While starting out on this blog, I was unclear on how I could define thislifelong and irreplaceable bond that I share both with my mother and mydaughter in the same breath. After all the mother-daughter relationship isoften as complex as it is endearing and precious. So in an attempt to explainthis impossible to define relationship I decided to give you a glimpse of howmy perspective on situations has changed from my young “daughter-only” years tomy role today as a daughter and a mother of a young girl!
The toddler years
In my younger days my mother was the center of my universe, as is the casefor most tiny tots. I remember demanding her constant attention and insistingthat she spend every waking moment of her time with me. Tugging at her sleeveand dragging her from her chair, no matter what she was upto was a regularfeature. At that time, I genuinely believed that her only role in life was tobe my mom. In fact as I grew up, she was my ultimate role model, and myfavorite thing to do was to try on her clothes and smear her lipstick all overmy face!
Today, when I have been through the experience of being a mother to atoddler myself, I am able to truly appreciate the amount of time and effort sheput into raising both my sister and me. I can’t even imagine where she drew herpatience from, for she was always there, whenever we needed her, irrespectiveof what she was doing and with a smile, saying, “Yes, darling, what is it thatyou want?” I just take the cue from her, no matter how busy my day looks, orhow many other things I have to juggle. (And yes, I do have pictures of mydaughter, dressed in my clothes, applying my nail paint on her fingers, just asmy mother had clicked me, applying lipstick on my face, with her high heels onmy tiny feet!)
The Teenage years
The breakneck speed with which the exchanges can travel from loving to toxicbetween a mother and a daughter during the teenage years can sometimes be evenmore dramatic than an Ekta Kapoor television soap. Sometimes you love her,sometimes you hate her. Sometimes she’s the last person you want to see. Butshe’s the first one you call for advice. That is the seesaw of feelings betweenmothers and daughters in these fragile years.
These are also the years, when a mother is trying to reign in her daughterwhile dealing with a number of hot button issues, such as boys, academics,career and independence. I remember often running into confronting situationswith my mom on why I can’t go to my friends place for sleepovers, or why Ican’t buy that particular dress, or why I need a curfew to come back home inthe evenings.
I often thought I was misunderstood by my mom back then, but today, I trulythank her for the way she handled me and for the kind of person I have become.After all the teenage years are when we think we have understood the realitiesof life that our parents unfortunately just don’t get! Now when I see the samefiery relationship between my daughter and me, I appreciate the gumption andpatience it took on my mother’s part to tactfully handle these delicate years,while still ensuring we blossomed into the best of friends in the years tocome!
The Grown up years
Once a girl has tided through her teenage years, she not only transstrikesinto the woman she is going to be, but also, there is a distinct change in herrelationship with her mother. All of sudden, you see your mom as an individual,as a woman, as a friend, correction, as a best friend! This metamorphosis inthe mother-daughter relationship is forever. While the toddler years were spentnurturing, bonding and idolizing, the teenage years spent delicately handling avolatile teenager, the mother finally gets a chance to enjoy her daughterthrough the grown up years, as she finds her own feet and builds her own life.This is when a mother, ceases to be just a disciplinarian and a nurturer, butalso takes on a new role, that of a best friend, a mentor and a guide.
These are the years, I can say beyond doubt, I enjoyed the most with mymother, especially before I got married and started my own family. I can’trecall the number of times my mother and I would just take off on our own, fora movie, or for dinner, or even a holiday, not needing any other company. Howwe could crack up on the silliest of things, advice each other on what to wear,what to buy and how to handle situations. Right from me telling my mom how tohandle an argument with my father to her providing an opinion on the bestcareer move for me, everything under the sun was discussed and still is. Todayshe guides me, more silently, than with words, on the kind of parent I can be,and the kind of values I can impart to my daughter. And I truly look forward tomy teenager growing up to be a strong independent person, who I can enjoy beinga friend and a mentor to.
My mother and I respect and love each other, immensely, and moreimportantly, understand each other, in a way that only a mother and daughtercan. After a tumultuous journey, of admiration and arguments, I am proud of thekind of friends that my mother and I have become and hope to forge a similarfriendship with my daughter. In fact she is my inspiration as I work towardsmolding my relationship with my teenage daughter.
Would love to know about your journey as a daughter and a mother and thekind of experiences you shared with your mom, your best friend!