Stress: What to Do When You Just Want Your Mother

Every beetle is a gazelle in the eyes of its mother....


Moorish proverb

As I follow my friends on Facebook this day before Mother's Day, I notice posts that, like mine, resonate with grief and appreciation for lost Moms. Let's face it, no one else cares about you like your mother did or does.  

Want someone to be as (or more) proud than you of your latest accomplishment?  To really feel your pain? To care about the smallest detail of your day?  To make your favorite dessert?  To remember with you, and revel in, every mundane detail of your life? To love you no matter what you do? That would be (1) your mother and (2).............nobody else. There is just no replacement.  Brothers, sisters, friends, even spouses, just will never care about you in the same way.  

And there are times when the need is more acute:

  • Mother's Day, Christmas, Passover
  • Your birthday
  • Your children's birthdays and graduations
  • When you close a deal, win a promotion, run a marathon, become a partner, reach your goals
  • When you crater a deal, lose a promotion to your arch-rival, can't get up off the couch, get fired, fail to meet your goals

Here are a few things I do when I feel that need for some Mom mojo.  These ideas are all backed by solid psychological research so I know they can work for you too:

  1. Summon gratitude for the great parenting you received and that you will always carry within you even when you are separated from your parents by distance or death.  
  2. Share stories with siblings and friends who knew your Mom, especially her friends.  
  3. Tell yourself exactly what she would tell you if she were present.  For favorite from my Mom....."Be whatever you want to be, just be the best you can.  If you want to be a ditch digger, that's great as long as you do your best."  I smile when I think of myself as a ditch digger-definitely not something at which I would excel (except in the eyes of my mother).
  4. Write about your feelings and experiences just as you might tell them to your Mom. 
  5. Celebrate when you have a success.
  6. Get up and move on when you screw up.  Taking action will give you energy and renewed optimism.
  7. Laugh-share some really funny stories about your mother.  My friend Jamey loves to laugh about the time her mother rollerbladed into a ditch.  Allison, Melissa and Brian rehash their mom Joan's famous one sentence holiday songs such as "say good bye to pumpkin pie" and "ode to angel food cake." Another friend, Emily talks about her mother Helen Parker's famous "sink toast" recipe. You know, the kind of toast that calls for being burned and then scraped over the sink to get the black stuff off.  
  8. Pass it on.  When I extend care and encouragement to others, I always feel some great Mom energy.  You will too.