Usually on Sunday mornings a distinct question pops into my head that I almost always use for my post; today was no exception. “Are you like your mother?” was bold and loud in my mind as I opened my eyes. For some of you that inquiry might provoke anger or at least a nonchalant eye roll. A few of you might be beaming with pride to know that, yes, you are just like your mother. But, for most, you are like me, knowing that you have carried on some of mom’s negative traits as well as some good ones.
Understanding Who You Are
Despite the fact that no matter how hard we try to avoid our mother’s negative habits and quirky traits, often times we inherit them anyway. That’s right, you can kick and scream all you want, but you will have to deal with the cultural legacy that is passed down in every family. However, having said that, let me make this clear; just because your mother did or said certain things doesn’t mean that you are locked into the same behavior. You might have guessed that I’m speaking of mom’s bad points here and not the ones that you are glad you have mastered.
Here’s an example that I live with every day. My mother was an alcoholic and a smoker from the time she was about 17 until the day she found out she had cancer at 58. That’s a long time. I watched her be unhealthy my whole young life. And, yes, when I got at an age where I felt I was grown up enough, I started drinking and smoking. After all, my mom did it; I deserved the same experience. I justified my behavior.
Even though I was in the throws of teen rebellion and indulgence, I kept my self guarded from becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs. This is where the choices come in. I chose to resist the thing that tore my mother’s life (and some of mine) apart. Today, I know more about how an adult child of an alcoholic can be affected by the parent’s addiction. I understand how her condition molded parts of my character. It is something that I can never remove from my mind or deeper being. So, I am careful with alcohol as not to over indulge or think of it as an answer to my problems.
Mom’s Legacy of Good
No one is all good or all bad. My mother instilled a lot of good in me along with the dysfunction. She gave me so many great things that have helped shape me as a woman and mother. I’m like her in the fact that I love to discover new ideas and investigate the unknown. My mom actually wanted to be an archaeologist but married at 19 instead. Like her, I’m fascinated with the details of scientific discovery.
I have also always kept open communication with my children; she taught me how to do that by being there for me. She was a wonderful support to me as a young mother. And when it’s time for me to be a grandmother, I will be a great one because of her. My kids remember her with love and joy- their Nannie. So, you can see that I am like my mom in some ways and have chosen to be different in others. This question also makes me see how my ways are being passed along to my daughters – the legacy.
I want you to think about how you are like your mother and how her ways may have shaped your ideals and dysfunctions as an adult. Also, be aware of how your daughters watch you and learn to mimic your character. It will keep you on your toes! Please share your thoughts with us. Be well-be beautiful.
***If you are an adult child of an alcoholic, I highly recommend that you read the book I’ve linked to this post. It was crucial to my own self-growth and healing. Because I am an Amazon associate, I will receive a small revenue for your purchase. Thank you.