NOT Picture Perfect

It’s been raining a lot here in NYC. Well, what feels like a lot, anyway, considering it’s May and not April. I am so ready for spring flowers and sunshine. I mean my expectation is that APRIL showers bring MAY flowers. Just goes to show what expectations will get you.

Know what’s a doozy for expectation let-downs? Mother’s Day, which was this week. Mother’s Day is one of the many holidays that offer ripe opportunities for working on clear communication and expectation management. For moms, getting super clear on what would feel like a great day is a key first step. Then kindly communicating this to your loved ones is a great way to set yourself up for a successful chance to be well-celebrated. Really, this kind of thoughtful planning is key for any holiday. I am firmly in the camp of not relying on others’ mind-reading powers so I can have what I want. Are you with me?

But Mother’s Day isn’t just an expectation let-down, it’s also a trigger for so many.

I heard from so many friends, clients, and colleagues about the different ways Mother’s Day goes sideways for them. Me personally, I have spent many years dreading the approach of Mother’s Day, and then white-knuckling my way through it, trying to hold the tears back. So I get how tough it can be. For those of you who have complicated relationships with parents, whether they are still living or not, I’m with you. For those of you who have lost children, I am thinking of you. For those longing to become a parent, struggling with that journey or grieving that it won’t happen, you have my heart. And for those who struggle with complicated relationships with their children, you especially have my heart.

I know that Mother’s Day is pleasant and easy for many, and that is absolutely wonderful and lovely. But for so many of us, Mother’s Day–along with other holidays—is just plain tricky, painful, and frankly, shame-inducing on a lot of levels. Please know that you are seen, and that you are loved and understood.

And hey, NOT having a picture-perfect life? That actually makes you normal.

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