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You're Doing Great, Mom

By Dr. Donna Mayerson

Endless Responsibilities

I think we can all agree that this is a Mother’s Day like no other. Everywhere I look, mothers are being called upon to serve in roles otherwise delegated to others in raising children- teachers, coaches, camp counselors, day-care providers etc. They are taking on these roles often in addition to their paid positions (front line jobs and/or jobs in which they are required to work from home). All this, while maintaining their homes. Additionally, many of the places that used to be available for kids to let off steam are off limits. And, there is no respite. I’ve watched in amazement as women conduct work calls as children are underfoot or shuttled off into the kitchen to do their schoolwork, which, by the way, is guided by those same mothers.

Leaning on Strengths

We’re all living in close quarters now and called upon to use all of the resources available to make the most of this often difficult situation. There are moments when I’ve seen women exhibit amazing grace, skillfully multitasking while pausing lovingly to redirect a child or laugh at their playfulness. I’ve seen love and compassion flowing. But, I’ve also seen tempers flare and impatience rise. Our strengths are evident when things are going well, but they are also critically important in getting us through difficult times. It’s a mindful awareness of tensions rising that can help us pause and choose to activate particular strengths. For example, leaning into curiosity when you hit a stalemate with your teenager, wondering what’s behind the position they’re taking or using perspective in understanding that they may be lashing out as a consequence of long-term separation from friends.

Take Time for Self-Care

In addition to finding ways to utilize your strengths in ways that promote positive relationships, this is also a time for appreciating who you are and how you manage life in this difficult time. This is a time to nurture yourself and extend compassion to yourself. You’re doing the best you can with less resources and more responsibility. Take time to breathe, moments to savor and give yourself permission to have fun, do something just for yourself.

This is also a moment to tenderly hold our own mothers close to our hearts… many who are no longer here or who are far away and can’t be embraced. They gave us life and paved the way for us to become the mothers we are today.

Happy Mother’s Day!