mother in nuclear family

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[Author’s note: This article was copied and reposted without permission from the author on another WordPress Website which seems to mostly or only consist of such reposting. I appreciate that the blogger at least included my name, but the action was nonetheless immoral and disrespectful. Still, the blog itself is a nice collection of articles. I have not included it on my regular blogroll or below, but for the sake of my readers, I want you to know it is called “Kids Say”.]

Young man, your mom may not be complaining but I bet she doesn’t hear from you much and usually doesn’t know how to reach you. Daughters and moms are a little different. My mom lives 6 hours away and can track me down within 4 hours max. Mothers never stop being moms and as age steals away control over their own lives, they start looking for more control over their kids’ again. The more control you give the way you want to give it, the less frantic attempts will be at control where and when you don’t want it.
I’m going to play big sis/mentor again. Please out of courtesy to the role of mothers who will always worry, stay connected. How? 1) Call your mom at least weekly (maybe even set a day to be “update” day), visit her (even just stop by) every 2 weeks, take extra time for her at least monthly (longer conversation or visit, a movie together, etc), and (until you are married) spend every major holiday with her even if it isn’t right on the date. 2) At least monthly, ask her advice (for anything, even if you don’t need it or follow it) or tell her how something she’s previously taught you (however little) has helped you. 3) Figure out what her love “buzz” word is. Does she like to be “admired, appreciated, adored” or asked what her opinion is? Actively look for opportunities to use the buzz word frequently. 4) Acknowledge her anxieties (which sometimes may get expressed as anger) spoken and unspoken, then respond with compromise (give into extra caution when it’s not a big deal and give her firm evidence to counter her fears) 5) Never be unreachable. Choose when you communicate, but make sure she has a few friends’ numbers for emergencies. Check your messages often and respond within a day or less, acknowledging when you got the msg.  Your mom needs you as much as you once needed her, and you need her still even if you don’t realize how.
She’s always gonna be a mother and you’ve given her oodles of reason to worry.You’ll always be her “baby”.  Remember that you were intimately tied to her at one time; letting go of you is like letting go  of a part of herself. Even when a mother barely acts like a mom, there is that biological bond that men can never understand. Accept her concern with empathy and remember that her world is getting smaller as she ages while yours is getting bigger. Don’t carve her too far out of it; she’ll be gone before you know it.
I’m coming from a place of experience, saying this while I’m watching my mom’s health decline and my brother get frustrated with her such that he doesn’t want to “deal” with her as much. My mom is clinging hard to me, but I’m not resenting it anymore. Someday, she won’t be able to cling and I will be the one who doesn’t want to let go. And the things that once annoyed me, I now see as the fruit of her upbringing and all that has influenced her through her life. I use humor to draw gentle boundaries and remind her with admiration of who she was and what she was doing at my age. I remind her what she’s taught me and acknowledge I was a slow learner. I remind her that she doesn’t have to be a perfect mom and that my mistakes are not due to her lack of effort. I remind her that SHE is still growing too.
Anyway, mother-child relationships are often at the heart of our “hard times” in life. Sometimes the solution is a just a little companionship, simply showing interest by calling or listening. I hope the most important thing I’ve helped you do is grow up. Learn from my experience little brother. My mistakes aren’t worth repeating.

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