Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

Years ago I had a favorite coffee mug. It looked like this: A shrieking woman was pulling out her hair, looking totally stressed, and screaming, “EEEEEEK I am my mother.” I laughed when I first saw it. Then I thought about it. The sentiment was funny, scary and true, all at the same time.

Even though we adult daughters like to pretend that we are nothing like our mothers– parts of her are in us. And that doesn’t have to be a frightening thought, even in the most negative cases. Because  you can make changes. You aren’t a victim of your parenting and doomed to repeat every pattern ever past down the generational line. But the first step to making changes is always to ADMIT to the problem. So admit it. You are a unique woman and you are also like your mother. Those two realities can co-exist.

Next, do a quick inventory. List positive and negative ways that you and your mom are alike. For example, we both cry easily and get our feelings hurt, or we have that same tendency to be controlling, to yell at our kids, to complain when difficulty comes? Try to be very honest.

Then take the list, and focus on the negative items one at a time and begin to work on changing that behavior. With practice and ongoing awareness, you can make changes. And remember, every mother gives something good to her daughter.

In the same way I remind parents to catch their children being good and praise them, adult daughters need to periodically  “catch their mothers being good” as well.

The next time someone says, you are so much like your mother, smile and accept the compliment or work on making changes.

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