Diary of a MomFamily LifeMotherhood

Like Mother Like Daughter?


mother,daughter relationship


By Mai Hassan
From our archives: March 2008

The relationship between a mother and her children is one of the most significant and inspirational relationships a woman has in her life. In this piece, we will sneak a quick peek into the mother-daughter bond.

We’ve all probably heard the many universal proverbs that basically claim, “Like mother, like daughter.” I am sure that many of us remember how our mothers drove us crazy throughout the years, and our mothers can undoubtedly recall how stressful the relationship was at certain times, especially during our teen years when we believed our mothers were so out of touch with our lives. But then again, there’s   no denying that the power of the mother-daughter bond exists, even if the bond isn’t as strong as you might like.

Let’s go back in time a bit. Think back to the times when you were three or four years old and your mother seemed like Superwoman to you – someone whom you felt knew everything, could take care of anything and could make the world seem so safe and perfect. You would wear her jewelry, put on her high heels, smear your face with her lipstick and eye shadow and wander around the house pretending to be her, wanting to be “just like mommy.” Just a few years later, the storm hits when you reach your teens and overnight, she becomes the person who cannot seem to understand anything about you. All you want to do is to run away as far as possible from her. A few more years later, if you’re fortunate to still have her around, you rediscover each other as adults and your mom becomes your best friend again. Isn’t that pretty much how it goes?

I look at my own ten year old daughter now and find such fulfillment in the love and admiration she shows me. Like most mothers, I value the incredibly amazing job of being the most influential female role model (after Vanessa Hudgens from High School Musical of course) in my daughter’s life. Knowing that what a girl sees her mother doing lays down the groundwork for her future lifestyle as a young woman, wife, and mother, I take this role very seriously. Right now, she is my biggest fan and I am number one on her chart, a situation which is often criticized by people around me who worry that our bond is too strong. I always tell them to let me enjoy these few years because I know the storm is right around the corner. Whether it’s in two or three years, it’s coming, slowly creeping up on us.

And this is where the basic question arises…. When you are the mother of a girl, in the back of your mind you ask yourself time and again, “Will she grow up to be just like me and, more importantly, do I want her to?” Have you ever heard yourself say, “Oh no, I sound just like my mother!” and jump around hysterically to shake off the idea? Girls spend so much time learning who they are from their mothers, but there is a fine line between looking forward to your daughter being just like you and hoping, at the same time (and for her own good) that she’ll be nothing like you! If you put yourself in her shoes, you should really ask yourself: Are you just like your mother? Even though you value and respect her, is this what you want? To my surprise, many mothers I know are asking similar questions. However most surprising (and amusing, I might add) was to discover that the fear of growing up to be just like one’s own mother has been widespread for so long among women internationally that it actually has a name, matrophobia (don’t laugh, I’m not making this up).

I cannot deny that there is a strong need in me to see my daughter as an improved version of myself. It is a somewhat selfish feeling that craves to be satisfied – a feeling of the need to be rewarded for all the labors of being a mom and is a desire I can’t escape. I would like to know that, with a bit of luck, I’ve made a huge difference in her life.  Nonetheless, after a long and complicated thought process, I honestly believe that the best gift I can give my daughter as she grows up and matures, is the freedom and space (along with my blessing) to let her be who she wants to be.

To cut a long story short, we mothers know we have one of the most difficult jobs out there, but also one of the most gratifying. And despite the fact that for the majority of us our children are our main reason to celebrate life, we cannot close our eyes to the fact that our relationships with our daughters will be rocky every now and then, just like our own relationships were with our mothers. Our daughters may get their “how-to-be-a-girl” tips  from us; however, we should be able to encourage them to establish their own uniqueness, nature, and personality as they develop into adulthood (ok, so that may be easier said than done!). The mother-daughter relationship is one that will evolve over the years, and while your daughter will hopefully always be your biggest fan, you should support her to be her own woman and pray that your relationship will mature as she matures.

Special thanks to Farida Stino, Marriage, Family & Child Therapist, for her insight.

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