Matrescence and Your Mother

How your mom’s mothering-style can affect yours via alexandrasacksmd.com

Alexandra Sacks MD
Sep 25, 2017 · 5 min read
Photo by Shelby Deeter on Unsplash

Rather than compare yourself to her flawless memory, this would be the perfect opportunity to ask your mom what her early years of parenting felt like to HER…

Some of you saw your mothers as perfect through your young eyes. She always seemed to know just what to do or say, and made you feel warm and safe. If you grew up with a mom like this, consider yourself lucky: you have a model to follow. You may find yourself rocking your baby to sleep, cooing the same lullaby that made you feel so soothed. Even if she’s crying and refuses to settle down, you may be calmed by knowing that following your mom’s example will lead you in the right direction.

“It wasn’t until I had kids that I realized how hard it was for my mother to juggle everything she had to do, and how well she did it.”

Most of us can remember discrete moments from our childhood when our mothers disappointed us and we promised ourselves that we would do better. Maybe it was the time she scolded you for something in front of your friends, or left you waiting at school until you were the last kid. Perhaps parenthood will help you forgive these mistakes and see her in a gentler light. As one of our patients said, “It wasn’t until I had kids that I realized how hard it was for my mother to juggle everything she had to do, and how well she did it.”

But no amount of self examination can 100% prevent you from making these human errors…

We call these intense negative responses our mothering “blind spots”, because for most of us they happen unconsciously (outside our view). Often times these blind spots are hard to see because they relate to our most vulnerable emotions — especially when we feel overwhelmed. Using psychology lingo, we say that people make blind spots unconsciously by defending against memories and feelings that are too painful to revisit.

Just remember: you don’t have to be perfect to be a good parent.

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Alexandra Sacks MD

Written by

Reproductive Psychiatrist / Parenting Contributor @NYTimes / Book Author “What No One Tells You” | Podcast Host @GimletMedia’s “Motherhood Sessions”