Mother’s Day and Realistic expectations. Out loud.
It is not uncommon after Mother’s Day each year for psychologists to hear from women heartbroken about their experience. Seemingly the entire country takes their mother out for a champagne brunch or serves her breakfast in bed. Or delivers sweet home-made cards and fluffy slippers. You, instead, have had a day that felt like a punch in the stomach, or you’ve come to dread the question, “How was your Mother’s Day?” If you have Mother’s Day expectations you’d like met, you may want to consider the following ideas next year.
Setting your (realistic) expectations – out loud
Set the tone for Mother’s Day by letting a key family member know what would be meaningful to you. Perhaps you feel that surprise is overrated and might eventuate in little to no acknowledgement. Practise making one of the (very realistic and uncomplicated) suggestions below and make them your own:
“This year I would appreciate some meaningful words from everyone written down in a card.”
“I would like a gift this year and was thinking of X, which you can get at X.”
“On Mother’s Day I expect to go out for a walk/coffee or play at the playground with a ‘no whinging’ rule and a smile on your face.”
“I expect a hug from everyone and would like some of my chores to be done cheerfully by others.”
“For Mother’s Day I will be going to the movies on my own and when I get back I would like to see a tidy kitchen.”
“I want to see everyone on Mother’s Day and don’t want to cook or clean up – maybe a BBQ or take-out?”
Make clear requests
When we set our own realistic expectations and make a clear request, our families have a fair chance of meeting them. We also create habits and rituals that build appreciation over time. We celebrate in ways that are personally meaningful, rather than taking our cues from social comparisons or advertising. And we protect our hearts from disappointment and resentment. We are allowed to ask for what we want and hold a (realistic) expectation of our family that our request be honoured.
So, what will you be asking for next Mother’s Day?
If you need help with clear communication or family relationships, a psychologist can offer personalised, therapeutic support.
Sarah Hindle (M Psych (Clinical), B Psych Sci (Hons), Grad Dip Psych) brings her warmth, wisdom and rapport to the individuals and families she sees; the knowledge that a strong and collaborative therapeutic relationship is foundational to the successful outcome of any intervention. Sarah has experience working with adolescents, adults and families facing a range of mental health difficulties including depression, anxiety, attachment and parenting issues, eating disorders and the management of stressful life events and adjusting to change. As a former classical musician, Sarah also has a particular interest in the treatment of musical performance-related anxiety, a topic on which she has delivered individual therapy and psycho-educational seminars. Sarah also has a particular interest in working with children/adolescents and families facing challenges related to learning difficulties and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).