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Mommy-Love This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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In an attempt to grow closer, my youth group leader suggested taking our small group sessions “deeper” by sharing real, serious problems in our lives with each other. It was a great idea, and the first session went well. We girls felt closer afterward, especially since we all had the seal of secrecy stamped across our lips. Nothing draws people together better than a well-kept secret. A few girls cried, everyone was hugging, and at the end we all felt better knowing we didn't have to bear our burdens alone and that we weren't the only ones dealing with those specific problems.

Yet the second time around, our allegedly civilized share-time rapidly deteriorated into a vicious mauling of one specific person in each girl's life: her mother. We did not discuss legitimate life concerns this time. There was none of the depth and sister-like affinity of the previous week. Instead, the most profound statements made went something like “I hate my mom. She's a total idiot, and she doesn't have a clue about parenting.”

Eventually, every girl was yelling in an attempt to be heard over the others detailing the transgressions of their mothers: “My mother won't buy Coca-Cola anymore” … “She wants me to clean my room” … “She made me wear something other than sweatpants to my job interview.”

I would completely sympathize with these girls if their mothers had crystal meth addictions or were bringing home abusive boyfriends or beating them. But these mothers were simply trying to do what their title implies: be mothers. They wanted to know where their daughters were at 2 a.m. They didn't like midriff-baring tops and short skirts. They wanted their daughters to be respected by their peers and to succeed at school, in life. They wanted to express their love by showing interest in their daughters' lives. I was troubled by the lack of respect these girls had for their mothers.

I, like every other person on this planet, also have a mother (surprise, surprise), so I understand that the mother-daughter relationship can be tense. My mom and I definitely have our days when we can't be in the same room without steam shooting from our ears. We've have bad weeks. Yet I realize that more often than not, I am equally to blame (if not more so) for our arguments. I admit it freely: I'm argumentative. Sometimes, even when someone says something I agree with, if I hear a loophole in the reasoning, I simply have to take advantage of it. Even if I try to respectfully agree with my mother, sometimes just a bit of that sauciness creeps into my voice. In my defense, my mom has the hearing of a bat, and often detects sarcasm in my voice that honestly is not there.

But Mom and I have our good times too. We've laughed so hard we've cried. We've snuggled on the couch and watched chick flicks (in a house full of guys, it's hard to find someone who'll watch Pride and Prejudice for the thirty-eighth time). We've talked about guys and school, friends and life. I can genuinely say that my mother and I are good friends.

Yet, typical of close friends, not a day goes by when we don't have some sort of quarrel, or when I listen to music that she doesn't approve of, or when she asks me to bathe our dog after he's rolled in poop and I don't necessarily refuse point-blank … I just never exactly get around to it.

All I'm trying to say is, moms and daughters have their ups and downs. I can't say how long those ups and downs will last, and granted, I don't know what your mother is like. I'm only speaking from my experience. But I do know that mothers and daughters contribute equally to their disagreements. It takes two to argue. Additionally (and I can't believe I'm actually saying this; if my mom reads this I'm screwed next time we have a fight), there remains the simple fact that she is the mother and I am the daughter. As such, I owe her a certain degree of respect, obedience, and – however difficult it may be at time – love.

So whenever I'm arguing with my mother and I feel like she's being ridiculous, I remind myself that my mom can be my best friend in the whole world, but her first priority is to be my mother.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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kennyj20099 said...
May 31, 2011 at 12:25 am
that was a really good article :) im glad that there are other people out there that feel the same way about their moms as i do. well written and very true. good job! :D
 
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