May 6, 2011

This Mother’s Day, Inventory your Mother Wound. by Sara Gottfried, MD

Reclaim Mother’s Day—by how we Mother Ourselves.

Mother’s Day started out innocently enough with a sweet idea: recognize and honor the mothers in your life. Then the Hallmark folks created a huge market around it. And the food industry created carb-fests around it.

Sweet idea, yet as a mother of two kids, I’ve noticed Mother’s Day has morphed into a sugary, ill-fitting tour of both food and sentiment.  I don’t want to model the pancakes-in bed behavior for my two daughters followed by a trip to the toxic nail salon. And as a physician who specializes in all the things that can go wrong with the female body, I’ve noticed that many women feel left out of this particular holiday because they’ve chosen not to have children.

Maybe it’s time to reclaim Mother’s Day and get back to a broader, more healing concept of mothering and what we can honor about how we mother ourselves.

All of us were imperfectly mothered. Not enough protection. Not enough nurturing. Not enough holding space when we tried to find our authentic voice. We all have our mother wound. What can we recognize and honor about the ways in which we’ve had to mother ourselves through this life? Can we put our recovery from imperfect mothering on a pedestal, to be evaluated and understood and sussed out, this upcoming Sunday?

As I thought about what I want on Mother’s Day, I discarded the generic options of brunch with the family, chocolate and roses. I got an email from one daughter’s school the P.E. teacher will be spending two hours on Mother’s Day at the local high school track, timing anyone who wants to participate in the President’s Fitness Challenge. Ding! Ding! Ding! That’s my Sunday. Let’s go to the track, run one mile together and time it. No carb fests. No nail polish – just sunshine, relatedness and endorphins.

I have other ideas, of course.

Meditate together. Inventory your mother wound. What legacy, good and bad, did you learn from your mother? Write three pages about how you’ve healed your mother wound.  Recognize and honor the Sacred Feminine in the men in your life. Clean up Mother Earth and reduce your carbon footprint. Now, before I go all Hallmark on you, think about how you can make Mother’s Day work for you. And let us know your good ideas!

Image credits: meditation and cookies.
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