28 August 2011

Mum's the word

The whole mum relationship is fraught with difficulties, but can be amazing. Here's our guide to surviving your mum...

Mum's the word

Everyone has a Mum. A women who carried us inside her for nine whole months and then had to go through the probably pretty painful experience of pushing us out.

As we get older the role we want our mother's to play in our lives becomes more confused and complex. We are bombarded with different ideals of the mother daughter teenage relationship by films and TV and that's before we go round to our mate's house and realise her Mum isn't an insane lunatic like the one we've left at home.

Teenage girls argue with their mothers once every two days for fifteen minutes on average, that's twice as much and for twice as long as teenage boys. They are also the person we are most likely to blame when things go wrong and have feelings of hatred towards.

The relationship you have with your mum is likely to be the most complicated, and potentially the most significant, adult relationship you have. It’s definitely worth trying to make it work, so here is our guide to surviving your Mum:

1.   Remember she's just a woman. She isn't magic and all knowing. She didn't have to pass a test to become a mother and she doesn't have all the answers. She is a person just like you, but with a few more years life experience. You f**k up and lie and make mistakes and say things you don't mean and she does too. Realising this is the first step to forging your new adult relationship with her.

2.   Don't compare her to your mate's mum. Firstly, all may not be as it seems. Laid back super cool Mums who let their daughter's do whatever they want are often resented later in life for not laying down boundaries or rules. Your Mum might seem boring and strict but your mate could be secretly wishing her Mum would take a leaf out of your Mum's book. There's no point resenting your Mum for not being someone else. She probably isn't going to change so focus on the good things and work from there.

3.   Communicate. Lack of communication is a massive factor when it comes to poor mother daughter relations. You think your Mum should instinctively get what you are thinking but that's a pretty big ask. Be calm and clear. If you think she is speaking to you like a child, just let her know gently that you are older now and can handle being spoken to like an adult.

4.   Balance individuality and closeness. You are forging a new identity which might be similar or very different to your mother's. To become your own person you don't have to cut off from her entirely, but at the same time, you might have to a little. Getting this balance right is a challenge but a necessary step.

5.   Put yourself in her shoes. Your Mum was born and raised in another generation which had different family dynamics and issues. She is probably trying to do the best she can, even if it doesn't seem like it. Try and compromise and give her the benefit of the doubt. Your growing up is weird for her, so give her a chance to get used to it.

6.   Don't say things you can't take back.  We'll often say things to our Mums in a fight that we wouldn't dream of saying to a mate, teacher or other family member. Because we know she loves us unconditionally we think we can push that to any degree. Yes, she will love you whatever, but those words might do damage that will last a long time. If you are really angry, try to just walk away.

These are just our thoughts about mums, and they may not ring true for you. If you’d like to add your thoughts to the article, please do send us a comment! 

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