Battles and Hugs: Mothers and Daughters

by dustytoes

A mother and daughter relationship can be strained and unpleasant, or loving and supportive, or maybe a bit of both.

I am a daughter, and have been a mother myself for almost 36 years. This is a look at how the relationship I have with my daughter was influenced by my relationship (or lack of) with my mother.

The word "mom" brings to mind an almost super-human being who loves unconditionally. It means a sweet person. So how come so many daughters clash with their moms? It's simply because mom's are not perfect and everyone is born with their own distinct personality.

Many people have (and are) super, wonderful and loving moms, but even less than perfect moms have something to teach us.

A Mother's Love

Conjuring an image of what a mother should be.

floral text A mother means love more than anything else.  No matter what kind of mom yours is - or was - don't you always think of "nurturing", "kind" and "loving" when the word mother is mentioned?  Even most wild and domestic animal mothers will care lovingly for their offspring and will fight to protect their babies.

Mothers are special people who, I believe, have the opportunity to have the most positive influence over their children, and their daughters especially.  As daughters, we either tend to clash with our mothers' personalities, or we bond closely with them.  Either way, I like to think that most mothers love their children unconditionally, even if they don't show it.

About My Mother

My mother grew up as an only daughter and somewhat like an only child, with a brother that was much older. I think my mother was a bit spoiled and when she got married she expected to be treated like a princess.

Her knight (my father) built her a house on a big piece of land and provided very well for her, but it seems that there was trouble from the start. My father divorced her as soon as my sister and I were grown.

I remember my mother as a homebody. She didn't drink or smoke and only had a couple of friends who she talked to over the phone. She seldom went anywhere with them.

She played the piano and loved Liberace for his piano playing abilities and would always watch his show. She taught me how to sew (which I hated) and how to bake, especially desserts. She always had a big sweet tooth.  She always seemed quite boring to me. 

We never did anything fun together.

(Photo:  From their wedding album - my mother Shirley, with her mother, Hazel)

Do you, as a daughter (or son), have fun with your mother?

If not, do you hope (think) that will ever change?
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My mother has her own life and I have mine. We do very little together.
Angel on 05/09/2012

We see each other but I have never been able to "bond" with my mother. We fight more than we have a good time. Unfortunately.

Yes, we often spend time together and enjoy each other's company.
katiem2 on 08/01/2012

My Mom is now and has always been one of the funnest most positive people I've ever spent time with. I treasure every moment I spend with my Mom. Good times and good memories.

WiseFool on 05/15/2012

I'm very lucky to have a great relationship with my mum. Don't get me wrong, we clash and/or disagree over a few things, but, more often then not, being together is fun. Most importantly, I think, is that we share a similar sense of humour (over most things), so we laugh a lot.

katiem2 on 05/14/2012

My Mom always knew how to make anything fun, when I think of her I really appreciate all the smiles she's brought me and how she always manages to lift my spirits. I only hope I can do the same for my daughters.

This Is How I Will Forever Remember My "Ma"

Parents sometimes leave an unwanted legacy.

Do you ever think, as a mother, about what your children will remember when you are gone? 

Parents make mistakes, they are human, and we can forgive them, but their overall attitude and personality remains constant and it is what we think of when they come to mind.

My mother and I were completely different people. Her attitude toward me has affected me my whole life.

My mother expected me to be born a curly-haired, red head, like her mother.  I should also have had musical abilities and been a pianist.  (My father wanted me to be a boy so I could be named after his brother who died in the war.)  I was none of these things, so that gave me one bad start.  I can only assume that I could never do enough to make up for those flaws.

Unfortunately, when I think of my mother the things that stand out have to do with negative attitude.  I don't remember ever receiving a compliment from her.   She said and did things that I wish I could forget, because they told me how disappointed she was in me.

Is / was your mother loving, caring, supportive and nurturing?

Do (did) you always know that mom would do anything for you?

What My Mother Taught Me

Without realizing it, she taught me to be different.

family kids

I grew up without parents to talk to. They were both very distant and seemingly uncaring about my life. I had rules to obey, but my opinions didn't matter.  My sister and I were definitely "seen and not heard".

We didn't talk as a family and looking back all four of us - mom, dad, my sister and I - just went our own ways each day. Our problems were our own. I thought it was normal because that was all I knew, but once I was grown I realized how much it affected how I viewed myself and the world around me.

No hugs, no kisses or "I love you's" from my mother.  We ate at the dinner table but no conversations took place that I recall, and anything that was said was strained and phony.

I vowed to be close to my kids. I would tell them all the time that I loved them and I spent as much time as possible being part of their lives. I always want them to know that they can count on me to support them. They are not alone - they have a mom!  Three of them are now grown and they seem pretty happy and well-adjusted to me.

