This is a picture of Mom and I en route to Alanis Morrisette’s acoustic concert at Casino Rama. Later we’d be joined by 3 other sets of mothers and daughters — our lifelong friends who we’ve been singing ‘You Outta Know’ with at campfires and BBQs since before I could interpret the lyrics, “go down on you in a theatre.”
During the course of our 2 hour road trip, I will have insulted her driving, accused her of wearing my perfume, tuned her out while texting, chirped her nasally singing voice, and proudly pointed out the leftover lunch on her face.
Why? Because I’m the poster child of an entitled bitchy daughter.
We often think of mother-daughter-warfare as a distinct characteristic of adolescence. You probably remember it all too well: throwing a fit at the mall when she refused to buy you those coveted pair of UGGs, a pubescent tween raging with hormones screaming, “You just don’t get me!” through a Jonathon Taylor Thomas postered wall, or her asking, “How was your day, sweetheart?” only to receive an eye roll followed by, “Get a life.”
Like most young girls, sometime between playing with barbies and holding hands with boys, Mom became a punching bag. Now in my late twenties, I’m slamming less doors but I rarely miss an opportunity to take a jab.
Could it be the discomfort in knowing that I’m staring into the eyes of my future self? Do I feel like she’s projecting an extension of herself with unrealistic pressures? Am I just a shitty person? There’s a library full of theories around the root of these quarrels, but one thing’s for sure, the mother-daughter paradigm is a complex, twisted and comical relationship.
We often hear the term “daddy issues” but “mommy issues” will hit home for many women throughout their adult lives. It’s a classic tale that’s reinvented as each generation learns and tweaks the ‘mistakes’ of her foremother. And it’s all too familiar when I observe the relationship between my Mom and her Mom.
I’ve realized that my biggest issue is that I’m still viewing my Mom through a child’s eyes. But when I change my perspective and remove her cape, she’s a woman just like me. A human being with the same insecurities, fears, and indecisiveness. She was once my age but with the responsibility of raising young kids. And today, she’s still a Mom who just wants the best for her daughter.
When I really stop to think about it: my Mom is cool AF. She was feeding us organic flax seed bread before it was trendy. She prematurely exposed my brothers and I to adult films like ‘Good Will Hunting’ and ‘Steel Magnolias’ to instill compassion and empathy at an early age. She’s the real writer. She’s the go-to therapist amongst a large group of girlfriends. She can swing a golf club on par with the best of them. She’ll sacrifice her left toenail to finish a marathon. She has moxie and can put up a winning fight when the gloves come off. To this day, I still play dress up in her closet. Actually, now’s a good time to admit that yes, I did steal that beige Zara sweater that you’ve been looking for (ugh, I feel so much better now).
Some of my closest friends aren’t as lucky. Whether they lost her too soon or she just wasn’t around all that much — they didn’t have a mom to read them bedtime stories, to proudly hang their artwork on the fridge, to advise them on which shoes best match their outfit or to sing along with at a Blue Rodeo concert. Having the audacity to take these special moments for granted not only makes me a bad daughter, but also, a bad friend.
So Mom, I’m sorry for being a bitch. Sorry for always thinking I’m right. Sorry for blaming you for everything. Thank you for your unconditional love and unwavering confidence, even when I doubt myself. Most importantly, thanks for not caving and buying Lunchables when all the other kids had them.
And daughters, if you’re a bitch like me, maybe it’s time to go easy on Ma. After all, we probably “oughta know” better by now, amiright? 🙂
Happy Mother’s Day!