Many countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May, which is the 10th of May this year. This holiday exists to honor mothers and motherhood.
Even though the idea of this holiday is great, it can be stressful, as it often happens with all other holidays. The worst-case scenario for Mother’s Day, actually, is to have a fight with your mom. Unfortunately, disagreements and disputes with family members happen, and not just on holidays.
Holiday seasons are often associated with stress and arguments
The ‘holiday fever’ is already there, and you can see dozens of gift ideas for Mother’s Day around the web, which are enhanced by discounts and special offers from different shops. This year, however, the situation is a bit different, and everyone is trying to be more creative because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. You probably think it’s another article suggesting how to congratulate your mom in the quarantine setting. But here’s another idea: how about trying to make another gift to your dear ones by learning how to avoid conflicts? It will be a present for yourself too.
We all are people with problems and emotions which can be too much sometimes. It is very bitter to sometimes have the feeling of being absolutely not understood by others. It is even more painful when it happens with parents. Such situations lead to conflicts where one usually says something awful and regrets it afterwards. This happens because the level of intimacy and personal boundaries we have with family members are different from the ones we have with other people, so we tend to say things we would not say to others.
Healthy relationship is the best gift
Of course, it is impossible to live without conflicts, but there are ways to minimize the number of arguments in your family. One of them is nonviolent communication, a theory of nonviolent living developed by American psychologist Marshall Rosenberg. As you can guess from the name, the key to a successful relationship is communication. Rosenberg’s approach consists of four main elements: observation, feelings, needs, and requests.
The main idea is to clearly express what you feel, as well as to receive this information from others empathetically, without judging. In order to do so, it is crucial to observe and reflect on what you see and feel. Listen to yourself. You have to accept your feelings since they are a result of your personal needs, but also to show empathy to others, because they have needs and feelings too.
In order to be heard, you actually have to talk and express yourself clearly. Very often, conflicts happen out of nowhere: someone did not notice you were in a bad mood or did not understand what you meant. The thing is, we don’t read others’ minds. So, talking about your feelings will not only make your life easier but can also reduce the number of conflicts. There is a greater chance that your words will be interpreted more correctly than frowning, shutting the door, or declining calls.
Saying this, it is also important to understand your needs and values that cause your feelings. It is vital so you can request something without demanding, being able to explain why it matters to you. Also, when describing the situation, say what you feel instead of using phrases like ‘you make me feel’. Such statements are quite manipulative and can lead to mutual accusations.
Why communication and listening to others matter
This communication should work reciprocally: if you see something that feels wrong, it is better to ask and talk it through, rather than trying to guess what the problem is.
If the conflict happens, take responsibility for yourself. Make the first move and talk. Yes, our parents are older than us, but it does not mean that they cannot act childish at times. When the conversation starts, try to really listen to what the other person is saying. It is more than just listening to the words while waiting for your turn to speak. Listen carefully, and then, the chances are high that you will understand what the person actually wants to say.
We are not ideal, and we don’t always communicate clearly. Our family members are no exception. So, you may realize that when your mother storms out, she may actually just hide some deep concerns about something or be worried about you but does not understand how to communicate it correctly. The thing is, it is very unlikely that she just wants to hurt you. However, without communication, a lot of people end up being hurt.
This is why it is sometimes useful to swallow your pride and vanity for a bit. Have you ever realized that you are entirely wrong in the middle of a fight, but it is now too late to ‘surrender’? Well, it is not too late. However, it takes a lot of courage to do so and admit that you are wrong. It may feel awkward but will pay off and save a lot of nerve for you and your loved ones.
So, for this Mother’s Day, invest in your relationships, and learn how to avoid unnecessary fights. Be open, sincere, and communicate. Do not hesitate to remind your mother that you love her.
Take a moment and think not just of your mother, but also about all other fascinating women in this world: foster mothers, stepmothers, surrogate mothers, moms to be, and those struggling to become a mom. Think of mothers who have lost their children and children who have lost their mothers, as well as of grandmothers, aunts, and sisters who have done a great job bringing up kids, even if they did not give birth to them.
Spend a couple of minutes of your life to support a charity organization helping families or women in need. There are a lot of them, for example, Caritas&Du or BetterPlace. Talk to someone who needs support, and tell them where they can get help (for example here). Buy some flowers for that old lady living nearby (do not forget about social distancing though), put a smile on someone’s face. These simple gestures will not just make others a bit happier, but your mother too. Such things are much more valuable than expensive presents. She will be happy and proud to know that she has brought up such an empathetic and caring human being.
header image credits: Anna Nechay