Oct 262019 1 Response

If Momma Ain’t Happy…You Still Should Be

Why does Momma get to control everyone’s feelings? Who put her in charge of how I feel? Why is Momma’s happiness a prerequisite for my well being? What if Momma ain’t the type of person who can ever be happy, is the whole family destined to a life of despair?

The old saying is “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” In some cases, it’s a good reminder. It should encourage:

  • teenagers to follow the house rules
  • husbands to place their wives above their children
  • adult children to prioritize time with aging parents
  • no one to take mom for granted

In some ways, the statement has some general truth. In other ways, it is horrifically misleading. My emotional well-being should never be delegated to another person. I should never be so co-dependent that I allow someone else, even my mother, to dictate how I feel.

Moms Are Important

No one should deny the value of moms. They play a central role in our lives. When a mom isn’t present, there are unavoidable consequences in the lives of children and families. When a matriarch dies, there is tremendous grief for all involved. (See: My Wife Before My Mother)

Far too often in our society, moms are overlooked, overworked, and underappreciated. It would do us all some good to remind ourselves to love our moms no matter our age or theirs. A happy mom does often lead to a far happier home.

Moms Are Not God

While moms are important, we should never overstate their role. Moms are not God. They aren’t all-powerful, perfect, or even all-loving (although they are often as close to all-loving as any human can be). Instead, they are fallible human beings like everyone else. As such, they can make mistakes, have wrong opinions, and take wrong actions. They can experience depression, anxiety, and general sadness.

Moms are not perfect. We shouldn’t expect them to be.

Because they aren’t perfect, we shouldn’t give them ultimate control of our lives. It would actually be a disservice to them if we allowed them to dictate our emotions.

Even If Momma Ain’t Happy

While husbands and children can influence the emotional state of moms, we cannot make them happy. Only they can ultimately make the choices for their own happiness. Whether they are happy or not, we should control our emotions, attitudes, and actions to such an extent that our emotional well-being is determined by us and not them.

If Momma ain’t happy, we still should be.

One of the best things we can do for our mothers is to live the best lives we possibly can. As adult children, we can model for our mothers self-control, wise decision making, and emotional health. Through personal reflection, study, and professional help we can grow, heal, and mature to a point where we control our own lives. (See: What Every Wife Deserves)

This will put us in the best place possible in order to help our mothers if they desire to get help. We should not, however, allow their negative attitudes or actions to impact our outlook on life.

If Momma Ain’t Happy

Here are some things you can do if Momma ain’t happy:

Check yourself to see if you are doing anything wrong or inappropriate. If you are, identify it, apologize for it, and change your actions.

Have empathy for your mother, but don’t try to make her happy. It would be a useless pursuit to try to do something which is impossible to do.

Take control of your life and make the right choices which will most likely lead to happiness.

Get professional help if your mother’s unhappiness is having a negative impact on your life.

Set boundaries in order to have the best relationship possible. Sometimes certain topics can’t be discussed between parents and adult children. It’s unfortunate, but if that’s what it takes then accept it. (See: Never Let Someone Else’s Hurt Define Your Heart)

Honor your mother in whatever way possible. While we are never called to allow our moms to run our lives, we are called to honor them to the best of our ability. For some this is easy, for others it might be more difficult. Determine what is the best way to honor her.

Healthy Families

Most people understand that it is unhealthy for families to be hostile, cold or estranged. We could easily identify an unhealthy family if they never talk to each other or always fight with one another. Yet what is often missed is that unhealthiness can express itself in another way. When a family is overly enmeshed and all the members’ emotional states are determined by one person, that family is not healthy. It might look like a loving and connected group of people, but in reality, they are overly connected and have lost their individual selves.

A healthy family is both unified as a group, but also distinguishable as individuals. Me and we must both be fully present for a family to be healthy. When Momma (or any one individual) determines the whole, that is not healthy. (See: You Hurt My Feelings)

I want my mom to be happy. I want my wife to be happy. But I can’t make either of them happy. I can add to their lives, but I can’t dictate their well-being. All I can do is to pursue my own sense of emotional health and hope they do the same.

One Response to If Momma Ain’t Happy…You Still Should Be
  1. Carl S. Reply

    This saying was engraved on a small plaque in my future in-laws house when I was dating my wife. In addition, the saying went on, “if Daddy’s not happy, who cares?” How was I to know what a prophetic little plaque that was? It truly reflected the attitude that my wife was raised with and which she adopted. It basically gave tacit approval to pride and selfishness. It is a battle fought for over 25 years with no armistice in sight.

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