Sunday, October 17, 2010

You are your Mother

We all know it is true. Try as we might in our teens and early twenties to turn our back on all we know, we become our mother.

It happens gradually though, you have the first child determined to do things differently. And life happens gradually, you do not give birth to a mouthy teenager. So at first it's the lullaby that creeps into the evening routine, or the song you sing while feeding them, or the game you play in the bathtub. But it ends up with the phrases you sore never to let cross your lips, "Eat it or no dessert!", "Wait till your father gets home!", or the dreaded, "Because I said SO!".

I just finsihed reading Ruth Reichl's book, Not Becoming my Mother and if only it were that easy. Her mother told her not to become me, gave her permission to see her for just who she was and become whoever she could dream. Her mother was maniac-depresssive (I believe)and that is why I say, if only it were that easy.

I think it is harder for those of us with Baby Boomer parents who struggled through war times, and free-love times, and equal rights times, because so much was happeneing, changing, moving faster and faster. I struggle today and it's been moving this fast all my life, how did my parents make any sense of the world? Keep their feet grounded? Adapt to the changes of the world?

I know that some did, adapt that is, change with the times. I'm not sure what my mom felt about the turbulence of the times, she kept her nose to the grindstone, built a career in Real Estate and raised 5 children the best she could. She made sure to tell us to wear clean underwear in case we were in an accident and wear a seatbelt. But I don't think I really know who she was....she was just mom.

I don't want my children's only memories of me to be in the kitchen, taking them from place to place, screaming at them to clean their room, do their homework, and eat their vegetables. I want them to know that I chose not to work to be with them. I want them to know I yell at them about their homework and lack of chores to teach them responsibility, I yell about fighting and mouthing off to teach them respect, and I cry when they hurt me and hope they learn empathy.

It's hard to stop, when I think about it, there are lots of things I want to give my children - We all do! With the greatest intentions. and somehow, it comes out sounding exactly like my mother.


  1. my mom also used to say to me to wear clean underwear in case we were in an accident..I believe that moms are moms even if they live in Greece or America or somewhere else :)

  2. Personally, I want to be just like my mother - she was the best!

    Love from Teressa