When I read Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, I was hit with a desire to write a letter to my mum.
I was really affected by a part in the book where it said that the way we feel about our mothers might be the way they feel about us. So in the book there was a daughter who thought she was a disappointment to her mother and not good enough for her. But the mum thought she was a disappointment and not good enough for her daughter.
This made me think about how sometimes throughout my life I felt like I didn’t live up to my mum’s standards or what she wanted for me. But then this made me think about how those standards and desires for me are birthed out a mother’s heart that cares so much for her child.
It made me see mother’s in a new way, from a mother’s perspective rather than a daughter’s. I saw the anxious thoughts a mother would have about being a good mother, the pressures and expectations she’d have on herself not just as a person but as mother with the responsibility of raising a child.
If I were a mum, I’d be stressing over looking after my kids, worrying I’m not doing well enough, scared of what can happen to them. I might be a control freak, but it would be out of love and protection and concern. I’d want to do the best job I could and be the best mum I could be. And since I often feel like I fail in every area of my life, I’m sure I’d feel like a failure as a mother too. Mother’s don’t need that.
I saw all this because even though I’m not a mother, I feel the stress of wondering if I’m a good enough person and the striving to live up to my responsibilities. So how much more would a mother stress and strive to be the best mum she could be. And where is she going to look most for affirmation that she is indeed a good mother? Her children.
So how am I, as a child, making my mum feel? What am I telling her? I can get caught up thinking it’s all about me and wanting my mum to affirm me and tell me I’m a great daughter. But what if my mum also has these thoughts and she wants to know if she is a great mother.
Then there’s the painful moment when mothers have to let their child go. They raise their child the way they think is best and then they have to watch them go their own way and be their own person. I want to acknowledge the pain and fear mixed with the joy and gratitude in that moment. And as children, we will step into who we are, but we’ll always have a part of our mothers with us.
This new way of seeing mothers gives me so much more grace, respect, understanding and compassion to them.
I cannot stand for a second the thought that my mum would think she wasn’t good enough. Even though there have been hurts and some our values differ, I want her to know I’m proud of her. That she is not a disappointment to me. That I never wanted a perfect, strong super mum because I only wanted her. That I’m glad she’s my mum. And I will always love her.
All of this inspired a letter, a poem, and a drawing for my mum. Plus this blog post and an idea.
I was wondering if others would like to acknowledge, appreciate, and affirm their mothers. Because they might be stressing about how they’re doing. If you want to tell them they’re doing a good job (or have done a good job), go for it!
Write her a letter, draw her a picture, write her a poem, ring her up, tell her face-to-face, blog it – express it however you want.
What I’d love to do is compile these expressions of thanks and thoughts about mothers and turn it into a book. I’d include sections like: lessons from mum, stories with mum, and letters to mum. Mothers would also be invited to share their thoughts about motherhood and their wishes and letters for their children.
If the book idea is a good one, I might combine it with a blog challenge idea with weekly prompts. E.g. How my mother shaped me, my favourite memory with mum, the best gift my mum gave me.
Then just as I published Fall in Love with Writing, I’d publish this book with your names, ages, and locations included (or you can be anonymous). I could even include photos of mothers and their children. Ahhhh, so many ideas!!!!!!!