It can be hard to know what to do when you start becoming your mother, even though it is often easy to recognize that it is in fact happening. The first notion you may have can come when you are a teen or tween and you happen to notice a resemblance in a picture, maybe the hair style, the smile , the expression , the stance. There’s just something there that you can connect to yourself. And if you are taking high school biology you put it together, see it as totally normal and move on.
But when you move into your adult years more evidence begins to pile up. You react to things the same way, calmly or in a huff, just like your mom. You may find yourself pursuing the same kind of employment or sharing similar interests or hobbies. The first similarity that may really shake you a bit and start you thinking about what to do when you start becoming your mother often comes when you have children of your own. When they need to be disciplined you can’t help but hear your mother’s voice as you work to establish control. You smile at first at the ease with which you so frequently slip into using the same expressions, words of warning or comfort.
Real concern about what to do when you start becoming your mother probably comes off the back burner when some stranger innocently asks you if you and your mom are sisters. You can’t help wondering if the morphing process is really underway and you really are turning in to your mom. At times like that, and many of us share that experience, a few friendly suggestions can be of help.
First relish the fact that your mom, for good or bad, at one time probably went through exactly what you are going through. After all you, your mom and grandmother all share space in your family’s genetic pool. You can actually reduce your worries about what to do when you start becoming your mother if you have a chat about how she felt when she felt like she was becoming your grandmother. That’s the kind of conversation that will help you to air out your own concerns and show you the human humor involved in our growing and aging and one from which you both are likely to draw a few laughs. Your mom, more likely than not, will be pleased that you feel you are like her, but will also be the first to inform you how much you are really your own person and maybe, from her viewpoint, actually not that much like her at all, more like Uncle Harold.
Have a second conversation with your own children about how much you feel sometimes like your mom. They too will set you straight. While they can see the likeness, perhaps better than most, they also know you from the inside out and most times will give you an honest feedback about how you are like and unlike grandma. They may also take the opportunity to express their own feelings about becoming more like you every day. It can be quite a cross generational sharing and something you talk about with your kids that doesn’t end up in a new rule for their behavior.
Your spouse too can offer a very up close and personal reminder of who you really are, how you are unique and distinct from your mom in oh so many ways. Reassurance from this person who is the closest to you can do a lot to take the fear of morphing into mom off your worry list pronto.
Still concerned about what to do when you start turning into your mom? Take action beyond just simple conversations. Re-establish confidence in your unique personality by picking up some of your interests from the past that do not connect at all with your mom, interests and activities that you discovered or pursued on your own, especially interests that your mom might have always thought frivolous. That’s right, think through how you are spending whatever little free time you have and determine to use it in ways that speak to your inner self.
Maybe it’s taking a swim class, joining a book club, taking out that old cook book just for fun . But do something that just says YOU instead of MOM. The activity itself isn’t important, but stepping out and being who you want to be, doing what you want to do is.
Finally remember as you try to reduce the likelihood that you are in fact becoming your mother, there truly are worse things that could happen in your life. Lots of your mom’s qualities are ones that you would chose for your own children. Remember her kindness, her patience, her willingness to help and you will begin to feel a little better about being just like her. Then, if all else fails remember things really could be worse. You could be morphing into your Dad!