Celebrating Our Differences

Every second Sunday in May is known as Mother’s Day – a full day devoted to celebrating moms to show how much they are loved and appreciated. Moms love to...

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Celebrating Our Differences

Every second Sunday in May is known as Mother’s Day – a full day devoted to celebrating moms to show how much they are loved and appreciated. Moms love to receive a simple card, flowers, brunch at a favorite restaurant or a thoughtful gift. But the most important aspect of this day is recognizing the special relationship Moms have with their children – and recognizing the ever changing and maturing relationship that daughters and sons may have with their mothers as they age. It might surprise you how that critical bond can influence so much of our lives as we grow.


As infants, Moms provide basic needs such as food, comfort and security. Infants bond with their mothers through this dependency and lay the foundation for trust.  As infants grow to toddlers, they begin to explore their world with more confidence, returning to Mom for reassurance and that extra encouragement that they can do it. This freedom to explore coupled with that sense of safety and security from Mom not only builds confidence but also nurtures a healthy curiosity for the world around them. As children move through elementary education, they begin to create their own identities and gain a sense of independence. While Moms often want to ‘hold on tight’ to protect and guide their child, children tend to seek more autonomy and less ‘mothering’ as their confidence grows. These can be tricky years to navigate but with good communication and an understanding of healthy boundaries, moms and teens can maintain a close bond.

But what happens when children are no longer children and have crossed that invisible and somewhat undefined line into adulthood?

The relationship a mother has with an adult daughter can often look very different than the relationship she may have with an adult son. The saying, ‘A son is a son 'til he gets a wife, but a daughter is a daughter all her life’ rings somewhat true when comparing the different relationships.


When daughters become adults, it is possible that the relationship can evolve into one of ‘best friends’.  Healthy mom/daughter relationships come from mutual love, support and acceptance.  Just like best friends, moms and daughters who are close enjoy spending time together, they engage in meaningful conversations, and they support each other when times are tough. Mothers often understand the experiences that her daughter goes through (whether it be at work, as a wife or as a mother herself) which can bring a sense of mutual respect and camaraderie that only comes from common experiences.


A mother’s relationship with her adult son can sometimes be tricky. As men get married and have children, their relationship with their mother must evolve. Where mom was once her son’s sole female influence, she now has to learn new boundaries and respect the role that the son’s spouse now plays in his life. It’s normal for mom to feel ‘replaced’, but by working through those feelings and learning to accept her son’s choices, mothers can have healthy relationships with both their sons and daughters-in-law.


No matter whether you are a mother, a son, a daughter or some combination, healthy and open communication is truly the key to building strong, heathy relationships. As Ravi Shankar expressed, "There are three modes of communication. In head to head communication you talk, in heart to heart communication you sing and soul to soul communication happens in silence."

This Mother’s Day, make time to tell your mother how much you love and appreciate her. Whether you are using words, showing her with acts of kindness or simply sitting together in silence, take time to communicate from the heart...even a little can mean so much!

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