Holiday, Relationships

Building a Grown-up Relationship with Your Mom: Pt 1

grandparent love

My sweet mom and dad spent four days with us last month. It was their “victory tour.” My dad was diagnosed with leukemia 7 months ago. After specialized treatment, he is declared in remission!  Happy, happy!

And, I enjoyed them more this time than ever before. Leukemia has changed us all.

But, you know how it can be with your parents, right? Even as an grown-up child.

Especially as a grown-up child.

Especially, possibly, probably, with your own grown-up mother.

I love my mother. She is kind, thoughtful, wise, involved, and such fun! She loves to talk, is very interested in all I’m interested in, and willing to help however I need.

mom in charleston
2013: Charleston – her first ever visit to that beautiful city!

But – just putting it out there – a natural tension can arise as two grown-up women morph from what used to be to what is possible in the world of grown-up relationships. Things like:

  • As a grown-up daughter, you don’t want to feel their pity for the difficult things you have to manage. It makes you feel weak.
  • As a grown-up daughter, you don’t need their unsolicited advice. It comes across as criticism.
  • As a grown-up daughter, you don’t need another helping of green beans!! You’ve been in charge of your own eating for years now and doing just fine.

I do get it. I’ll be there one day too. A mother of 3 Man-Sons.

boys in mustache

I can only imagine how hard it is to grow WITH your child as they grow into an adult. But I have found that

growing your relationship WITH your growing child

could be one of THE MOST emphasized components for a continuing long-term healthy relationship.

As a grown-up daughter, there’s often that prickly inside feeling fighting inside me, verging on irritation and insecurity. The tension of realizing a few things:

  • Who they are is who I used to be.
  • Their normal is no longer my normal.
  • I have my own way of doing things: folding clothes, loading the dishwasher, where to put my shoes.

These inner irritations have the capacity to erupt in snappy, snarky, comments, conversations, or withdrawals if confronted, challenged, or judged.

But on this visit with my parents,  I didn’t participate in an internal wrestling between who I used to be and who I am now.

I was internally calm.

I was fully present in the moment and enjoyed our time together.

And, I contributed to making authentically happy memories.

As they drove away, I pondered,

“What made the difference for me? Why is this time different from the others?”

The answer in one word is:

grace on mother's day

1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.”

God’s grace is the soothing truth to heal, change, and reposition our filter holding us strong no matter how healthy or crazy your own mamma is.

Building a grown-up relationship with your mom (or anyone for that matter) begins with accepting that your relationship can only grow to the extent that we each let it.

  • You may be dealing with a crazy  mamma, so know that her crazy is the cap to the potential healthiness of your relationship.  You will forever be disappointed if you have this fanciful hope of a Beaver Cleaver uniting with your mom when she may just not have the capacity to reach it.
  • Or, you could be the crazy one and the same limitations apply.

But in our efforts to be responsible for our own interactions, this is what grace can look like as you attempt to make your relationship the best they can be. Two things (one today and one tomorrow):

1. I am what I am by God’s grace over me.

It’s not…

I am what I am by what my mom thinks about me.

It’s not…

I am what I am by how she compliments me.

It’s not…

I am what I am by how interested she is about the stuff going on in my life.

Through grace, I realize that my mom (or, for you, “that person”) is no longer the mirror of my significance. Who she says I am is not who I am.

Caterina Appia via Compfight

When we were itty bitty, our mothers were the first ones in establishing our self-worth.  But as we become a grown-up, we learn to root our existence in who God is and His love for us.

But for many, that is a difficult switch.  Our mothers can have a very strong hold on who we see ourselves to be. Some are even held in extreme unhealthiness.

As a grown-up child, it is now time to redirect where you find your value if you haven’t already. I am learning to embrace that I am what I  am – big nose, genetic propensity for under-eye circles, muffin top belly, die-hard introvert – by God’s love and favor for me.

That’s who I am.

That’s who you are too, my friend.

1 Corinthians 15:10I am what I am by God’s grace over me.

In those moments when you feel the tension ignite, open up to the One who tells you the truth about who you are through no broken filter.

You are loved deeply, completely, utterly, graciously by your Perfect Father.

By believing God’s grace for yourself , you open up grace to flow into all your relationships especially to your grown-up relationship with your mother on this Mother’s Day.


Join me tomorrow as we uncover the 2nd truth to building a grown-up relationship with your mom!

8 thoughts on “Building a Grown-up Relationship with Your Mom: Pt 1

  1. That is great! You pinpointed the big issue for me in my grown-up relationship with my mom – identity/value – and the wise answer to that: the grace of God alone defining us. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, so it’s very timely encouragement.

    1. Amen, sista! Love how grace feathers into so many life-changing applications. love and grace to you!

  2. Amy Ruth, you are truly a wise and beautiful woman. I am learning so much through your mature and grace filled insights. Thank you. I love you. Mom

    1. Mom, I’m so thankful that we’ve dialogued through all this along the way. So grateful to have a brave, confident, healthy mom to grow with. Love you dearly!

  3. Amy….love your heart and words of truth! Love learning God’s truth through your blog and writings. Thank you for being so bold to speak out and help moms and daughters to have “grace” in their relationships. Sometimes we stand by and the years pass us by when we can be living in “His Grace” at this very moment in our relationships! Jan

    1. JAN!!! Thank you! Love you so much and the grace you gift so many. Honestly, I so appreciate the tension that comes in this grace journey because it directs us to deal with the heart of the matter. And honestly working through the tense and hard things brings FREEDOM! And the sweetness to be free. Love you much!

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