I realize the title of this post is long. Lots of words to reflect an often complicated relationship. I love my mother dearly. She is my biggest cheerleader. But she can also be my worst critic. And not in a constructive “hey, I see you doing this right, but this is questionable, but hey, this is awesome so I know you can do better” kind of way. It’s more like “that’s not how I did things” kind of way. (This is just a tiny sampling, and trust it is always said with a hint of judgment, a dash of disdain, and a pinch of “my way is better.”) It’s frustrating. It’s aggravating. It’s often difficult not to react, to try to listen to what I feel is constant criticism with some kind of understanding (by now, I mean I’m 40 and my mom has been my mom my whole life!). I should be up to speed by now, right?
So my question, albeit a late one, is how on earth can I navigate my relationship with my mom in a way that is far more constructive? I’d like to, once, hear her comment about the state of the house or the state of my children or my parenting skills or my choice of wardrobe or my choice of food or reading or exercise or date or….you feel my pain? Yeah…so how to navigate in a way that doesn’t end in a clash that leaves me feeling like a jerk?
After careful evaluation, I don’t think there is a way to navigate this relationship. I’m just along for the ride. It’s a bumpy one, for sure. Yet, she is my mom. The mother who I know would do anything for me, even though I’m nothing like her. It may not make every criticism from my mother palatable, but knowing how much she loves me makes the medicine go down a lot easier.