How are you turning into your mother

Am I Becoming My Mother?

Am I becoming my mother? 

Have you ever asked the question, “am I becoming my mother?”

I was recently in an appointment at a physical therapist for some weird hip pain. As we chatted, I think we came to the conclusion that my problems have been self-induced.  You see, I spent hours sitting in the “w” (knees together, legs back to the sides) as a child. Usually, I was reading or checking out books on the lower sections of the bookmobile.  I have always attributed those hours of sitting to my slight bow-leggedness. Confirmed…by the PT.

Now, I am remembering that when I was in 8th grade, there were a few innocuous comments made about my mother’s walking that now comes back to haunt me.  Someone commented on how my mother’s feet went out (duck-like) when she walked. It might have been me… I honestly don’t remember.  My mother’s explanation was, “Your Daddy asked me if I can walk with my feet straight, but I told him this is just the way I walk.”  

My response?  In my budding rebellion of the all-wise teenage years, I decided that if my mother could not, I would.  So began a life time of conscious straight-foot walking.

And now, in my ThirdThird, at the age of 66, I am experiencing hip pain that most likely comes from forcing my hip joints into an unnatural angle.  For years.

Sigh. In my intention of not being like my mother at that long ago age of puberty and self-discovery, I set myself up.  Maybe it would have been better if I had aspired to be just like my Mother, instead of determinedly being un-like her. In some ways, maybe.

Last week, I received a text and photo from my sister of her outfit for the day.  “White pants or jeans two days in a row. Am I becoming our Mother?” I laughed out loud, of course, as only sister texts can provoke, thinking that “no, you are not becoming our Mother,” but also recognizing some recurring tendencies in that direction.

In some good ways, I remember my Mother’s influence and am grateful.

I am generous.

I watched my Mother be generous in a number of ways. She always wrote the tithe check first after my Daddy’s weekly paycheck came home. She was ready to offer cookies or a pecan pie to new neighbors. She gave her 25th Anniversary china to a newlywed couple at her church (maybe I shouldn’t bring that one up???).

I clean up after myself as I cook.

Once, when my Mother was visiting, she made the comment, “Debbie, you’re a good cook, but you sure make a mess,” as she was cleaning up behind me. I realized she was right and began a practice of cleaning as I go, so I don’t have that big mess to clean up on my own.

I am aware of areas of waste.

On another visit, again, helping me in the kitchen, Mother noted that milk was being wasted as our 5 children took their dishes to the sink after a meal. “A lot of your milk is getting poured down the drain.”  Wow. We were on a budget and I was happy to find a way to make those gallons last longer. I started filling those cups less full and throwing less down the drain.

Now, I notice when we are not using produce fast enough or when I have more than I need of shoes or clothing.  Even though our budget is not as limited as when the house was full of children, I value not wasting things I buy.

In some other ways, I intentionally try to be different than my Mother.

I try to only use positive motivation.

Especially with my grandchildren, I intentionally do my best to build them up and never use shaming as a way of motivating.  I am sensitive to a time when people use humor at another’s expense. Making fun in hurtful ways is something I became sensitive to during my Mother’s visits as she was older. She was completely unaware of how her humor did not translate well to a sensitive teen/tween and she was not really open to learning new ways. But, I can be positive and avoid misusing humor.

I do my best to stay up on current events.

In my home, growing up, there was no discussion of politics and little awareness of the world at large.  Part of that was the era of my parents’ generation. Part of it was that neither of them went to college. While they were hard working and intelligent people, there was little academic confidence.  I try to be more aware of what is happening around me and in the world, so I have more to talk about than who is doing what in the neighborhood.

I take risks and try new things.

My parents built a house in 1949 when my Daddy returned from WWII.  My Mother lived there until 2011 when she had to move into a care facility.  Me? My husband and I are building a home at the River and it will be the 18th address we have had in our 45 years of marriage. We have moved, I have started businesses and risked failure, we have tried new things.  Some of that comes from watching my parents hunker down and resist opportunities that came their way. The need for security and the fear of failure was strong in them. I appreciate that. I understand that. But, seeing that has given me the desire and courage to step out into risk.

I grew into being thankful for the parents I had. These days, I sincerely hope that my own children will grow into understanding me and choose the best ways to imitate me.  And, I hope they are wise to see and replace those unpleasant memories of my attempts at being their parent.

Life-long learning and growing is a way
to make your ThirdThird your BEST Third!

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