Relationships

Filling The Mothervoid: What To Do If Your Mom Isn’t There For You

By Keelia Clarkson
·  6 min read
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There’s nothing quite like a mother’s love, comfort, and presence. So what do we do when our mother isn’t in our life anymore?

Mothers hold a unique, significant place in our hearts. Whether our mom was our biological mother or our adoptive mother, the woman who raised us inevitably has a strong influence on our life, who we are, and who we become. There is nothing in the world like a mother’s presence in her child’s life.

This is what makes a mother’s absence, for those who don’t have a mother in their life, particularly painful; it isn’t natural to us to not have a maternal figure whom we can rely on to always answer her phone, seek advice from, and be encouraged by when we get down.

Whether we’ve lost our mother due to a sickness or tragedy, or have a difficult relationship with our mother that necessitates zero contact, or never truly had someone we could call our mother, we’ll feel that void in our life – because this ultimately isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

And our innate desire for a mother in our life doesn’t just disappear, no matter how long it’s been since we’ve had one or how used we are to functioning without one. So what can we do when we feel the mothervoid? How can we move forward with getting that void filled?

First, Be Honest with Yourself About What You’re Feeling

For those who grew up with a toxic mother especially, it can be difficult to even acknowledge that we still want a mom. The idea of moms has been tainted and tarnished, leaving us with a hard feeling toward the notion of a mother.

And for those who’ve lost their mother, it’s painful to imagine seeing another woman in what would’ve been her role; it’s hard to feel like we’re moving on and finding her a replacement.

But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t wish we had a mother figure in our life – acknowledging this desire doesn’t negate the real difficulties of our relationship with our mother, or if we’ve lost our mother, it doesn’t mean she’s being replaced. 

It’s not natural to us to not have a maternal figure whom we can rely on. 

It’s important that we can be honest with ourselves about our natural desire for a mother in our life, understanding the significance of having such a figure, rather than shaming ourselves for what we think we should want instead.

Be Ready for Things To Take Time

Acknowledging our very real, normal desire to have a mother is our first step. And this can feel difficult enough, so difficult that we just wish we could snap our fingers and have the perfect “mom” in front of us, calling us, hugging us. But we have to understand that finding a figure like this may take some patience and dedication.

We can’t leap at the first opportunity we’re given to have a mentor/mother in our life – doing this can easily set us up for disappointment, confusion, and heartache. Because this is a significant role in a person’s life, we won’t immediately come across someone we can trust to fill it.

Know What Kind of Qualities You’re Looking For

Just as when we’re searching for the guy we’re going to marry or the girl we’re going to befriend, when we’re searching for that maternal mentor, we’ll need a clear understanding of what exactly we’re looking for in this figure – what kind of qualities, temperament, and influence we feel we need more of in our life.

Are we looking for someone to give us encouragement through soft, kind words, or through tough, strong ones? Do we wish we had someone who could speak into the current, unique challenges we’re facing, or someone who could offer us a vision of what our future could be? Do we want someone we can spend quality time with, or someone who will offer us practical advice where we need it? It’s helpful to know what exactly we feel like we’re missing as we search for a mentor/mother.

Adopt a “Mom” Figure

Maybe we have an aunt we can reach out to, or a friend’s mom that we realize has always been there for us, or a woman at our church group who seems to have a soft spot for us. Or maybe we haven’t yet met a woman that we feel we could look to as a mother. At this point, we can open our mind up to possibilities, just as we would when we’re dating.

Look to the older women in your life: aunts or grandmothers, your friends’ moms, ladies at church.

We could try joining a book club, a spin class, getting involved with our place of worship, or taking a night course at a local community college (it’s not uncommon to see individuals well past their college-aged years at a community college). This offers us the opportunity to meet women who could become friends or more of a mentor. Either way, we’re filling our life with good relationships.

Let Yourself Be Nurtured by Those You’ll Never Meet Too

We shouldn’t limit the positive influences in our life to those that are in the flesh; instead, we can look beyond the people we come across in our everyday life and look to those we might never meet in person to act as mentors and mothers.

We can fill our mothervoid with authors who write so authentically that we feel we know them, with podcasters that we feel like we’re friends with, or even with fictional characters that we admire and connect with. While having a physical person in our presence is always a gift, we don’t have to wait until that happens to be mentored and mothered by wonderful, admirable women.

Closing Thoughts

The loss of a mother, whether by death or by going zero-contact, is heartbreaking – this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. But we can attempt to fill this motherly role in our life by intentionally seeking out women who will help us grow, encourage us, and love us.

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