In celebration of Mother’s Day and the mother/daughter relationship, the editor Annie Ridout has written a list of all the things she does/says/feels that make her realise she’s very quickly turning into her own mother…
Mention Mother’s Day and I immediately think of my own mum. In fact, it’s only as I started writing this that I remembered I am a mother myself, and will forever be the person my daughter Joni thinks of when this day rolls round each year.
My sister became a mum last month too, which added another – very important – role to her existing roles as sister, wife, daughter, friend, colleague. And it’s a big deal – your mum grows you inside her body, births you, feeds you, keeps you warm, loves you unconditionally (except when you’re having a tantrum or keeping her up at night).
So in the lead up to Mother’s Day, I’ve been reflecting on my relationship with my own mum. There have always been similarities between us but since having a daughter of my own, they have become more apparent. Here they are.
I realise I’m becoming my own mother when…
I buy ingredients for a friend’s engagement meal at my house (chicken, clementines, lemons) and have to keep it all in the bag, tied up, in the fridge so that my husband and daughter don’t eat them. Soon I will be attaching a note explaining in even clearer terms that this food is NOT TO BE TOUCHED.
I moisten my finger with saliva and start rubbing my child’s cheek manically to remove encrusted food. Being – effectively – licked on the face by someone else on isn’t very nice. As a child, I was constantly being licked on the face by my mum.
I can’t go to bed without tidying up. In fairness to my mum, she can at least enjoy a meal with a bomb-site kitchen behind her. I have to clean and tidy all dishes and cooking utensils before I can even sit down to eat. Let alone go to bed.
There are nailbrushes by every sink. Oh wait – my mum put them there. That doesn’t count.
Before bed I snuggle under the duvet, turn on my bedside lamp and read for half an hour. Until recently, reading was for the commute/holidays/a lunch break… any time except right before bed (because I’d be too busy watching telly). I’m now a fully-fledged before-bed-book-time lover.
I can store delicious chocolate biscuits in the biscuit tin and not just eat them all in one go. In fact, I can even go a whole day without eating one. (This hasn’t happened yet, but when it does I will definitely feel more like my mum whose restraint is quite unbelievable when it comes to sugary food).
This Mother’s Day will be spent in the park…
I spend the majority of my day taking my daughter out – for walks, to the park, to a coffee shop – anything, as long as we’re not cooped up. Apparently my mum took my sister, my brother and me to the park across the road three times a day on occasion for a “change of environment” (my new catchphrase).
I treasure loyalty and kindness in friends. Growing up, it was about who was cool – who wore what, said what, did what – but as an adult, I place far greater value on what’s inside. My mum is unfalteringly loyal and kind (except when she’s licking my cheek). So I attribute this change of heart to her.
I find myself growing increasingly impatient about my daughter’s seemingly nonsensical tantrums but bite my tongue, let the fury rise and fall and maintain a calm façade, so as not to let on that it’s working; the tantrums are getting to me.
I note that she never leaves the house without getting dressed in something respectable, putting on some light slap and making sure her hair’s looking good. Although the feminist in me says: go out looking however you like; the traditionalist says: go out looking presentable – nay, looking your best. So I do the same.
But mostly, I realise I’m becoming my mum when I analyse my relationship with my own daughter and can see that from now until forever she will be my priority. When she’s upset, I’ll do anything to cheer her up; when she’s happy, I’ll be elated – just as my own mum is for me.
Why not have a go at writing your own comparison list? Whether you’re becoming increasingly similar or increasingly different to your mum, it doesn’t matter. And if you do, send us a copy – in the comment section, to firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us in social media. We’d love to hear what you come up with…
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