What is it about some mothers and daughters that cause their relationship with each other to be so notorious at times? I have often wondered if as mothers we see the qualities we dislike most in ourselves in our daughters and we try to fix them. I know my relationship with my mother was sometimes difficult, especially when I was an adolescent and again when I was a single mother. The same holds true for my relationship with my daughter who will soon celebrate her 30th birthday. She and I get along pretty well now, but there have been times in the past when things were not so stellar. Like me, she can sometimes be headstrong and determined to do things her way. (Is that really a bad thing?)
I have done a little reading (enough to make me dangerous) about mother and daughter relationships and this is what I learned. According to an article I read, the three biggest things mothers and daughters usually argue about are hair, clothes, and weight. All three things relate to physical appearance.
When I look back at the times my mother and I really went head to head, they usually but not always, centered on one of those three things. She either didn’t like the way I was wearing or the color of my hair, a dress I was wearing made me look a little “frumpy”, and well, “You’ll lose the weight when you are ready.”
“All I ever really wanted was for you to approve of me, Mom!” That was the conclusion I finally came to and when I decided I was adult enough to stop looking for mother’s approval, our relationship improved a thousand times. She could make comments about my looks until hell froze over, and I did not care. When I stopped reacting to what she had to say, we stopped arguing.
In hindsight, looking back at my relationship with my daughter and two of the times we butted heads, they both relate to physical appearance.
When my daughter entered high school, I made an appointment for her at the Clinique counter in a local department store for a makeover. She wasn’t allowed to wear make up until her first year. She attended a parochial school until she graduated high school, and makeup was expressly against dress code until then. I thought it would be best if someone other than her mother gave her a few makeup tips. Kids usually listen to the advice of others over their parents at that age anyway. The consensus among kids that age is their parents don’t know anything. I know mine didn’t! The only grew smarter as I grew older. I thought I was being very progressive and insightful by doing this. This would surely solve the problem of her wearing too much make up as most girls her age have a tendency to do. It would also save a lot of confrontation between the two of us over the very subject.
In reality, all it really did was set me back about $150.00 when I purchased the cosmetics the salesperson recommended. Did she follow the makeup tips that were suggested? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
I can’t remember the number of mornings my beautiful daughter would come down the stairs to the breakfast table OVER made up. Sometimes the eyeliner was so onerous and dark I thought a raccoon was coming to breakfast. Or, the foundation so carroty in color and thick, I could see a line along her jawbone where the foundation ended and her natural complexion started. Sometimes the eye shadow was so blue or green that her younger brother would whisper to me, “Jenn looks gross!” Something funky was always going on with her makeup. To me, my daughter was beautiful (and she still is). She didn’t need all of that stuff. I continually tried telling her this. It was when she got to be my age she would need a little extra help. I also tried telling her that boys didn’t like to be with girls that wore too much make up. What did I know anyway?
One morning on the way to school, Jenn made the mistake of asking what I thought of her makeup. The second mistake occurred that morning when I told her exactly.
“It’s too much, Jenn. It looks a little slutty.”
“Ahhhhhhhhhhh!” she screamed. “I can’t believe you just called your own daughter a slut!”
“I did no such thing,” I said. “I said your make up looks slutty. There is a difference! Besides, if you don’t really want to know what I think, don’t ask because I will never lie to you!”
As she continued to vehemently screech her dissatisfaction with my response, I gently asked her, “Are you pms’ing, Jenn?”
“No, I am not!” she bawled. I knew immediately that she in fact was.
After that, she never asked again about her makeup, and I never offered my opinion.
Around the beginning of her junior year in high school, my daughter told me,
“You know what Mom? My English teacher told me the foundation I have been wearing is a little too dark for me. She recommended I try another one that is more the color of my complexion. She said…”
I smiled to myself, and thought, “What have I been saying? Thank you, Miss English teacher. I love you!” LOL!
Here is my card today. I felt a little autumn-ish, so I worked on a Thanksgiving card for today. This is what I cam up with. Hope you like it. I LOVE these colors together.
I always look forward to your comments whether they are about what I’ve written or created, so feel free. Until next time…