(Because of a wide range in ages (13 - 35 here) and the fact that we are scattered all over the country, my four kids are rarely all together, but they were in the summer of 2010 when I got this photo.)

I Miss My Mother

Now that I am older I can understand her ways better.

I used to dread my mother's phone calls because she would usually want us (me, my husband and kids) to come over and visit her.  She was married (later on in life) to a man I despised.  I honestly don't think she liked him much either, but she couldn't live alone, so opted to marry a drunken bum.

She was always welcome at my house and if fact I could have used some help, but even though I worked all week and needed my weekends to catch up, she rarely wanted to come over to visit me (us).  So we remained at odds.  I always hoped she'd become the mother I wanted and needed in my life, but she didn't.  Imagine that!

These days, many years later, I'd love to get a call from her, but it won't happen.  In 1997 my youngest child was born and shortly after that we realized that something was wrong with Ma.  She was diagnosed with Alzheimers.  She went into a nice nursing home a few years later (her husband had all the say in what happened to her) and she gradually wasted away over the course of ten years and died in 2008.

Now that I am middle age, I sometimes find myself realizing that I understand her a bit better.  If she was still around we may even have had the chance to become friends.

Is your mom still around?

My Daughter and I Have a Good Relationship

I consider my daughter to be a good friend.

girl under umbrellaDaughters can quite often be the total opposite of their mothers and unless we moms can accept that our daughters are unique people, there will be clashes.  I hope that we can look at it as a good thing and encourage our daughters to be themselves, even if we don't understand!

I was very lucky to have had a daughter who was very little trouble throughout her childhood and teen years.  I have known people who were not as lucky.  Girls tend to be very social and my daughter certainly was.  I always kept involved by volunteering at her school and wanted to meet her friends and their parents.

We are not alike in many ways, yet even now that she is in her twenties we remain friends.  I believe it is mostly because I always took an interest in her life.   I hope that she will remember me as loving and supportive at the very least.

Sometimes we just have to trust that as time passes, we will grow closer and personality differences will diminish.  It may take many years for mothers and daughters to become friends.

I am thankful for the loving moms in this world!  You all make the world a better place with your sacrificial giving and loving ways.  Kids will become fantastic adults because of your encouragement and support.  Your positive influence in their lives will be seen for generations to come - believe it! 

Updated: 08/01/2012, dustytoes
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Always-Writing on 10/21/2014

They were a handful, but delighted to have "birthed" every one of them!

dustytoes on 10/21/2014

Thanks for your input. Wow, 8 children... what a nice big family you have!

Always-Writing on 10/21/2014

dustytoes, I enjoy a great relationship with both of my daughters, and all six of my sons. I also really enjoy the two stepchildren that came with my marriage, after being a widow for ten years. My mother loved me, but she did not know how to interact with teenagers, or often, younger children. My children would often run and hide when she arrived.

Before she died, at 90, we had ten good years of my mother being "normal". It was great.

Great article!

dustytoes on 09/11/2013

@ologsinquito - thank you!

ologsinquito on 09/11/2013

What a beautiful, honest article.

Lilysnape on 06/23/2013

My Dad did the more active things like taking us out, taking us to the library and told us our bedtime stories. Mom played board games and taught me how to knit. I try to let my daughters be more independent and feel free to say what they really mean to me, some of that is just the way things have changed over the years. None of us are perfect and I hope mine don,t repeat my mistakes. I used to enjoy the little shops Mom made from cardboard boxes.

katiem2 on 08/04/2012

Please follow your gut and feel free to call me Katie.

dustytoes on 08/01/2012

Thanks Katie for that really nice comment. Keeping communication open is so important and the little things should not become big things that alienate us from our kids. Your daughter is too funny - felt the urge to call you Katie! ;)

katiem2 on 08/01/2012

Just yesterday my 14 year old daughter said, Mom do you mind if I call you Katie? I said, No honey, you may feel free to call me Katie anytime", She said, "Great you're such a good friend, I can tell you anything, I just felt the urge to call you Katie" My Mom left a me with a good foundation :)K You are a good Mom. It's hard not to have that bond and yet you can get the love you once should have from your own kids, I think you've gotten that all figured out. Your daughter is a beautiful young lady shining bright with joy, be proud and pat yourself on the back you've over came and conquered! :)K

Sheri_Oz on 06/07/2012

Thanks for your candid article. Those who had mothers who did not really know how to mother seem to wait for the moment when she will, finally, be the mother they needed. Even if she is already a grandmother herself. For those mothers who did not know how to mother when the kids were growing up and who don't close themselves off to change, this is certainly a good thing. Unfortunately, most do not use the years to improve their mothering skills. Sad.

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