Life Intelligence: Mothers

“Life doesn’t come with a manual. It comes with a mother.” — Unknown

Some have mothers they can trust, adore, and look up to. Others, not so much. From a psychological point of view, the relationship with your mother will be the most important relationship you will ever have with another human being.

Many of your default preferences, how you relate to others, how you view yourself, how you fit in the world, your strengths, your weaknesses, your challenges, and your victories, you guessed it, your mother has something to do with all of it. To blame her, or to thank her, that is the question.

Instead of going into a heady discussion on child development, I offer you to take a sheet of paper and write down all the ways you are “like mom” or “opposite of mom.” On another sheet write down the things you like and dislike about yourself. Then compare the two. If you take me up on this short experiment, you will notice how you see yourself to be has been directly influenced by how much you want to be like mom or anti-mom.

I believe, the “child and mother” relationship is the most complex and challenging relationship to be had. Because of that, it affords you the most opportunities to grow - whether you never made mom happy, or learned how to always make her proud; whether you had an attentive, neglectful, or ambivalent mom; whether she drank, did drugs, hoarded, played favorites, complained, or allowed herself to be the victim of violence; whether she never missed a PT meeting, helped you pick your college, and watched over you like an angel. For better, or for worse, your mom is your mom. How you choose to relate to her and the experiences you’ve had is something you can consciously decide for yourself. You don’t have to love your mom. You don’t have to be friends with her. But grudges only make you suffer more.

This year on Mother’s Day, with the chocolates and flowers, consider slipping your mom a note with this one question you always wanted to ask. Consider telling her about this one time when… Sincerely, share something you’re grateful for. Be kind. Be curious. Be present. Remember, she birthed you in the middle of her own growing up, without a manual, and with her own set of unique challenges and circumstances. She may be your beginning, but she doesn’t have to be your future. Without her, you’d never be the person you are now and the person you could be. Celebrate on Mother’s Day.

Valentina Petrova is passionate about helping people sort themselves out and live awesome lives.  You can find her at


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