Are you becoming more and more like your mother with every nose you wipe and bed you make?
My mom and I look alike. Others can see it more than I can, but I see it often enough. Like those mornings when I catch myself off-guard as I step out of the shower and wrap a towel around my hair. It's not unusual for me to be freaked out by that first glance in the mirror when I see my mom staring back at me.
I not only look like her, but I fight like her, too. To win an argument, my husband will ask, "You know who you sound like, right?" There is no faster way to get my goat than to tell me I sound like my mom.
The worst part is that he's right. I do sound like my mom. When I get exasperated at my 7-year-old's inability to keep her room clean, I hear my mom as I say things like, "If you can't keep all your toys put away, then maybe you have too many." Or the nights when bedtime is a struggle and out of nowhere I hear myself yelling, "If you get out of bed one more time tonight, no playing with your DS tomorrow." (Of course, when my mom made these threats, it was my Atari being taken away.)
But it's not all bad. Of all the things that I now do differently than my mom, there are just as many parenting habits I've chosen to keep. When It Comes To Parenting, Does One Size Fit All?
When I was 7, my mom took me to see 9 to 5 in the theater. Before that, we saw Grease and Rocky on the big screen as well. None of these flicks were kids' movies, but it didn't matter to mom. For her, a good movie was a good movie, in the same way that good music was good music. As long as there wasn't explicit sexual content or hardcore cursing, she was willing to let me watch her movies with her.
My daughter and I share the same love of movies, and even include my mom in the loop. When Mamma Mia was released with Meryl Streep, the three of us, along with my two sisters, spent Mother's Day singing "Dancing Queen" in the back row of our local movie theater. My daughter loved it; I loved that we got to enjoy a movie without an animated Disney princess. In fact, at the tender age of 7, my daughter is already a Meryl Streep fan (we watched Julie & Julia together during a recent snow day).
Music has been another shared love between us. Mom introduced me to all the greats growing up and took me to my first concert when Cyndi Lauper came to town with The Bangles. That show remains one of my most memorable concert experiences. While my own daughter suffers the same school-girl-Justin-Beiber crush as every other girl her age, her music tastes goes beyond your usual Kids Bop pop. Gwen Stefani, Pink, Cake, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The White Stripes are common backseat song requests in my car. (My rule: for every three songs we both like, she gets one Justin Beiber track.) Michael Jackson Saved My Marriage
And then there are books.
There is not one material object in my house that I love as much as I love my books. My coffee pot is a close second, but I wouldn't even want coffee if I didn't have a collection of good books to read with a hot cup of java. My mom and I spent my childhood roaming the local public library and used book stores in search of our next favorite read. Even now, most of our time on the phone is spent talking about what the other is reading. My daughter has the same reading habits I did when I was her age, always with a book at the dinner table or pleading to finish, "…just one more page," before lights out at bedtime.
I like watching these patterns repeat. My own daughter looks exactly like her father, but she acts mostly like me. I wonder if someone will accuse her of sounding like me one day. My hope is that she takes it in stride and embraces our similarities. In the same way I feel about my mom, I want my daughter to be more proud by all we share, rather than annoyed by how much we are alike.