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A note before we start: If you and your mom have a rocky relationship, that’s okay! Moms also make mistakes. This Mother’s Day, you can take the opportunity to reflect on other women who have impacted your life for good. You also may ponder how you might learn from others’ mistakes to enact positive change in your life and in the lives of others, including your own children.

Because of their unique contributions in the lives of their children, mothers are undeniably important for the functioning of individuals, families, society, and the world as a whole. As Mother’s Day approaches, we wanted to take a little time to explore how moms shape the lives of their children, and give you a few ideas for how you might honor the moms in your life this year.

Moms Are First Loves

Moms who develop strong, healthy bonds with their babies teach their little ones that they are worthy of love and acceptance, that they are safe in connection with others, and that they can trust others around them. 

While children can and do develop strong attachment bonds to a variety of caregivers as they grow and develop, there is something unique about the bond between mother and child. More often than not, mothers serve as the primary attachment figure for their infants, which means the quality of that relationship will strongly impact a child’s future relationships. Anxious or avoidant mother-child attachments can lead children to experience difficulty with forming close relationships as they grow. On the other hand, moms who develop strong, healthy bonds with their babies teach their little ones that they are worthy of love and acceptance, that they are safe in connection with others, and that they can trust others around them. 

Mom Tip: Attachments are developed over time and you do NOT have to be a perfect, 100%-always-responsive mom in order to form a secure attachment with your child. Remember that it’s more about developing consistent patterns in your parenting rather than never making mistakes or needing a break! And don’t forget that it’s never too late to make positive changes.

Moms Are Models

From the time that we are born, we are constantly learning through observation—looking to others to teach us the appropriate ways to respond to our environment. One of the most important figures for this “monkey see, monkey do” method of learning is our moms! Moms act as crucial models for their children, providing them with roadmaps for how to build relationships with others, how to learn, how to manage big emotions, how to work hard, how to respond to challenges and failure, and so much more. 

Mom Tip: One of the most important skills moms can model for their children is emotional regulation. Motherhood can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it comes to helping kids deal with their big feelings. As you practice self-soothing and work to manage your frustration in healthy, conscious ways, your children will learn how to do the same.  

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Moms Are More…

Moms play many different roles, and are constantly learning, growing, and adapting alongside their children. As mothers work to develop themselves, both in ways related to motherhood and in ways that reflect the other parts of who they are, they open their children’s eyes to all of the things that they can become in this life. This personal development helps children to see that, just like their mom, they too can become anything!

Mom Tip: Mothers give a lot to their children, but that does not mean you have to sacrifice everything you are for motherhood. It’s important to find a balance between taking care of and focusing on your children and their development, and taking care of and continuing to develop yourself. Create time and space to nurture yourself and continue with goals, hobbies, and interests that are important to you.

Giving Back to Mom

Mother’s Day is a great time to think about how your mom has impacted your life. In what ways did she shape who you are today? Here are a few ideas for how you can celebrate your mom this Mother’s Day:

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  • Write her a love letter: Describe specific ways your mom has shaped your life for good. Has she loved you unconditionally? Was she a particularly good teacher? Did she show you through her actions how to value and treat yourself? Tell her about it!
  • Take a trip down memory lane: Put together a slideshow, scrapbook, or photo album displaying some of your favorite memories with your mom.
  • Spend time together doing something she enjoys: Whether it’s hiking, gardening, baking, shooting hoops, painting, watching a movie, or just laughing together, you won’t regret giving your mom the gift of time!
  • Organize a spa day at home: Treat your mom to a relaxing spa day experience from the comfort of her own home! Set up a cozy area with candles, soothing music, and luxurious bath products. Offer to give her a massage, paint her nails, or simply pamper her with some self-care treatments.
  • Host a virtual celebration: Just because you don’t live near your mom doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate together! Plan a video call where you can play games, swap stories, and express love and gratitude for your mom. Feel free to involve other members of your family as well.

Sending lots of love to all of you moms and mother-figures out there! Thank you for shaping the world as you work to love, protect, provide for, teach, and nurture the next generation. You matter! Happy Mother’s Day!

Learn more about HRC’s free healthy relationship workshops at r3academy.org.