Thursday, March 8, 2012

adventures in motherhood: becoming your parents.

Have you ever looked into the mirror and wondered what your mom was doing there?

(people always tell me I look just like my mom -- you'll have to make up your own mind! I don't have her rad glasses, though.)

Since becoming a mother, I've been thinking a lot about the influence my parents had on me -- intentional and unintentional -- when it came to shaping me as a future parent. (By the way, hey there, Mom and Dad...)

It's hard to know exactly where I'll stand when it comes to sleepovers and learning to drive and breaking curfew and having boys over, but I can already feel myself making decisions about my daughter that are a direct reflection on my own upbringing.

Like staying connected to extended family, for example: even when times were tight, my parents committed to visiting both sets of grandparents every year -- twice a year when my brother and I were little, and then without fail every single summer. (My father, however, was not committed to traveling in comfort; we drove from Minnesota to Nashville in a little Ford Escort with no air conditioning. Brutal!) And I grew up knowing my mom's cousins well enough to be the guest book attendant at one of their weddings.

(on the left, my mom's family [that's my mom, fourth from the right on the couch]; on the right, my dad's mother)

And putting family first: my mom drove me to youth orchestra every Saturday morning for 6 years and never missed one of my swim meets, while my dad got me to every 6 a.m. school orchestra rehearsal on time and knew my teachers so well that they traded book recommendations.

At the same time, I worry about becoming my parents, too -- my mom worried so incessantly that she wound up hospitalized for it, my dad was so scary in his black-and-white ultimatums about how the world should work that I'm still terrified to walk in the grass barefoot, and my parents didn't go on a trip alone together until after my brother and I were in college.

(Clockwise: my parents and me, my poor jaundiced baby brother home from the hospital, our family, with my dad on a camping trip. Why is it that moms are usually behind the camera instead of in front of it? I should really get people to take pictures of L and me more often...)

Since I've been thinking about how my parenting reflects how I was parented, I figured the rest of you have wondered the same thing -- and that's why I've asked some pretty amazing women I know from real life and the blogosphere to share their thoughts on how their own upbringings have shaped them as mothers. Next week, I'll be featuring 5 interviews here on the blog; I'm so excited to share these bloggers' insights and experiences with you!

And if you decide to write your own "becoming your parents" post, I hope you'll link up to mine -- I'd love to learn more about what shaped your parenting decisions, too!


  1. You have me horrified! I've never batted an eye at walking barefoot in grass during the summer. In fact, I not only do it, but it was such a huge part of my own childhood that it has crept it's way into almost all of my art/craft and designwork by way of the grass image I use. I kind of scoffed thinking "I've never had hookworm and walked in the grass plenty" and thought it was nothing to worry about, then I did a little research and even though there are conflicting images on google, the wikipedia page says it has no specific symptoms. It's apparently a leading cause of maternal and child morbidity in developing countries. It can also cause cognitive retardation and now I wonder if maybe I sometimes get a case of the hookworms when I am not thinking clearly. Thanks Mom and Dad!

  2. I pray I become like my parents. They were so good to me.

  3. It's a vicious cycle. I want to be my mom and then be completely different than my mom every day. : )

    Love these photos!

  4. Aww I love these old photos! Even though I am nowhere near being a mother yet, I think about this stuff too. Ian and I both had excellent parents, but we were both brought up kind of differently so I'm interested to see how our own parenting style will evolve!

    Also, I definitely agree that you look like your mom!