“You’re acting just like your mother.”
The second my husband utters these word, I feel cold dread creep into my heart, and am overcome with a colossal sense of failure after years of attempting to be anything thus.
Of course, this might be the curse of having a fabulous mother. As a teenager, I spent years dreaming about what it would be like to have a horrible one. Someone who could validate my moody feelings. Give me a reason to write brooding songs and lament about the perils of my tumultuous life via dramatic romances and various shades of neon hair dye. It’s just so much less convenient for your street cred to have Betty Crocker as your mom.
To her credit, my mother was the captain of the cheer-leading squad in high school. She was voted class president in college, before marrying her high school sweetheart (46 years going strong). She could turn a pile of rocks into a blossoming garden, clean an entire house with the blink of an eye, turn a trash bag into a wedding ring quilt, and still somehow never mange to have regrowth in her flawlessly blonde hair. In a twisted way, it was like a Disney princess raising Maleficent.
Meanwhile, I continue to feel like the cast of Glee on any given day (always five minutes away from a Slushy facial and bursting into a somber power ballad by Celine Dion). Instead of rising to my mother’s fabulous standards, I spent the better part of my teenage years making fun of the cheerleading squad, finding ways to kill flowerbeds of annuals (yes, it’s possible), and discovering that the only way I can sew anything involves duct tape and a plethora of expletives.
But the beautiful thing about my mother is that despite our innate differences, she always strived to love her children unconditionally. This is something that amazes me as a mom myself, because on any given day I feel like my 4 year old and I are straight out of a Sean Penn marriage: you never know what sort of drama will ensue. Will I ever be able to love her when she stops taking my advice? When she does exactly what I tell her not to do (including wearing foundation not remotely resembling her skin tone?) What about when she slams the door, rolls her eyes, and yells horrible things (or perhaps even does all three at once?)
And then my husband says those words again: “you’re acting just like your mother.” And I realize something… why would I want anything less? If that means I’ll put my children first, worry about them every night, and appreciate them every day… hallelujah. If I can love them just as much throughout their mistakes as their triumphs… amazing. And if I can look at them for all of their differences, for all of their individual qualities, for all of their independent ideas, and see something so perfectly beautiful that it takes my breathe away.. well, then..I guess you can call me “mom.”
It doesn’t matter how old I get (or how much my roots begin to show along the way)…motherhood is about that unstoppable, unconditional, insurmountable love that so many of us are blessed with. And even though I am far from perfect…it’s my children’s imperfections that should truly be celebrated.
Being a mother is about loving who we are no matter what (or how different we may be), so if you think I’m acting just like my mother? Go ahead.
Bring it on.
Bailey Vincent Clark is the Editor-in-chief, author and founder of Makeover Momma. She talks about Mealtime Makeovers on Monday, “Speedy Advice With Makeover Momma” On Wednesday, and has a weekly column on Friday: “Getting Friendly With Makeover Momma.” If you would like to ask questions, submit concerns or simply chat: please email firstname.lastname@example.org.