, Why didn’t she call me? Doesn’t she want to see me or my kids? She must not love us or care. She must love them more.
It’s THESE thoughts that create the turmoil, the pain, the hurt.
It’s not her mother. I know it seems like it is, but it’s not. It’s the thoughts you think about your mother that is hurting you and why would you want to do that?
I love this visual. Your feelings are protected from your circumstances, which includes your mom by your thoughts. Your F’s (feelings) are protected, guarded from your C’s (circumstances), by your T’s (your thoughts). She can’t hurt you. What she does and chooses to do or not do. What she chooses to say or not say can’t hurt you. All of that is a C – it’s a circumstance. It’s neutral. It doesn’t mean anything until you make it mean something and why oh why do you want to make it mean something so hurtful and painful for you?
It’s not her hurting you.
Your thoughts are hurting you.
You have the power and control and authority over your feelings. You get to decide what you want to think about her. You still might choose disappointment. I wouldn’t choose happy if my mom never came by or did some of those things. I would be disappointed because I know and realize what she’s missing out on. We’re totally awesome over here. Who wouldn’t want to be here spending time with us? But I never want to choose to believe that she doesn’t care, that she doesn’t love, that we’re less than. That hurts. I can’t prove that either. Even if she flat out said that, I don’t know for a fact that it’s true. She could be lying. She could be just saying that. So really, it’s up to me to decide what I want to interpret that as.
It’s my interpretation, my thoughts about her that hurt my feelings. This is so beautiful because it free’s her from having to live up to your invisible expectations. It’s beautiful because you release her from carrying the weight of your feelings around.
You get to take care of your feelings and choose what you want to think and her? Her only job is to be mom – in whatever capacity that looks like – even a very human mom. That’s her job. You can think, “Well, I thought our relationship was going to look like this, but I guess not and it’s okay.” It’s oaky because it’s what happening. You’re choosing not to argue with what is and get out of her head and back into yours. I have a mom who….Then think, who do I want to be here? What do I want to feel?
Most of my clients just want to feel love. I just want her to love me. I just want to feel love for her. But they’re hurt and mad and offended and sad so when they do get together they’re withdrawn, they’re short and snippy. They’re the opposite of loving and then wonder, Why doesn’t she just love me? How different would things be if you truly felt love for her without wanting to change her?
What’s the one thought that hurts the most?
She doesn’t really care?
She doesn’t love me.
If she cared then she’d want to spend time with me?
What is it for you?
Got it? Now, I want to ask you what would change if you didn’t believe that thought?
What if you didn’t believe that she didn’t care – of course she cares – what would change for you?
What if you didn’t believe that she didn’t love you – of course she loves you, she just shows it differently than you would and it’s okay because you’re both different. You’re both human. You’re supposed to be different.
What would change if you didn’t believe that thought?
Freedom. You’d finally be free. Try that on. Start there. Again, I’m not trying to change a lifetime of these thoughts, behaviors, habits, etc. I’m only offering you a different perspective to try on, some new thoughts to think. Of course I always want to help and coach you – so if you want help with your specific challenges and circumstances, set up a consult call with me. Let’s talk.
Your mother is perfect for you. Know how I know? Because she is your mother. Now ponder this question, “How are you the perfect daughter for your mother?”
You can enjoy mother’s day if you want to enjoy mother’s day. You don’t have to focus on what’s lacking or what you wish she would do or wouldn’t do. You’re the one in charge. You get to steer your ship. You get to decide what you want to think about her. What you want to think about you as a daughter.
Maybe you don’t need her to love you because YOU love you.
Maybe you don’t need her to come by or call because you’re good at calling, stopping by.
You don’t need her to be a good mother because you’re an amazing daughter.
Mother’s day doesn’t have to be painful or something to avoid if you don’t want it to be. You have your agency. You get to choose.
Okay, to the woman who doesn’t have children yet.
Maybe you’re not married yet. Maybe you are and are unable to bear children yet. Mother’s day can be painful because you’re surrounded by all these mothers, all these people talking about mothers and motherhood and you feel excluded, left out, different, separate, lonely even.
I get it. I remember trying for our first daughter and we just couldn’t get pregnant. I had a doctor that told me after months and months of trying that “it’s okay, you’re young at least you have all the time in the world to keep trying.” I was so offended at the time. I felt like it diminished my pain. Everyday. Every moment of the day I was thinking about my body that it wasn’t working properly, that something was wrong, what I could never have kids, what if…what if… what if… and what made it all worse was it seemed like everyone around me was having babies or getting pregnant or had what I wanted.
I felt a lot of feels during this time. I get it. I didn’t want to hear about mother’s day while I was struggling to become a mother.
I want to tell you first, that you are loved. You are seen. Heavenly Father is so keenly aware of you. If you don’t have what you want right now it’s because there’s something better coming.
You can have what you want right now or you can have something better. I don’t know what that is but I encourage you and invite you to take it to your Father in Heaven. He always answers prayers and always the answer will be because I have something BETTER. He will never withhold something from you to be mean or malicious or because you’re undeserving because you are because He loves you with an incomprehensible love. So I invite you to seek that personal revelation.
