By Sheri McGregor, M.A.
Mothers of estranged adult children are gearing up for a day they’ll be down. They’re making travel plans and deciding what they’ll do to cope in the commercialized climate leading to the first Sunday in May. Generally, mothers of estranged adult children are dreading what, to them, has become the mother of all bad days.
It’s wise to plan, consider sights or events that will make you sad, and devise ways to handle those. Otherwise, triggers can open like trap doors and send you spiraling into the pit of despair. So, while you’re deciding how to stay busy, entertained, or distracted, consider another idea: cancelling Mother’s Day altogether.
May: The Month of Creative Beginnings
Each time a mother adopted, took on a step-kid, or birthed a baby was a new beginning. Motherhood is all about that, so I was excited to discover that May is the official month of creative beginnings. I love the idea of a whole month dedicated to creative starts! Might as well cancel Mother’s Day and grasp that idea instead. What will you do to celebrate the month of creative beginnings? Let’s consider a few ideas.
I recently heard from a 70-year-old woman who had started horseback riding lessons. Her creative beginning is less about the lessons and more about her decision to nurture and bring to fruition a dream of her own. In the past, her life was more about doing for those around her than doing for herself. Trying something new for her own benefit was last on her list. Now, she gets to choose.
Maybe you don’t want to get up on a horse, but in this May month of creative beginnings, at least hop into the proverbial saddle. What does a “creative beginning” mean to you?
For some, this will mean a new hobby, redecorating, or changing the way they eat. For others, a creative new beginning will have more global or personal implications. Putting themselves first for instance. Or deciding to stop (or start) coloring their hair. Is there a spiritual inclination that’s been calling? Now there’s time.
Maybe you can relate to the idea of finally embracing some part of your body you’ve seen as a flaw. That’s me in the photo a couple of years ago when I decided to embrace my upper arms (and actually took a blurry selfie on a bad hair day to commemorate the decision!). My mother always hated her arms and kept them covered. As I grew older, I adopted her attitude—until I didn’t. Hating a part of myself was limiting and unfair. My arms have held people close, pushed things away, and generally served me well. I kind of like the way they look now. If someone else doesn’t, they can look away! And they’ll have to, because my summer wardrobe is sleeveless.
Mothers of estranged adult children: Say “yes” to yourself
Your creative new beginning could have to do with your outlook, how you take care of yourself, or something you finally say “no” to. Any of these are a “yes” to yourself. What will you do to celebrate May, the month of creative new beginnings? Give this a little thought, choose something valuable to you, give “birth” to whatever you want, and then nurture it as something worthy of a mother’s love.
Keep at it
Like most change, creative new beginnings can require work. I still sometimes pull on a tank top, look in the mirror, and think my arms are like faces only a mother could love. But I remind myself that hating my arms doesn’t change them. It’d be better to exercise them than hide them away. Besides, my feelings about them are irrational and inherited—like a lot of the things that imprison us.
It’s the same with Mother’s Day and the idealism we’re bombarded with about the perfect mother, family, and how to celebrate. We’ve learned these things at the mother’s knee of society, but that doesn’t mean we have to hold them close forever.
To let go of ideas that hurt us and work at creative new beginnings takes time and requires some dedication. In this month of creative beginnings, I hope you will commit to try. Choose at least one thing and get started. It’s a creative beginning!
If you’re drawing a blank, I’d like to help. The following links are to books that might get you started (they’re affiliate links, meaning that RejectedParents.net will get a tiny commission to help fund this website if you purchase any through these links). Even without buying, just reading the write-ups could be a spring board for your your own ideas for creative beginnings. Have a look, and then return here to read on and share your thoughts.
- It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again: Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond (Artist’s Way) by Julia Cameron provides a process to make the most of yourself at this time of life.
- Bread Baking for Beginners: The Essential Guide to Baking Kneaded Breads, No-Knead Breads, and Enriched Breads by Bonnie Ohara offers easy get-started facts and recipes. Who knows? Try this hobby and you might find ties to your own resilience like I did and shared in this article, Kneaded: Resilience illustrated for parents of estranged adult children.
- Uprooted: A Gardener Reflects on Beginning Again by Page Dickey is one for the gardeners that’s on my to-be-read list. If you know it or get it, I hope you’ll share your thoughts.
I could probably share a zillion books on everything from trying your hand at ceramics to learning to raise goats. You know what appeals to you, so I’ll keep the list to these three, plus my own book, Done With The Crying, which mothers of estranged adult children (also dads) say has helped them make a turnaround for the better.
What’s your creative beginning?
Give this some thought and share your creative beginning by leaving a reply. Your enthusiasm will encourage other mothers of estranged adult children (dads too). If you come across this article later, no worries. May is the official month of creative beginnings, but new starts can happen all year long. Share now or share later. I’d love to hear about your creative beginning, so don’t be mum about it. Leave a reply.