In a way, Mother’s Day is a practical way to implement one of the Ten Commandments, “Honor your father and your mother.”
Motherhood is meant to be a beautiful thing, and Mother’s Day is a holiday to celebrate the ideals of motherhood. These ideals can be intimidating, for even the best mothers have their failed moments.
Both my wife and I were blessed with good mothers. But what makes a good mother? There are many possible measuring sticks. Psychologist Stephan Poulter takes an interesting approach, as documented in an article from psychologies.co.uk. Dr. Poulter sees five types of mothers.
The perfectionist mother: “Typically, an over-controlling, fearful and anxious woman for whom appearance is everything. Her children tend to be hypercritical of themselves, feeling inadequate and emotionally empty ...”
I read somewhere that a perfectionist is someone who takes infinite pains and gives them to others. Children grow up feeling they always miss the mark, because the bar is constantly raised higher. Compliments become land mines with hidden exhortations to do even better.
The unpredictable mother: “Anxious, angry, excessively emotional, she is overwhelmed by feelings so her parenting style is based purely on mood. This type has the most chaotic of the five styles. She creates problems, issues and crises ...”
Sometimes the unpredictable mother has a diagnosed (or undiagnosed) condition (bi-polar, borderline personality disorder, etc.). In other instances, she is driven by her feelings; rather than follow wisdom despite her feelings, she follows her feelings despite wisdom! Following your “heart” may work for “Star Wars,” but sense and stability work better in real life.
The “best friend” mother: “She enjoys treating her children as equals in order to avoid the responsibility of setting boundaries. This mother believes her life would be over if she embraced motherhood so avoids that role. Instead, both child and parent assume the role of emotional confidante and partner, leaving the child effectively motherless ...”