But I also want to tell you and I wish I had known this then was that yes, feel all the feels. I could be sad that I didn’t have what I thought I wanted. I could feel disappointed that my body wasn’t doing what I wanted it to then but I could also choose to focus on the future and I could talk to my future self and in my future I could see me, the me with my four children. I wish I could have done this then. I see me know and I talk to my future self all the time and it’s such a fun thing.
I invite you to talk to your future self to see what wisdom she has to offer you. I invite you to ask her and say, “What did you do during this time? How did you make it through?” And then see what amazing things she has to tell you. Because your future you isn’t struggling with the same struggle anymore. Your future you has overcome this. She’s waded though the waters and she has so much wisdom to offer you. And so I want you during this time to become besties with your future you. I want you to talk to her all the time. Bring every single question and ask her and your Father in Heaven and invite that personal revelation.
She is going to tell you, “Oh honey, I know! I get it! It was hard.” If that me that was struggling could talk to me today, I’d be like, “Oh honey, I know. That was so hard! So painful. But don’t worry, it’s amazing. You’ve got this. It’s going to be okay. It’s going to be so great and you are going to love your children. You are going to be such an amazing mother. Just hang in there. Just hang on a bit longer. It’s coming. Something better is coming!”
And so talk to that future you. She going to be very compassionate with you because she gets it. Just like in prayer, you have your Father in Heaven who gets it too. You’re not alone. You have a whole arsenal of people to talk to, people that get it, people that love you, people that can empathize and offer you exactly what you need to hear. No one else can offer you exactly what you need to hear because they don’t know. They can’t know.
Your future you knows exactly what you need to hear right now. Your Heavenly Father knows exactly what you need to hear right now. So I want to offer to you that you’re not alone.
Lean into your feelings and get to the other side. Lean into the feelings of fear because that fear also lives on the same street as excitement. It’s like the whole idea of a color spectrum, all the different shades of red and the intensity of it. Feelings are the same. If you’re feeling fear or worry, it’s okay because you’re on the same street as love and excitement. So if you’re feeling that lean into it. Allow yourself to go a little bit farther and then start questioning some of those thoughts. You don’t have to believe every thought you think!
When those thoughts come you can simply say, no thank you. Then try on what thoughts your future you has to offer you. It’s coming. Just hang in there.
One last thought that I want to offer here is that I really love Sheri Dew’s talk in general conference in 2001. Are we not all mothers? Look it up because there have been a lot of mothers in my life that I really love to honor, that I cherish, and love for teaching me and guiding me and loving me because really in my book, in my manual, that’s what a mother does.
What is a Mother?
To me, a Mother loves. A Mother teaches. A mother cares for. And all of those things look very different. I’ve had so many mothers over my life time and I’m so grateful for them. So instead of thinking, when am I going to be a mother? Why am I not a mother yet? I really want you to think already, “I’m an amazing mother. Look at all of these people that I help.” It doesn’t have to just be children. You don’t have to think about motherhood as just babies and children. They can be your peers, they can be older than you. Again, to love, to teach, and to care for. It can be your ministering sister, it can be the people at church, it can be the person that you just smile to. You have no idea what your smile meant to them, how they interpreted that.
So think about it from this perspective, instead of, “Why am I not a mother yet?” To “Maybe I already am and maybe I’m already amazing!”
You can use mother’s day as a day to torment yourself and to feel bad, full of scarcity and lack or you can choose to see mother’s day as a day of excitement and love and gratitude and abundance. It really is up to you and it really it is up to your thoughts because your thoughts create your world. And what kind of world do you want it to be? What kind of Mother’s day do you want to have? It has nothing to do with what’s happening around you, what people do, say, or what they don’t say. What they provide for you, what people’s talks are, what people bring you, or if they come to see you or don’t come to see you, it has nothing to do with any of that. All of that is a circumstance.
What creates your feelings is what you choose to think about it and so I want to encourage you to think about it ahead of time, what you want your mother’s day to be, what I want to feel on Mother’s day and come up with a game plan of how you can give that to yourself because I promise you it really is up to you. It doesn’t have anything to do with anything around you. You hold the key.
Okay, I think that was longer than I intended it to be. I love you. I love what you do as a woman and a mother, as a friend, as a daughter. The role of motherhood is Nobel. It’s divine and I am so grateful to be a mother in every capacity. I look back and I see how I mothered before I was a mother. There are so many ways to be a Mother. Mother’s day doesn’t have to be just about you. It doesn’t just have to be about your mom. It’s a day to honor mothers, all of the mama’s out there. Like Sheri Dew said, “are we not ALL mothers?”
And I know there has been at least ONE woman in your life that left an impression on you. So I invite you to celebrate HER. For you to choose to honor her, to choose to honor you. It is an amazing day and I had another friend say, “Everyday is mother’s day”- truly I believe that.
Have an amazing Mother’s Day and I will talk to you next week!