Practice Makes “Perfect?”

PerfectWorking on changing a less than perfect mother-daughter relationship sure isn’t easy. After all, you’re dealing with another human being here and your history together is long and winding. I, myself, have found that there’s a lot of progress, then back-sliding, then some progress again. I spend a lot of time talking to myself, too, reminding myself of some of the strategies that have worked for me in the past, or that I vowed to try again in the future.

So, the other night I had a chance to put one of these strategies I had in the back of my memory to work once again. I had had a stressful day, lots going on, hormones raging, whatever. During my daily phone call with my mom, I found myself getting irritable, short and impatient. I snapped at her numerous times. She wasn’t really doing anything wrong, other than maybe just being herself…she certainly wasn’t purposely trying to antagonize me or anything. But I just felt myself getting more and more annoyed with her, feeling like she wasn’t listening to me, or was telling me what to do. Other times, she might have snapped back at me and a full blown argument would ensue, but, for some reason, that didn’t happen this time. She just hung in there and didn’t retaliate. We finally ended the call.

But then I felt badly…ok, maybe even a little guilty. I tried to let it go, but then I started to think about all those tips we put on the website…I tried to see my mother as a person with her own challenges and feelings; I tried to think of the good things about our relationship; I realized that our time left together is short; that life is short; that some small things just don’t matter, but the big things do, etc., etc.

And I picked up the phone and called her back. “I felt that I was irritable and impatient with you on the phone earlier…I’m not sure why…and I just wanted to apologize.” I think that was just about the greatest gift I could have given my mom. She was so appreciative that I had called back and said that. And I felt so good about acknowledging my errant behavior and making amends. Hmmm…this wasn’t so hard after all. Maybe practice really does make “perfect”…or at least better. Homepage

One response on “Practice Makes “Perfect?”

  1. Anonymous

    So I thought I would share this with you, as my mother also drove me crazy all the time, though no intention of her own. I hated that she told me what to do all the time. It was obviously her issue, and not until I’ve had my own kids have I realized that there are two sides to all these stories. So one evening I was visiting and I sat down at the kitchen table. There was a fruit bowl on it. She said, “Have a pear.” I could feel my skin bubbling and how irritable I was getting. And then it hit me. All she said was ‘have a paer.” It was a suggestion, an offer, there was no malevolence intended, and the appropriate answer was either, “thanks, I think I will,” or “No thanks, I’m not hungry right now.” I think that was my first real insight into the idea that my irritability wasn’t simply a justified response. BTW, I hear our moms are related.

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