The tell-tale ways in which we turn into our mothers

imageAll women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.” – Oscar Wilde

I have noticed some strange quirks in my behaviour over the last few years, which I think have dated from having children, and which have now become too obvious to ignore or to laugh off as a coincidence. I am doing things that my mother does now, and things that she did when she was raising us in the 1980’s and 90’s.

These are some of the signs that made me first realise that I was becoming like my mother:

  1. Using tried and tested stock phrases to your children, usually at moments of high stress:
    • Play session becoming increasingly excitable? It’ll all end in tears;
    • Small spillage from a sippy cup? There’s water all over the floor;
    • No-one listening? It’s like talking to a BRICK WALL.
    • They want more toys, DVDs and clothes? I’m not made of money;
    • Children being particularly irritating? Give me strength;
    • The just-replenished biscuit tin is now empty? You can’t pull the wool over my eyes;
    • Exclaiming, he won’t get there any quicker whilst watching the speeding motorist disappear into the distance;
    • Someone guzzling wine? It’s not pop you know;
    • Children squabbling? If you can’t play nicely, you can’t play at all;
    • Children whining that they don’t have enough to do? Well, I wish I was bored.
  2. Saying ‘Ooof’ whenever you sit down or get up from a seat (whether a comfy sofa or wooden chair) and also when you bend down to pick up an item from the floor.
  3. Mixing up the names of your children ALL THE TIME and calling your son by your husband’s name or your daughter by your sister’s name.
  4. Recognising your child’s cry as either a) tired, b) hungry or c) hurt and if c), reprimanding their sibling who tries to deny any wrongdoing. (Flashback to 30 years ago when I scoffed at the different cries:

Ridiculous! They all sound the same”.
Ah, but a mother knows”.
Pah”.)

  1. When daily routines are controlled by caffeine intake: Ken Bruce’s Pop Pickers is on? Time for a milky coffee. Just had an afternoon stroll to the shops/park? Stick the kettle on, I’m parched.
  2. A fervent obsession with turning off the lights in unoccupied rooms whilst muttering under your breath about pressure on the national grid (my mother also used to exclaim: “it’s like Blackpool illuminations in here”. I don’t do this. Yet).
  3. Using words such as ‘snazzy’ (“that’s a snazzy top”); canoodling (“there was a couple canoodling in the swimming pool and it rather put me off my stroke”) and ‘bit of alright’, as in “he’s a bit of an alright”.
  4. Developing an unnatural pre-occupation with time: looking at your watch before setting off on any journey longer than an hour and announcing to the car that ‘it’s 20 past ten’ as you start the engine and continually stressing about missing a train even though you always arrive at the station 13 minutes early.
  5. Anxiety about driving long distances or to places you haven’t been before and refusing to drive in the dark / at rush hour / when it’s raining / anywhere in London / anywhere that you may have to reverse park.
  6. Realising that Question Time is on too late to stay up for. Sorry, David.
  7. Favouring knickers that provide optimal coverage and comfort over, well, ones that don’t. Thong? In the bin. Not that I like to throw items of clothing in the bin but I don’t even think the local recycling clothes bank would want my cast-off G-strings and I don’t trust my two year old to use them safely as a catapult.
  8. Always having a tissue on one’s person (e.g. stuffed up sleeve / down bra) and favouring clothes – especially pyjamas – with pockets in for that reason.
  9. Developing a general obsession about clothes and linen washing. It’s a sunny breezy day? Perfect for getting the washing on the line. Then furtively checking the washing to see if it’s dry and re-pegging it correctly if someone else hung it out. And is there a bigger treat than getting into bed when the sheets are clean, crisp and cold?
  10. Commentating on TV programmes, whether watching alone or with others. My favourite one is commentating over sport commentary, particularly when watching an important golf tournament with my husband: ‘it’s going in the hole, it’s going in the hole, IT’S GOING IN THE HOLE… Oh, it’s not going in the hole’.

For me, the main sign that I am turning into my mother, at least in some ways, is that I recognise all the above and yet I’m not all that bothered actually. Perhaps this is because I’m a mother now and have therefore given up on all hope of maintaining my identity. Or perhaps I’m just more mature than I used to be. I am not saying that Oscar Wilde was wrong (that would be heresy!) but I find it more, shall we say, tragi-comic than tragic. My husband may disagree. In the hole! 

This Mum's Life
One Messy Mama

25 thoughts on “The tell-tale ways in which we turn into our mothers

  1. Love it! I can confirm that I have indeed started to turn into my mother, stock phrases and all. I can relate to so much you have written here, and it’s really funny – I look forward to more.

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  2. Very entertaining. I always remember being totally mortified at my Mum’s pre and post swimming pool routine. She used to whip her stuff off and walk around naked. Whenever I asked her to cover herself up she would say “once you’ve had a baby you don’t care who sees your bits!”
    I am looking forward to such liberation. Who knows, maybe I won’t just confine it to the swimming pool.

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  3. Love it! Here’s some more even though I’ve tried to resist: saving paper bags (always come in handy), articles I haven’t read (for when I have time weeks later or never), telling my children about their ancestors (their eyes glaze over) xx

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  4. Love this, so so true! Of all the ways you can turn out though, becoming a brilliant mum is a pretty good one. Well done you. And of course,yer mum!!

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  5. Ah Tabby so true, we all just have to give into it don’t we?! My brothers have been telling me for years that I sound just like Mum so clearly I gave into it a while back…At least with all boys in this house I am not at risk of gender misappropriation on names… Daddy, Harry, Paddy all sound the same though so that is particularly tricky and don’t ask me how we ended up with Tommy and Teddy, sounds like a bad joke…

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  6. YES to technophobia! YES to repegging laundry! LOVE that you’ve used the words ‘snazzy’ and ‘pop’ in the same article! The only thing I can’t really relate to is the time obsession curse – don’t think my punctuality problem’s in any danger of improving no matter how many children I have….. Reading this brings your mum perfectly to life. It’s like I’ve known her for years. Thanks for sharing these gems x

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  7. Hahaha omg me too! These are spot on – does this literally just happen to you when you grow up and have children!? I love the one about knickers – my husband stopped the other day and said “what ARE you wearing?” It was a lovely comfy high-waisted pair of undies haha. Get used to it love! #marvmondays

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  8. I’m not sure if I started to turn in to my Mom but I don’t mind because she is the lovlest person I know
    thanks for linking up to #globalblogging

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  9. Its so scary isnt it! I’ve definitely started saying things that my mum used to say, inwardly cringing, then saying it anyway. Defininitely turning into mum (will never admit it to the Mr though!). Great post, thanks for sharing it on #MarvMondays. Emily

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  10. Hahaha, this is brilliantly funny! I could tick most off, does this mean, *gulp*, I am now my mom?!? Yep, I am obsessive about turning the lights off. Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink

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  11. I think I am guilty of most of the above. It used to irritate me when my mum would call me the names of all my siblings before getting it right and now my children are equally irritated when I do it to them. 🙂 Thanks for linking up #globalblogging

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  12. hahaha!!! Oh my golly… I’m too afraid to think about the similarities between my mom and myself… I might die laughing… I play with my earrings just as she does… Wow, lots of “food for thought” in this post! Thanks for sharing lovely 🙂 #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

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