My relationship with my mum isn’t the best.

Growing up, I didn’t feel particularly safe about sharing everything in my life with my mum.

She isn’t exactly the kind who would be very expressive or encouraging with her words.

Instead, care and concern are often expressed through discipline or scolding.

I’ve also had experiences of hearing her gossiping about me to my relatives.

Complaining that I lashed out at her recently, exposing my bad habits at home, suspecting whether I had gotten into a relationship because I didn’t seem to perform as well in my studies…

I didn’t have the confidence that she would keep my secrets and protect me if I shared my deeper and more vulnerable thoughts with her. Nor did I trust that she would understand me.

So as I grew older, she wasn’t exactly the person I would turn to when I go through tough things in life. I would often talk to church leaders or friends whom I trust instead.

It also didn’t help that I came to Singapore to study when I was 16. That further widened the gap in our relationship, especially now that we are literally very far apart.

Gradually, my friends and church community become the people that I would turn to if I need help in life. And my interactions with my mum became more and more limited.

We often don’t have much to talk about, since I didn’t see a strong need to let her know what is going on in my life as I confide in other people I trust.

I also started to feel that the more we interact, the more we would clash and fight.

We often trigger one another, since we are both very emotional and sensitive people. If one of us raises our voice, the other person would probably sense it and react revengefully, and often explosively.

When I spend my holidays at home, we could fight and stop talking to each other for days, over something as small as an unfinished fruit in the fridge.

All these factors made me doubt if I could ever have a good relationship with my mum.

It felt as if we had to keep our distance in order to avoid triggering one another.

Staying distant seemed like the best thing to do in order to protect our relationship.

It felt as if we had to keep our distance in order to avoid triggering one another.

But that didn’t work either.

As the distance in our relationship grew, the distrust grew as well.

She started to monitor my social media accounts since I stopped telling her things in my life.

She would often try to find out who I am hanging out with, to the point that she could recognise my friends from the pictures I post even though she doesn’t know who they are exactly.

She would also check my bank statements, to see if I have started dating and doing things like bringing a girl to a cinema or a restaurant.

I couldn’t exactly say no even though I knew that she was doing all these things, because these were her ways of caring and looking out for me.

But I didn’t feel happy about them either. It felt like she was micromanaging me. And I didn’t feel trusted with how I want to live my life.

Recognising the blessings in our lives

There isn’t exactly a turning point where something amazing happened in our relationship and we became super close.

Instead, it was more of a gradual shift as I matured in church and grew in terms of my perspective of myself and also my mum.

One thing I realised, is that I often get upset at my mum because I felt that she owed it to me, to love me. 

If her way of caring for me didn’t match what I wanted or hoped for, I viewed it as her fault since.

She should know how to do better. God has placed me in this family; as my mum, she is responsible to take care of me and make me feel loved and nurtured right? That was what I thought.

As I matured, I realised how entitled and problematic my perspective of family could be.

I enjoy and cherish friendships because I’m thankful that God has blessed me with these people and shown me His love through them.

But for some of us, it’s not quite the same for our parents. It may seem like friends are found but parents are given, and yet, if we think about God’s sovereignty, we would know that both are from Him.

God, in His sovereignty, has placed us in the family that we are in. This is how He has decided to bless us and show His love to us.

Have we taken our parents’ effort to love us for granted, simply because they are “bound” to do so?

If we can begin to recognise our parents as blessings from God, then we can be grateful for their love even if the expressions or actions of it don’t match up to what we hope for.

Imperfect mum, imperfect son

The truth is, as much as my mum is imperfect, I am imperfect too.

It is easy to think about what my mum hasn’t done for me or what she has done wrong. Harder still, is it to evaluate myself as a son.

I make mistakes too. I get annoyed when she reminds me to drink more water. I’ve lied to my mum to avoid her nagging.

The truth is, I don’t appreciate her enough for what she has done for me.



“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

If we stop to take stock of our own imperfections, perhaps we would be less upset about the fact that our parents can’t love us perfectly.

And perhaps the reason why we are often the ones getting upset is not because we are “better”, but simply because our parents are actually the ones who are better at accepting our imperfections and forgiving us.

We are all sinners and we all make mistakes. Just as our parents have always shown acceptance and forgiveness towards us, can we also learn to forgive them and trust their hearts even if their actions may disappoint us?

Honour, not change, your parents

I also realised that my frustration towards my mum is often driven by a desire to change her.

She is so old-fashioned. Her way of thinking is so outdated. She doesn’t understand me. But why won’t she change? Why is she so stubborn?

However, as I reflect on Scripture, I realise that God has called us to obey and honour our parents, not to change them.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’” (Ephesians 6:1-3)

That said, there is definitely room for communication. It’s not that we should just bury all our disappointments and frustration until they explode one day.

But the question is, have we been so fixated on getting our needs met that we neglect loving and honouring our parents?

While our parents may be imperfect, God has called us to honour them simply because He has placed them in our lives and given them the authority to nurture and discipline us.

Ultimately, honouring our parents is a choice of obedience towards God. It is not a matter of whether they have done a good job at parenting us, or how much they are willing to change and do better.

We all have different feelings towards our mums. Some are close to their mums, others find it harder to feel loved by them.

Nevertheless, we can’t deny that all our mums went through tremendous pain to bring us into this world. That itself is an act of love.

The Bible describes a mother’s joy of bringing her child into this world to be so great that it makes her forget the pain (John 16:21).

Ultimately, honouring our parents is a choice of obedience towards God.

That to me is pretty similar to the love that Jesus has shown – enduring the Cross for the joy of redeeming us and His Father’s glory (Hebrews 12:2).

This Mother’s Day, would you take some time to honour this love? Write a card, get a small gift or bring your mum out for a meal.

Who knows, it may mean more to her than you imagine!

  1. How is your relationship with your mum?
  2. What might God be speaking to you about your relationship with her?
  3. What is one thing you can do or change to love her better and/or honour her?