Ties That Bind

The unique relationship between mothers and daughters & fathers and daughters.


The Mother/Daughter Relationship

A mother’s eyes are the first we see and hers is the first secure touch we feel when we enter this world. As grown women, we seek nothing less than to be like our mothers, but by the time we have become a teenager and our mother is insisting we dress appropriately and doesn’t seem to care about our opinions or feelings, we rebel. We swear that we’ll never be like our mother, then in the next moment we seek to win her approval.

Later, as adults taking care of our own families, careers, children we realize we are more like our mothers than we ever cared to admit. And, whether right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. She’s our mother and when she observes that our haircuts or our boyfriends are all wrong, it isn’t to criticize, it’s for our own good. In her heart we deserve the ring, the prince and the white picket fence. Then one day we realize we are now mothers because our clothes reek of baby spit. Our lack of sleep, sex drives and me-time are the norm, and our mother has morphed into Glenda—the good grandma of the west. Our kids find her fascinating, funny and brilliant. She sings wonderful songs, bakes delicious cookies and tells wild stories about far away lands and magical animals. While struggling to live up to the standard of motherhood we believe she judges us by, we somehow realize it is completely self-imposed.

If we, as mothers and daughters are fortunate, something occurs that changes the relationship forever. It may happen while dancing around the house together or laughing at things no one else in the world would find funny. In that instant, preconceived roles fade away and we discover each other as women. For the first time, we are able to view our mothers as women who have songs of triumph and sadness; who have found, savored, basked in and lost love. Our mothers are travelers, workers, achievers and fabulous Mambo dancers; They have souls that guide them and like all of us, they are doing the best they can.

One day it changes again. Suddenly our moms have trouble walking and getting around quickly, but we still need them to be our rocks, someone we can fight with yet still go with to buy shoes. After so many years on the planet they have declared themselves emancipated and refuse to cater to anyone. Moms can hang up the phone and tune us out when we disagree, yet brag about us to all their friends.

No man ever understands the Mother/ Daughter relationship. How could they? We don’t always understand it ourselves. Better for the men to just get out of the way and let us work it out ourselves. More than any other, the Mother/Daughter relationship shapes our self-esteem and our sense of who we are as women. It is our most precious relationship, as it links us to the generations of women before us and those who are yet to come.