10 Ways I’m Becoming My Mother

Becoming My Mother

I’ve noticed a recent mental shift. When I have flashbacks of childhood memories, I’m thinking less about my own perception of experiences and relating more to my mother than my own young self…

The way she tried to dance around us lingering in her bathroom as she got ready…

The way she listened to our stories with real interest….

The way she disappeared to for a few minutes of solace when Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers were on T.V…

The way she tucked us into bed with a book and a hug…

The way she slurped her mid-afternoon Tab cola like someone had thrown her a lifeline…

The way she cobbled up meals in the midst of the chaos…

The way she treated us with kindness when we threw up in the middle of the night…

The way she must have been so tired, but she kept smiling so we felt loved and secure…

…because now I’m living through all the same things.

Actually, I think I’m becoming my mother in all the following ways…

  1. Craving downtime. After a busy day of work, errands, and childcare, I’m totally spent. Even though I have high aspirations for how to spend the time after the kids go to bed, it often amounts to nothing more than a snack and a show—and my mom was the same way. I snuck out of bed as a kid to find her munching on Doritos in front of the T.V. I thought she was *so lucky* she got to stay up and eat chips. Ha. She was just trying to have a minute.
  2. Bemoaning the chores. The other day after my 7-year-old had just emptied the dishwasher, I loaded dishes back into it immediately. “Hey! I just emptied that,” she protested. Yeah—get used to the cycle of chores where where the completion phase lasts for 60 seconds. My daughter was feeling what I feel, and my mother before me felt…It’d be amazing for the house to be all clean at the same time, or not to have a full laundry basket the same day I did four loads. Sigh.
  3. Creating family traditions. Holiday cookies. The night before school sleepover in the living room. Sunday football. Family traditions are some of my favorite memories of childhood and now I’m going overboard to make sure my kids have the same experience.
  4. Reading. My mom was the best reader— we’d beg her for just one more chapter whether it was The Boxcar Children, Chronicles of Narnia, or The Little House on the Prairie. I’m hoping to instill the same love of books in my kids.
  5. Sipping sweet hot drinks. Hers was a daily Suisse Mocha and mine is a daily chai tea latte. How does one mother without dessert in a cup? I have no idea.
  6. Caring about my children’s character. I don’t care what my kids grades are, what salary they end up making, or what extra-curricular activities they master. If they do not turn out to be kind, honest, perceptive people that serve others well, I will feel that my mothering has been a bust.
  7. Cooking. Here is what I remember about weeknight dinners when I was younger: the meals topping the rotation list were tuna on toast (eww), grilled cheese and canned soup (sure), oatmeal pancakes (yum), and popcorn and meat, cheese, and veggie trays (perfect). My mom could definitely (and did) cook well—especially as we got older—but I can totally relate to keeping it simple when the kids are little. Eggs and toast, anyone?
  8. Exercising. My mom has been in shape her whole life. Her genetics must be pretty great, but she’s kept up a lifetime commitment to exercising. Whether it was sweating to Jane Fonda home workout videos in her pink leotard (jazz hands and all), walking, or running, I’ve been inspired because of her to do the same thing.  Like her, I find the benefits of exercising as a necessary part of mothering.
  9. Getting dressed. She curled her frosted, permed hair with a curling iron to “give it more body,” and I flat iron my highlighted, layered hair for straight sophistication. The times have changed but the value of “getting ready” still applies. Though everyone is entitled to frumpy days, she understood that taking care of your outward appearance can do wonders for your spirits.
  10. Baking. Whether it was chocolate chip cookies or the most delicious yeast rolls you’d ever taste, my mom knew that busting out some homemade treats was the perfect way to get us to sit down and talk. 

Culture, fashion, and parenting trends change throughout the years, but when it comes down to it, the heart of mothers stays the same over time. At least that’s what I’m finding as I become just like my own.

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2 Responses to 10 Ways I’m Becoming My Mother

  1. Aimee Wiley December 13, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    I love how you are identifying with your mother in a positive way as you get older. I think I tend to notice the similarities with my own mother as a deficit, but you have brought up some wonderful, simple elements of motherhood that can help us connect to our mothers with compassion instead of regret. Thanks for that!

  2. Lindsay
    Lindsay December 19, 2016 at 9:27 am #

    I love this post. It’s nice to point out that it’s the simple things that we remember and aspire to in motherhood. Not fancy parties or forced traditions – simple Sunday afternoons eating hot ham and rolls during Packer games and folding laundry.

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