05/13/2010 11:03 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Mamma Mia!: Remembering My Mother

Conversation is a strange and wondrous vehicle. The other night my sweetie and I were sitting in our spots on the sofa and suddenly we found ourselves in conversation about the deaths of our mothers. We both visited joy and sadness in these few minutes, and we both felt better about our mothers at the end of our chat.

It got me thinking about mothers, and the dismay that much of my counseling clientele feels about their own progenitrix patterns.

In my practice alone, I have clients whose mothers are ...

  • Heroin addicts
  • Dead
  • Alive
  • Wonderful friends
  • Approval withholders
  • Affectionate
  • Alcoholic
  • Angry beyond measure
  • Sadder than sad
  • Even, anti-mothers.


So mothering is a rough role. Fallible human beings sign up to be mothers. People who have their own issues and problems are also mothers. Mothers are also, often, wives, daughters, aunts, nieces. It's not easy being a mother.

In thinking about how I treat "mother issues" with my clients, I realized that almost one hundred percent of the time, I recommend acceptance above all.

If you have mother issues, try to look at them with dispassion, as though the person you're perceiving isn't your mother, but a mother. A mother who is doing the best she can with what she has at all times. Cut her a little slack no matter how bad a mother she was to you.

I believe that we choose our mothers. The one I chose was a triple Virgo. She was perfect, or so she thought, and she never hesitated to impose her perfection on everyone and everything. I was an intuitive child who could see spirits. This did not fit into my extremely prim and proper mother's worldview.

Could it be argued that she was the wrong mother for me? Sure. Was she? I don't think so.

Instead, I think she gave me a solid grounding in propriety, in social behavior, in belonging to the world. Did I need this? At the time, I didn't think so, but my dear mother has been dead for 12 years and instead of excoriating her and her primness, I miss her like hell.

Mind you, I don't want to talk to her every day, but I want the option. Why? Because she was my mother. Because she became my friend. Because she was always, no matter how little she understood me, my champion.

If your mother was less than supportive as mine was at times, consider forgiveness. Not for her sake, but for your own. Mothers work hard to do the best they can. If their best isn't good enough, okay, but don't keep yourself in that judgment. Instead, love her, but love her from afar as you would a politician you have a hard time loving.

When you get to wherever it is we go after death, be prepared to ask her a few questions. Or, even better, conjure her up and ask her now. If she's dead, she'll know a lot more about what she did and why she did it.

I titled this post "Mamma mia!" because no matter what, the woman that is/was your mother is or was your mother. That's enough reason to bless her no matter her faults.

For spiritual nourishment, visit Dr. Susan Corso's website and blog, Seeds for Sanctuary. Follow her on Twitter @PeaceCorso and Friend her on Facebook.