People have always told me that I’m a lot like my mother, but I didn’t start to see it for myself until I became an adult. As I get older, I have more and more conversations with my mom where we say things like, “Me too! I’m the exact same way.”
For instance, recently my mom was recounting a situation at work and she said something like, “I’m never comfortable giving out information unless I am 100% sure that it’s correct so I assume that everyone else is 100% certain about what they’re saying as well.”
“I’m like that too!” I told her. Then we talked about how this seemingly positive trait often sets us up for thinking that other people are always more informed or bigger experts on subjects than we are, when actually, a lot of people are just speaking confidently out of their asses.
You don’t realize these things until later in life.
Teleflora just launched their “Just Like Her” campaign for Mother’s Day and asked me to write about all the ways in which I’m like my mom, so I’ve been giving this a lot of thought.
Here’s a similarity that I’ve come to recognize since we’ve been traveling a lot with the kids lately. Whenever we traveled as a family when I was younger, my mom would wake us up early and she’d have a million things planned for us to see and do during the day. My mom is a doer. No moment is ever wasted. I’m the same. I like constant action. If I wake up late or spend the whole day indoors, it makes me feel like I threw the day away. People always comment on Snapchat about how I’m always out and about doing so many different activities with the kids and I always say that it’s because we have no room to hang out in our apartment. That’s true, but it’s also true that I inherited my mom’s “carpe diem” gene.
We’re also both night owls. Which is great because at midnight when my whole house is sleeping, I can usually text her and she’ll still be awake too. We both just see more value in getting stuff done while we’re awake than having a good night’s sleep.
We’re also both people pleasers, although while I make my need to please more about being flexible and not creating conflicts, my mom goes another step and is super generous with her time and her willingness to help.
Thinking about the similarities between me and my mom made me start wondering if Mazzy and Harlow would one day recognize ways in which they are similar to me. Have they inherited any of my virtues or idiosyncrasies?
Mazzy definitely inherited my creative gene. She loves drawing and storytelling. And no matter what she creates, she always weaves in a little comedy. “Isn’t that funny, Mom?” she’ll ask me. She used to really appreciate broader humor, which she associates with her Dad, but I think as she gets older, she is beginning to see the nuances and sarcasm of Mommy’s humor. She has excellent comedic timing, which makes me very proud.
Often we’ll talk about what she wants to be when she grows up and I always try to expose her to all the creative positions that I never knew existed as a kid. I wanted to do something creative and I thought that meant I could be an artist, an actress or a musician. I never gave any thought to all the jobs that make up every one of those industries. I love to use my friends as examples— they are art directors, fashion designers, party planners, and home decorators. They all got there because of an interest in art, just like Mazzy. She loves tech too so I’ve talked to her about how art and tech combine to make animated movies. I love thinking about what would have gotten me excited as a kid and sharing it with Mazzy, because I know these possibilities will excite her too.
Another similarity is how we interact with our peers. Mazzy puts great value on her friendships, treats everyone fairly and would never hurt a fly. All wonderful traits. But having been like this my whole life, I know how it can make things difficult too. For instance, if Mazzy gets into a disagreement with a friend, that friend might say something hurtful to her and she’ll get upset. It wouldn’t even occur to her to say something hurtful to the person back. She really doesn’t understand why anyone would want to make another person feel bad. This is a good thing! But it also means that she is often the one who leaves a quarrel feeling wronged and like the friendship is ultimately more important to her than it is to her friend. This same trait made me very vulnerable as a kid and I often try to advise her with the hindsight of knowing exactly how I felt in these same situations. I wouldn’t want her to act differently, but it’s important for her to know that when someone says something mean, it says more about them than it does about you. I wish I understood that when I was her age.
Mazzy also shares my love of adventure. She is up for anything, totally fearless and also wants to have an action-packed day. I guess this means that trait was passed down from my mom to me to Mazzy. I bet the three of us would travel really well together.
Harlow beats more to her own drummer. She’s got a big personality and loves to perform. She’s weird and quirky in all the best ways. She reminds me a lot of what I was like when I was really little, before I started to care more about what people thought of me. Once I reached a certain age, I tried to stay more under the radar. What I try to do with Harlow is really encourage her to be her unique self. I treasure the quirks and the enthusiastic performances and make sure she knows that what makes us different is much more special than what makes us the same. I don’t want her ever to think she has to hide her Harlow-ness.
Not a lot of people know this about me, but I used to think I was going to have a career in musical theater. I sang everywhere I went, whatever I could, whether people were listening or not. Harlow does the same. When we were in Park City and Harlow skied down a slope for the very first time, it gave me so much pleasure to listen to her hum a tune while she did it. I’ve been singing while I ski since I was a kid but that’s not something she ever would have witnessed me doing. Just born with the ski singing gene, I guess!
One thing my mom always did for me was encourage me to be myself and pursue what I was interested in. She didn’t really try to shape my personality or my likes and dislikes. She supported everything. She was always proud. That’s a set of characteristics I really hope I continue to practice as a mom now myself.
And that night owl thing? Clearly, Mazzy and Harlow caught that gene from my mom and me too, because they definitely didn’t get it from their dad.
If I’m lucky, one day far in the future, my kids will know that they can text me at midnight and I’ll be there to respond, just like my mom is now.
I’m giving away three $100 Teleflora gift cards in the comments below! Just tell me one way in which you are like your mom or your kids are like you. I’ll pick three winners at random on May 10th, so you can order your bouquets in time for Mother’s Day!
Congratulations to Jenny W, Whitney H and Heather M! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize!