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Mothering your inner child

Posted 22 Mar '17 by Gill Wier

At this time of year I often pause to remember those who find Mother’s Day hard.  While adverts encourage us to buy cards and make meals for our mums and show pictures of happy families with 2.4 children, this is a long way from the reality for many who have had difficult or even abusive relationships with their mothers.  It is also a painful time for those whose mothers have recently died. I then think of those women who long to become mothers but due to infertility or health issues are unable to have children.

So I’ve been thinking about an alternative way to approach Mother’s Day – as an opportunity to nurture our inner child and develop ways to mother ourselves, to bring ourselves some comfort and encouragement.
Here are some of the things that a good mother does and that, as adults, we can learn to do for our inner child.

…Holds and comforts us when we’re upset – we may not have someone to physically hold us right now but we can allow ourselves time to cry and acknowledge painful feelings rather than denying them or rushing ourselves to feel upbeat again.  It may help to recall memories of being held by your mum or another loved one and trying to reconnect with the feeling of being safe.  Holding a teddy or cushion is one way to re-enact this.  You can imagine that the teddy or cushion is your younger self and you are choosing to comfort them.

…Enables us to play – play is a really important aspect of childhood that contributes significantly to a child’s development.  Even as adults we can benefit from play.  Allow yourself to spend some time doing something playful such as colouring or drawing, doing a jigsaw or building with lego.  This helps us engage with our creative side which can be healing and restorative.

…Feeds us with nourishing food – treating yourself to some special healthy food can be a good way to nurture yourself. Try making a new recipe from fresh ingredients, baking your favourite cake or preparing a fruit salad.  Take time to enjoy the process of making something for yourself that will be truly nourishing.

…Encourages us to develop our skills – is there something you’d love to have a go at but haven’t quite built up the courage yet?  Perhaps you could encourage yourself this Mother’s Day to take up a new interest or develop a new skill.  Is there something you didn’t get the chance to do as a child? For example learning to play a musical instrument or learning to ride a bike?  It’s never too late to encourage your inner child to develop new skills.