A day to reflect on who your mum really is - human

Lisa F Young

THE wonderful children's book by P.D. Eastman titled Are You My Mother? tells the story of a newly-hatched baby bird that falls out of the nest and goes on a journey find his mother.

Kittens, cows, wrecked cars and steam shovels all become confused possibilities for motherhood for this strange little bird.

For us in the real world (whatever that means), we most likely have a pretty good idea of who our mothers are and we are, for the most part, unlikely to confuse her with a desk lamp, a potted shrub or a bulldozer.

And if you do, I strongly urge you to put down the bottle and to seek help immediately!

This curious tale opens up a bigger question though… do you know who your mother really is?

No doubt you have a pretty strong idea in your mind already.

Maybe your mother was hardworking or a saint or a nurturer or a martyr.

Maybe your mother was a carer, a professional, a revolutionary or a fantastic cook (sadly, my mother's recipe for Cream Cheese Pie died with her).

Perhaps your mother was an innovator, a life-changer, an angel or perhaps even a devil (heaven forbid).

But whatever the image you have of your mother, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate this view.

Undoubtedly, mothers are very important to men, as well as to women.

Often this importance is based on what we think they should - or could - have done for us.

Yes, we can acknowledge our parents did the best job they knew how to do but sometimes we are left with a sense that there can be a part missing for us.

A crucial, critical moment in our upbringing, in which we feel distant and separated - that if only our mothers really understood what we needed, they would have fulfilled this need and made it all better for us.

There are men and women who grow up and go through life carrying this moment with them - an odd sting of pain in their life that can cast a big shadow over who they are and how they do life.

For some men in particular, they can even confuse their wife or partner with their mother, hoping the woman they marry will be able to heal the little hurts they felt from their Mum.

Some friendly advice - she isn't your mother! Be careful not to get them confused.

Realising this actually gives us the power to let our mum off the hook from whatever image we have projected onto her and to see her for who she really is.

A woman, proud and noble, beautiful and strong and oh-so-human, struggling to find her way in the world and make sense of it all.

When we actually let our mums off the hook from being the person we want her to be and see her for the woman she really is, we can actually truly discover who we are ourselves.

So, this Mother's Day, take some time to get to know your Mum.

If you are fortunate enough for her still to be alive, ask her about her dreams and aspirations, about her joys and her sorrows. And really listen.

And if she is no longer with you, reflect on the woman, who impacted in the world in the most unique and special way: creating you.

Paul Stewart is a life coach with Compassion Coaching and supports the inSight Men's Circle, run through Hopelink. Phone 4979 3626 or visit www.compassioncoaching.com.au.

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