There was a news article in the summer suggesting that we begin turning into our parents at 32. I’m 38 now, so it got me wondering if I’ve well and truly become my mother.
The thing that started me wondering was when I signed the slip volunteering to send homemade cakes into school for the school fair. I had flashes of the scene in ‘I Don’t Know How She Does it!’ where the mother ‘distresses’ some shop-bought mince pies for the daughter to take to school as her contribution to the cake stall. I can bake a nice enough cake, but I know already that the night before I’ll be up until all hours finishing it.
How does that suggest I’ve become my mother? It doesn’t, to be honest, because my mum would have also ticked all the ‘I can help out’ boxes that accompanied the notes. Parties, Christmas Fairs, trips, reading, embroidery…my mum helped out at them all.
Daughter would be lucky if I turned into my mother. Without doubt, she was (is!) a better mother to me than I can ever hope to be to Daughter, and I really do try. She was a stay-at-home Mum, and Sister and I never batted an eyelid to that, because most mums were then. I don’t think we ever even considered that she might have had any other interests than us. We never couldn’t wear our favourite dress because it was languishing in the ironing, (which is exactly where Daughter’s favourite school dress was when she wanted to wear it last week). We never had to wait to wear our new pyjamas because they’d gone to my Nan’s to be taken it (which is exactly where Daughter’s new bought-especially-for-wear-pyjamas-to-school (again) –day are). My pump bag had a hand embroidered name on it.
Imagine now, someone doing everything in their power to tend to your needs. Before you even realised it was a need. I don’t think that Sister and I were spoilt, but Mother’s number one purpose was making sure we were happy. And we guzzled it up, not thinking twice.
It’s not even just the doing, which I like to think I would do if only I didn’t have to go to work. The other overwhelming memory is that our mum was always, always interested. And that’s where I fall way short of the example. I famously have No Patience, and I wonder what Daughter misses out on because of that. No wonder Daughter always wants to go to Nanny’s. The only time I really remember Mother having no patience with me was when I had just learnt to sew and I sewed my bit of fabric to my tights.
I wouldn’t like you to think that Mother is some kind of apron wearing wet nelly, not at all. But she is an example of a woman who sacrificed her own list for ours, and without a word of complaint to us (can’t guarantee that Father didn’t get the occasional ear bashing!). So on that front, no; I haven’t turned into my mother because whether it’s choice or circumstance, Daughter’s list runs alongside mine.
But there are a myriad of ways in which I have turned into her, such as…
· Airport stress and panic
· Finishing people’s sentences
· Talking to checkout operators
· Forcing medication on people
· Wanting to buy gifts as soon as people indicate they want them
· Pressing food on people
· Stocking up on a particular food once Husband has said he liked it once
· Pulling a pursed-lipped face (po-face, we used to call it) when I disagree with something or pretend that I don’t think (scratch that, know) I’m right
Not too traumatic a list, I suppose. But it’s interesting that it’s me that’s turning into Mother and not Sister. Ah, that’s because she’s turned into Father! That probably warrants a new post of its’ own!