No perfect mom

Healing work centers around recovery and often the recovery is from damage inflicted by a parent. Yeah! Your mom and/or your dad!

So this is a different kind of mother’s day message. If you wanted sappy sweet, this isn’t the one.

What parents do

Some of you were truly battered by a parent, emotionally, some of you physically, but I felt nurtured and supported, even spoiled, by my parents. I have trouble embracing the notion that my mom or dad damaged me. Yet any healing work, any counseling turns the loop to the family dynamic.

I get it. There are moments when a parent, deliberately or unwittingly, stifles something she should have nurtured. Moments where you were swept through his journey of choice when it wasn’t ideal for you. You may live your life without ever examining it. Maybe you harbor subterranean anger that poisons every garden you plant, every effort you make. Or you may spend hundreds of dollars diving deep into the childhood wounds.

No one is perfect.

Not a single one of us. If we’re lucky enough to move through parenting years, we’re going to trip up somewhere, drop a ball over there, wreck a moment here, shove a secret into a closet. If I find a moment that needs healing because of mom or dad, I try to see them, human, doing the best they could, dad looking for the user’s manual, mom for the plugs to close up the leaks. I lean in just enough to heal, just enough to acknowledge those moments from my childhood that lift their heads and say: Remember this? when the counselor demands it. I lean in deeper to forgive.

But, yikes. When I lean back, I panic! What damage did I do to my kids!!?? What kind of recovery-from-mom work do they need to do?

There is no perfect mom.

Mine’s not. I’m not. Yours wasn’t. If you’re one, you aren’t a perfect mom either. But let’s be tender with our moms, with ourselves. None of us received that user manual, and even if you read all the parenting books and magazines, you fell off the page from time to time. It’s inevitable. We all need to forgive and be forgiven.

Can you still tell mom “You’re the best mom ever” or smile when your children tell you the same? Sure! We’re in this together. Learning. And we did the best we could with the tools we were given (that last phrase is loaded). Those of us who can afford it or understand we need it, will spend at least a little time in recovery from mom. But feel free to tell her Thanks for being the best mom ever. And if you’re a mom, don’t let Dr. Doubt smother the emotion when yours tell you the same. It’s code for I love you, and we all need more love.

Happy Mother’s Day, y’all.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2020

About Pennie Nichols

This little corner is dedicated to some of the things that interest me and to those of you who share those interests about relationships, travel, cooking, gardening, canning, jewelry, and writing. I’ll throw in some recipes and stories for your reading pleasure.

11 Replies to “No perfect mom”

  1. Rena

    We all have those issues like you said, but I love the compassion that you always lead with. Even though my mom and I were very close there were things from my childhood that haunt me to this day even though I know she did the very best she could with the tools she had. It really took me a long time to be able to say that and I had a lot of resentment for a long time, but you have to find a way to make peace with it.

  2. Karen BakingInATornado

    The hardest thing to grapple with, for me, is how my child perceived some of what I tried to do to raise them well. And how both of my boys could see the same circumstances differently. It’s just so complex, it’s hard not to let Dr. Doubt take over sometimes.

  3. jae

    I’m sorry, but as a child of an abusive mother, to suggest I should chalk it up to her not having a “How to Mother” handbook is extremely insensitive. Congrats to you for having a cherry-picked childhood.

    • Pennie Nichols Post author

      I understand that it’s not the same for all of us, that some, like me, were lucky, many weren’t. I didn’t intend to be insensitive to those who have not had the same fortune. My intention is to open up to forgiving and forgiveness, not to make excuses. To open up for the healing that can offer.

  4. Betty

    Perfectly said! Thanks for sharing!
    Happy Mother’s Day! May God bless you with many more! Luv ya!


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