The flowers are pretty, the necklace is unexpected, and it is nice to go to the restaurant and eat a dinner that is still warm. Those are all thoughtful ways to thank Mom on Mother’s Day, but are they what she really wants … or needs?
As we talk with mothers, we hear many of the same thoughts, emotions, and needs. While they may use different words, it seems that nearly every mom mentions two things. The first is that they crave real connections with others. Not just time around family and friends, but deep emotional connections. The second is a desire to feel at peace. Motherhood is inherently stressful, what with trying to preserve a marriage while tending to the kids, the home, and often a job. When something goes wrong or someone wakes up sick, Mom’s usually the one who’s expected to fix it.
Here’s the scary part – Mothers sometimes try to fill those desires for connections and peace in ways that really don’t help. Developing and sharing connection often centers around eating or drinking. Think about it. Girls’ night out, birthday celebrations, family gatherings and holidays… Almost always involve food and/or alcohol. Isn’t it easy to seek temporary stress relief with enjoying yummy food or enjoying an adult beverage? It certainly numbs us – for a little while.
Trouble is, that focus on food and drink is a behavior that can quickly become a destructive habit. Before we know it, that desire for stress relief grows into cravings and could even move into an addiction – for sugar, carbs, coffee, or even alcohol. Then what?
Mothers often tell us that they feel alone, despite being surrounded by the children and a husband they love. They assume something is wrong with them. Shouldn’t having a family and a nice house make them happy? Are they being selfish or unappreciative? If you’ve had those thoughts, know that you’re not alone … and that you’re not a bad mother or a bad person. You’re human, and we were created for connection.
Needing authentic connection? Searching for peace? If you don’t have that close friend who’s here for you in the middle of the night, and you feel stuck with where you are in your relationships, maybe it’s time to meet with one of our counselors. A counselor isn’t a substitute for a friend, but we can help you take a fresh look at your life, steps to take to find peace, and how to begin the process of taking better care of yourself. It’s so important, because you can’t care for others as effectively when you neglect your own needs. Not sure you need help? Why not call us and schedule a time to talk? Share what you’re thinking and feeling, and we’ll talk about best next steps. There’s no obligation or commitment, but you may see your life in a new way. You are so worth it.