When Our Self-Care Instincts Fail, There’s Mom

First and foremost, I’d like to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommas out there! I have no idea how you ladies do what you do on a daily basis (although I have a lingering suspicion that there’s some kind of magical, superpower-type thing at play here). Seriously, I’ve seen my mom handle some pretty difficult challenges over the years, so kudos to all of you for being so awesome!

I also want to recognize those of you who struggle with Mother’s Day. I would imagine that today can be challenging if your relationship with your Mom is strained or if you’re grieving her loss. I hope you can find some comfort in the fact that moms come in many different forms, biological and otherwise! We’ve got friend-moms, adoptive-moms, sister-moms, and more! Maybe someone who isn’t your biological mom has filled this role in your life…or maybe your still searching. That’s okay.

I’ve got a couple moms in my life, but I’d like to especially recognize my biological mom, who raised me into the woman I am today! Like I said, I don’t know how you moms put up with us kids. Personally, I’ve been quite the handful. Not to brag, but Dr. James Dobson did write a parenting book about me titled The Strong-Willed Child. Okay, maybe he didn’t write it about ME exactly, but my parents did buy it in hopes that it would teach them how tame the beast (me).

It sounds cliché, but without my mom, I honestly don’t know if I would be here today. From the moment I was born until this very day, my mom has taken care of me when I was unable to care for myself. My practice of self-care practice isn’t perfect. In fact, in high school, it was nonexistent. Luckily for me, my mom was there to fill the self-care deficit by giving me the care that I lacked.

In high school, my anxiety, depression, and insecurities peaked. In a failed, subconscious attempt to cope with my life and stress, I developed anorexia. Sometimes I roll my eyes when people say that eating disorders are about control, because I feel that there is often much more to the story; however, control did play a factor in mine. My life felt unstable, but I figured, at least, I could control myself. I can talk more about this later, but anyway, I tried to hide behind sweatpants and baggy shirts, but was unable to escape the mom-radar. If I had gotten away with it, I wouldn’t have wound up in a hospital bed. It could have been worse.

When I was in the hospital, my mom visited me daily, even after I tried to kick her out on multiple occasions. (Side note, clearly my brain was sick if I was trying to isolate myself from my mom – she’s seriously my favorite person in this world.) My mom wasn’t about to give up on me, even if I had given up on me. One day, after I’d driven her away with some rude comment, she left to give me some space. I expected that she would return the next day, still upset with me. Instead, she came back later that night, walked into my room, and sat with me on my bed. With her, she brought a blank journal for me to write in and a small throw pillow. The pillow has a mother hugging her child and the words “Some things we hold onto forever.”

After I was discharged from the hospital, she spent the next year and a half playing the bad cop. During that time, I often found myself frustrated by my situation, and frequently displaced my anger onto my mom. Still, she stood by my side. Looking back at it now, I wish I could have that time back with my mom. For almost two years, I pushed back at the only person that I could always rely on, yet she still loved me unconditionally.

While I do a much better job of practicing self-care, I sometimes neglect my needs. Again, my mom steps in. This first year of college has been beyond difficult. Because of recovery—and my MOM—I’ve managed. This past Wednesday marked the end of my freshman year (thank the LORD, omg). My mom has visited me on campus upon my request for a hug, encouraged me when I get discouraged, and she even paid for me to get a massage over spring break because she knew I could use some relaxation. My mom knows what I need, even when I don’t.

One day, when I decide to start a family, if I turn out to be half the mother that my mom is, I’m confident that my kids will turn out just fine…

So, Warriors, be sure to express some extra gratitude today to whomever it is that takes on the role of mom in your life!

Peace and hugs!

Emma