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mom (noun) 1. Superwoman - Working Through Complicated Feelings on Mother's Day

Hooray-it's May! The beginning of May always feels like we are just on the cusp of summer beginning with all its excitement and anticipation. May also means Mother's Day...and if you know me personally or have ever worked with me, you understand I have a heart for moms. Moms make the world go 'round by being who we are and doing the best we can for our families, friends, homes, careers, etc. So of course there is great value in honoring moms on Mother's Day. However, it should be recognized that Mother's Day can be an emotionally turbulent day for many of us (women and men alike). Some people have lost their moms or have strained relationships with them. Some desperately want to be a mom (or to add to their family) and it's not happening. Some might be struggling with motherhood overtaking their identity and don't know what to do about it. Many of us are just struggling, period. Mother's Day can be complicated for so many. And for those of us who are moms, we feel the weight of these complexities in every role in our lives.

I primarily work with women in my private practice. Most are mothers, but some are not. I have a good network of friends and neighbors who I talk with frequently. Most are mothers, but some are not. I am in a profession that is primarily filled with women. Many of my professional colleagues are mothers, but some are not. Either way. the running themes of shame and guilt are so prevalent for women in our culture that it's almost like the feelings of inadequacy radiate off of us. The shame seems to stem from those feelings of guilt when we falsely perceive that we aren't doing enough. That we aren't enough. I love Brene Brown's definition of shame: "Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging" (review Daring Greatly by Brene Brown). Three of the 12 "categories of shame" that came out of Brene Brown's research are: 1. motherhood/fatherhood, 2. family, 3. parenting. So obviously, many of us are experiencing these feelings of shame concerning our role as mothers/fathers/parents/caregivers. Recognizing these feelings and giving ourselves some grace can be immensely helpful in combating those feelings of being less than enough. Chances are when you're doubting your capabilities as a parent, it means you are probably doing MORE than enough.

Whatever emotions Mother's Day brings up for you, positive or negative, honor yourself with the complexity of those feelings. Know that your feelings don't define the woman, the mother, the wife, the daughter, the sister, the friend, the neighbor that YOU are. Working through complicated feelings on Mother's Day is normal and it's ok to be happy and sad at the same time. Be kind to yourself this month, whatever you're going through.

kids with mom on Mother's Day
Working through complicated feelings on Mother's Day can be challenging. Find solace in the fact that it's okay to have complex emotions come up on a special day.

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