How to Make Peace With Your Mother

publication date: Jun 19, 2017
author/source: Angelena Boden

The Future Can't WaitLet’s be honest, no matter how well we get on with our mother now we’re adults, a bit of healthy rebellion is inevitable. We have our own ways of doing things and shock horror, she doesn’t agree. My mum did a lot of tutting when she came to my house and started conversations with "Can I say something…?" I wish she were here now to “say something".

Now that’s mild compared to some of the all-out wars I hear about from mothers and daughters which have led to drastic actions such as moving across the country or even estrangement. I know it’s a cliché to say our mothers won’t be around for ever but every so often we need reminding of that. The life-changing events that are happening around the world tell me that above everything we need peace.

My daughters have fallen out with me for long periods of time over the past few years. It’s been upsetting for everyone. They got together to decide it was time to put things right and make peace with me. I would like to share their thoughts on it.

  • Your mother is human not Wonder Woman. She makes mistakes like you. Accept that and forgive. You’d want your own children to do that wouldn’t you? Forgiveness is a healing act.
  • Start by sending a card with a personal note. Hope you’re ok Mum. Thinking of you today. Enclose a recent photograph. My daughters made their cards and sent them every week until one day I returned the favour.
  • Stay away from controversial subjects. Is it worth arguing with your mother over Brexit? Really? Do something together instead. My daughter took me to Bath for a spa day. We were busy and agreed not to talk about the past for that time. In return I took her out for a picnic to a place we used to speak French to prepare for A level. We laughed so much about… I can’t remember but it was a good feeling.
  • Everybody needs to control their tongue. If things get heated, cool it. When you’re rebuilding a relationship let stuff go, at least for now. Pick your battles.
  • Say sorry even if you think you are not in the wrong. "Sorry that we’ve reached this point," said my daughter, "but happy we can move things on."
  • Avoid rehashing old arguments. If things get heated, suddenly remember you have something to do.
  • Try to keep a sense of perspective. Humour is great for healing providing it doesn’t dissolve into sarcasm.

Be kind. Being a peace-maker is hard work and results don’t come immediately. It took my daughter and me two years to build trust in our relationship but it was worth it. Accept responsibility for your actions and it becomes easier and that means not exploding when your mother moves your tins around. Let it go!

Angelena Boden's new book, The Future Can't Wait tackles the breakdown of a mother and daughter relationship within a cross cultural context. It is published by Urbane Publications and is out in September 2017.

About Angelena Boden.