“A daughter is a mother’s gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self. And mothers are their daughters’ role model, their biological and emotional road map, the arbiter of all their relationships.” ~ Victoria Secunda
I love this quote by Victoria Secunda. It encapsulates the vital significance of the often complex relationship between a mother and her daughter. Sometimes I think we live in a society that wants to minimize the importance of that primal bond we’re intended to have with our mother. In John Mayer’s song Daughters, where he sadly advises fathers to be good to their daughters after experiencing a bittersweet relationship with a troubled girl, mothers are mentioned almost as an afterthought.
We have Father-Daughter Dances, and shirts proclaiming that we’re a Daddy’s Girl. No one thinks twice when a daughter says, “I hope I don’t end up like my mother,” and most daughters can count on sympathetic groans from their friends when they end up saying, “the older I get, the more like her I become!”
The relationship between fathers and daughters is important too, of course, and not one to be discounted. But it does make me wonder, when did we start eschewing the importance of that vital mother-daughter bond? And why?
For better or worse, as women our lives are inextricably woven into the fabric of our mothers. We are shaped in her womb, developing a connection to our mother through the sound of her voice and the rhythm of her heart. Some daughters never get to meet their biological mother on this side of the womb; maybe death, or addictions, or fate intervened to separate them. But even in the absence of a mother, the connection remains in the curve of a cheek, a genetic aversion to the taste of cilantro, or the longing to have known her better (or at all).
Whether our mother is biological, adoptive, or a stepparent, she takes a role in our earliest memories that can’t be replaced. There is more to inherit than our bone structure and DNA from our parents. We learn how we’re supposed to feel when we look at ourselves in the mirror, what treatment we’re meant to expect from our romantic partners, and how we’re supposed to treat other women. We learn how to react to the disappointments, surprises, and struggles that life will be throwing at us.
We learn to be women from our mothers, and about all the myriad of roles that come part and parcel with the female package: daughters, sisters, friends, co-workers, lovers, wives, and one day perhaps a mother ourselves.
Examining the mother-daughter bonds in your own life can be complicated, even overwhelming in some cases. We don’t always learn the best habits, behaviors, and worldviews from our mothers. In many cases we inherit a tendency to settle for less than what makes us come alive for fear of rocking the boat, and in some extreme cases we learn to tolerate abuse. Sometimes we forget that our mothers are daughters, too, and that habits and ways of thinking can be passed from one generation to the next like a family ring.
That’s why one of the most important things we can do as a women is explore this relationship, to help us gain insight on our own psyche. Whether your relationship with your mother (and/or daughters) is perfect or terrible, close or non-existent, it’s one of the most vital things you can do to understand yourself and how you interact with the other people in your life.
For now, here are few questions to get your mind flowing on your mother daughter bond.
Are there any commonalities in my relationships with female friends, and my mother’s relationships with hers?
Where do I see similarities in my romantic relationship(s) and my mother’s?
Did my mother pass on any odd saying or thought that has stuck with me through the years? Do I repeat it to others?
Of all the things I share in common with my mother, what is the most significant to me?
If you never had a close relationship with your biological mother, your strongest female mother-figure will likely be the one your mind goes to when asking yourself these questions. That’s perfectly fine. You are still a daughter, and always will be.
With Well Loved wishes,
Posted on March 15, 2016 at 8:00 am
Categories: Relationships, Well Loved Woman
Tags: daughter, daughters, family, mother, mother-daughter bond, mothers, quality, relationship, self-fulfillment, self-love, supportive, Susan Boone, values, Well Loved, Well-Loved Woman, Woman