A picture showed up on Facebook for one of those Throwback Thursday trends, and in the comments, someone wrote, “Oh look . . . there’s Janie.” Here was a girl in her high school years with a huge smile across her face as she and a friend posed for a humorous photo. The girl in the photo is my mother.
People have always told me how similar we look, especially when we smile. However, since stepping into my own journey of motherhood, I’m coming to find that not only do I look like my mother, but I’m also becoming my mother.
I have compiled five ways in which I am becoming more and more like my mom. Any of these sound familiar?
1. When Dad Is Away, We Will Play
Whenever my dad would go on business trips, I felt like the house rules took a vacation. We did things that normally wouldn’t happen, like staying up late, ordering dinner instead of making it, and sleeping in mom’s bed! Just a few weeks ago, my husband was out of town for work, and I found myself relaxing on the normal routine with my son. We stayed up WAY too late watching our favorite baseball team play, and he may have had an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie for breakfast. But what can I say. Sometimes rules are meant to be broken, with adult supervision, of course.
2. Balancing Work and Home Life
Being a working mother, I have a greater appreciation for my mom, who was also a working mother when I was born. From breast pump breaks at work to being a single parent while our husbands worked hours away, my mom and I share similar experiences. Managing doctor’s appointments, school related activities, and the infamous “what’s for dinner” question, being a working mother hasn’t changed despite the decades between our experiences. The challenges are still there, but we’ve learned to make the best of it.
3. Kitchen Concoctions
I remember sitting in the kitchen watching my mom cook, and there wasn’t a recipe card in sight. How did she know how much flour to put in those pancakes? What was this improv of tossing in a dash of this or a pinch of that? But after you have made a few staple recipes over and over and over for years upon years . . . I can now see why you might have a recipe or two memorized by now. I have almost memorized that oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe, hence sometimes we eat the results of late night cooking in the morning for breakfast (see #1).
4. Patience, Patience, Patience
Parenting is hard, rewarding work. Recently, my mother was telling her friends about my parenting skills and said, “I just don’t know where Janie got all that patience from. She stays calm when her little is expressing big emotions.” Her friends looked at her and said, “She got it from you. You were the exact same way with our kids.”
Often we’re too hard on ourselves as mothers. We remember the times we wish we would have reacted differently or chosen different words to say. But you need to hear this: You are doing a great job. You are exactly who your child needs you to be. And down the road, when your child surprises you on how he or she handled a situation, it’s because you surprised yourself first.
5. Braver than Imagined
In my short time as a mother, there have been moments when I had to be braver than I ever thought I could be. There have been situations that pushed me outside my comfort zone and ones I never thought I would be in. But I wasn’t alone in those moments because my son was also there and watching my every move. How I chose to react in stressful times will directly affect how my son reacts.
My mom has been put in countless situations where she had to be brave, even now. The more she has grown in her bravery, the more capacity she has for handling uncomfortable situations. And she does so with open arms and a compassionate heart. If it’s the one thing I look forward to most in being more like my mom, it’s in her bravery to face the unknowns in life.
Of course there are many more ways I’m turning into my mother, like having a secret stash of chocolate, being a coffee lover, and making handmade shirts. Question: Are sweatshirts with your kid’s glittering handprint still in fashion? I heard the 90’s trends are back and this was definitely a top once paired with mom jeans.
Being a mother — whether blood or bond — is one of the most selfless roles you will fulfill in life. Though our years as a mother are numbered, to our kids it is their whole life.
So in these mothering years, may we pass down the matters of our hearts more than the matters of our house. May we constantly evolve to become more and more like the women who raised us, the ones who took on the role of mother. Take comfort knowing you are enough and the best for your child. Be brave knowing you will continue to grow to be the best version of yourself for you and the ones who call you “Mom”.
Be kind. Be safe. Be you.