“Ergh. I sound like my mother.”
It’s a phrase many of us have caught ourselves uttering as we go about the day-to-day ups and downs of parenting. And that’s when I realised, everything I know about motherhood, I accidentally learnt from my mother…
Lucky for me, my Mum is awesome. I think she and my Dad nailed parenting, and they have three reasonably responsible, functioning members of adult society to show for it. Sure, maybe I am the clumsiest person I know and I have a horrifically unhealthy addiction to fast food (particularly the great Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices)… but we won’t blame my Mum for that. That’s all on me.
When I was growing up, Mum was a safe place, a friend, a person I respected, and a source of unconditional love. She’s a Mum to aspire to.
But it doesn’t make it any less embarrassing when I hear her voice come out of my mouth and pipe up with “We have guests coming over. This house is a pig sty!” or “I’m going to count to three! One… Two…” Classic. Thanks Mum.
I find my life as a mother is peppered with wisdom, habits, values and ideas about motherhood that I recognise as being hers. It’s not a conscious thing. She snuck things into my brain without me even realising. I mean, I’m no carbon copy – I maintain my own identity as a Mum, and she will be the first to tell me that I do lots of things differently to her. But fundamentally, my parenting style is without a doubt based on hers.
And what’s wrong with that? I mean, I know my Mum isn’t perfect. No Mum is. But most Mums, overall, are getting it right, at least on some level. And perhaps the reason we catch ourselves mimicking their words and actions as adults is because deep down, subconsciously or not, we realise that the same things that worked on us as kids, also happen to work with our own kids too. And with this realisation, the acknowledgment that our Mums probably weren’t as crazy as we thought they were back in the day!
The example my Mum provided is just set too deep in my soul. I can’t ignore it, and I can’t tamp it down. It’s in the little things (like singing mindlessly as I go about my day) and it’s in the big things (like choosing to respond to my family’s mistakes with love, and not unproductive anger). It’s in the fun things (like baking for my family “just because”) and it’s in the dumb things (like doing something without asking for help, and then feeling annoyed that nobody helped me). It’s in the way I value family dinners at the table and the way I constantly, habitually tell my family that I love them. Maybe her example as a stay-at-home-Mum throughout my childhood is the reason I also flourish as a stay-at-home-Mum. My Mum’s brand of motherhood is threaded through my own, and that makes me happy. I would be proud to be half the Mum that she is.
So the next time you catch yourself muttering “how embarrassing” after once again subconsciously bursting forth with a direct quote from your mother, stop yourself. Because maybe it’s actually not that embarrassing. Maybe it’s kind of awesome.
CREDIT: Our feature image is a cool card from PappaLlama.