One of the most controversial sentences I ever heard was that everybody misses their mom.
After a lot of thought, I realized it is true. Everybody does. They miss her when she is not there, they miss her when they are away, they look for her in a partner, for this love that exists no matter what they do, and they miss her if she’s not close enough, if they are not happy with themselves, which means they are not happy with her, with how she raised them.
Mom means nourishment, food, love and support. Unconditional love at that.
No matter how old we are, she always affects us. She gave us our breath, did the most that anybody could ever do for us.
She was responsible for bringing us up, for our gene pool, for our character attributes.
Sadly, she can be also responsible for our character flaws.
The answers that we constantly search within ourselves, why our relationships fail, why we tear up when we hear a certain song, why do some words mean everything to us and why simple sentences touch a nerve.
Freud was the first one to develop the theory that every core detail of us can be traced in our childhood development, as we have different stages of development that are connected to different parts of our body. Here we can read the crucial role of the mom as the feeder, appointed as the sole responsible person for our development, as only she can be accounted for the breastfeeding stage (or lack thereof).
The obvious trap there is the expectations from both sides. As a person that avoided spending a lot of time with my mom I scoffed at the above sentence as I thought I never missed her.
A couple of relationships later, I realized that I was looking for someone to love me unconditionally while at the same time knowing exactly who I am. I.e. my mom. So I did miss her, more than I knew. It was a form of missing that cannot be compensated, unless we find a little part in ourselves that believes it deserves to be loved that way, while simultaneously recognizing it is not going to happen. Unfortunately, no one is our mom apart from her, and there is only so much a person who did not give birth to us can do.
By default, some people are better than caring than others, they are the ones that I call “givers”. These people enjoy taking care of others, just to see them smile, and they feel genuinely happy and fulfilled. This is the most fundamental quality to be looking for when we miss our mom.
My best friend had the pregnancy scares some days ago, and she spent hours breaking about how “she is not good enough”.
True, no matter how experienced, mature, capable we are, once it comes down to this, we get weak at the knees. The simplest and most obvious reason for that feeling is, having a child has to be the most selfless act of our existence. Suddenly, our life is not about us anymore. It is hardly our life anymore, it is dominated by another person, that shares our genes, our traits, but not our communication skills, nor has the power to take care of themselves. And that changes…everything.
Same goes for our job. We spend most of our adulthood building our career, working towards our goals, the next salary step, the highest KPI, until that little blue man pops up to tell us oops, now we need to worry about sharp edges in the house. And paid leave. And social security. And if our health provider will cover the iron pills and the epidural. And if water birth is really a thing. And which classical piece to pick for the lullaby. Therefore, career becomes second place and also, we need to choose our job in balance with what kind of mom we want to be (and how much the nanny charges in our area)
A good way to start preparing for this is to enter a partnership, an actual nurturing relationship, that our everyday job is to care and to heal the person that is next to us. In some aspects that is even more taxing, as a full grown person has baggage that we have to help them carry, in a way that they find productive and helps them evolve. And vise versa of course as it is a never ending process.
When we are thinking about being parents we instantly start questioning every single decision we make. Smoking, eating junk food, too much solarium, too little exercise. Because even our body, that is ours from day -270 that it was a single cell, it is not ours anymore. We have to share it. We think about all the stress, the long work hours, the diets, the skinny jeans, the tattoos, the piercings, the extra pair of shoes that brought our account to overdraft, and we blame ourselves for doing anything that might affect the future of our child. We feel inept, lacking, start doubting our worth.
When we are thinking about being parents and we suddenly miss our mom, we miss the chance to be that mom. To be that perfect person that emits happiness, care, nourishment. That is when we need to remember we will never be enough, we will never excel, we will never finish. This project is for life and beyond, for evermore, way after we are gone, through our kin, it will take everything we got. The greatest and most shattering project we ever did. And the only way to exceed is to fail, and see our mistakes and try not to repeat them again. As loving someone gives us the unique power to hurt them the most, and we spend the rest of our lives trying not to do it again.
Talking helps, reading helps, there are tons of relevant psychology books out there, but loving will help the most. As we each have our own way to love. It does not mean that it’s perfect, because it’s ours, but it’s our own tool to dig with. And in this case we have to dig deeper than we had before.
To all the moms out there, keep moming. We need you.
And to you. You know who you are.