A Different Kind of Mothering

By on May 9, 2011

By Linda Menesez, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. –

Mother’s Day is always a challenging time for me. Year after year, I seem to wind up standing in front of the rows of Mother’s Day cards, struggling to find a card that will please my mother, while at the same time not feel false to me. Most cards are written to pay homage to the ideal image of a mother! Reality is often very different.

When I was a young teenager, I remember thinking that someday, when I had children, I would be the perfect mom. I daydreamed about always being there for them — no matter what! I promised myself that I would love and guide them day-by-day, throughout all their growing up years. They would never feel lonely, afraid, confused, or sad. These thoughts were so important to me; that was the kind of mother I longed for, but didn’t have.

fall scents for your home

When I was 12, and my younger brother was 10, our mom was hospitalized with what, at the time, was called a nervous breakdown. She was in and out of hospitals and treatment programs for a very long time. She was never a day-to-day part of our growing up after she was first hospitalized. This impacted my life in major ways, both at the time, and from then on.

Our mother was not a bad mother. She loved us very much. She just wasn’t strong enough to give us what we needed — what all children need.

As a result of this, I was always looking for “mother figures” throughout my growing up years, and beyond to guide me. I tried to emulate the strong, intelligent women that I met, but the effect was only surface deep.

Somewhere back in the recesses of my mind, I was wise enough to know that there was still a part of me that needed to finish “growing up!” I went through all the motions of being a “grown-up,” but it wasn’t until I was in my late 40’s that I really began to focus on that wounded 12 yr. old. That was the part of me that had desperately tried to fill an adult’s shoes at much too young an age.

My deeper growth started to happen when I met Eva. She is, and, I believe, always has been, the most amazing person! She’s a wonderful therapist, but she’s also a woman of great strength, wisdom, and integrity. Although Eva’s life has many times been very difficult, she has continued to walk forward with faith and enthusiasm, valuing each day and each new experience. There’s an incredible loving energy about her for nature and all of mankind!

During the last few months of my internship for my Master’s Degree, I was lucky enough to have her enter my life. I was given her name by my supervisor, and told to call her. All of the students were required to have their own therapy before graduation. Little did I know on that first day of our meeting, what a profound effect she would have on me, both personally and professionally!

With her patient, therapeutic re-parenting, I was able to do a lot of healing of that 12 yr. old part of me. She was always there when I needed her. She was probably the first person that I allowed myself to really lean on in a very long time. Eva helped me to see that I didn’t have to always have the answers — I didn’t need to be perfect. She helped me understand that my needs were important, and that self-care is not selfish. I learned so many of life’s most important lessons from her – not just surface learning, but really taking them in at a very deep level.

It’s a different kind of mothering, but the results are no less important and life-changing! Because of her, I am able to be there for myself, my family, friends, clients, and others, in ways that I would not have been able to otherwise. Now, many years after our first meeting, I continue to be grateful to have received this different kind of mothering! I will forever feel blessed and thankful to have had Eva come into my life! Happy Mother’s Day, to all the Eva’s of the world, who are there for the “children” who need them!

Linda Menesez, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.: I’m a Santa Barbara counselor, helping busy people learn ways to lower their stress and improve their overall quality of life. I specialize in empowering women, who focus too much on the needs of others, to recognize the value of self-care and nurturing for better mind, body, and spirit wellness. Counseling in Santa Barbara, Website: http://www.counselinginsb.com/.

About Linda Menesez

Linda Menesez, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.: I’m a Santa Barbara counselor, helping busy people learn ways to lower their stress and improve their overall quality of life. I specialize in empowering women, who focus too much on the needs of others, to recognize the value of self-care and nurturing for better mind, body, and spirit wellness. Her website: http://www.counselinginsb.com/.

3 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

A Different Kind of Mothering