I always promised myself that this would never happen, that I would not become the reincarnation of my mother and probably my much loved and missed grandmother.
But, ‘they’ say it runs in families so therefore I have only my mother to blame for sounding like my mother.
I find myself in situations repeating the same catch phrases I heard my mother say and it makes me die with embarrassment.
Shopping with my eldest son recently who was looking to update his wardrobe with the clothes vouchers he’d been given for christmas, I found myself saying to him ‘why would you want to wear that‘, or, that’s completely impractical’.
CRAP! I’ve just said something my mother would have said!
When I buy things I inadvertently say out loud you can’t get the same quality as you use to, it’s not the same as it was when I was fifteen.
I moan at bad customer service, ‘it just isn’t like it use to be, I wish the person on the end of the phone could actually speak english, or how long does it take to get served,’ are all part of the long repertoire of catch phrases and comments that my mum had stashed in her verbal armoury.
Ahhh I check myself in the mirror and note to my my slowly growing horror I am actually metamorphosing into my mother.
There I said it, scary but true.
I’ve even got the same ‘roman nose’ and the fine lines that run down either side of my protrusio, a feature that has been passed along the female generations.
I can’t seem to stop myself because when I say something that reminds me of my mum, the look on my face is one of shame, because I can recall those exact same words that were said to me when I was my children’s age.
I sound like my mother.
Whilst I know my mum only had the very best of intentions and my interests at heart, I felt I couldn’t comfortably express or be myself for fear of her disapproval.
Disco night on a Friday, I’m fifteen and I have chosen an outfit that I believe will seek her approval. After having left the house I sneak back into the garage to get out my grungy army dungarees, big fluffy jumper and Dr Martens boots.
That and my mod badges running up and down my parkka you’d be forgiven trying to figure out if I was punk or mod.
But if my mother had seen me dressed like this her indignation and scorn would have reverberated in my mind and still haunts me now.
I can picture her face when my friend came with her mum to pick me up as we headed off to the disco at the local sea scout community centre.
I waited until the last possible minute before slowly coming downstairs desperate to avoid her cutting comments but I failed and there she stared at me as I headed toward the door to exit as fast as I could, I can recall her saying ‘is that what they are wearing now!’
But often during my teenage years it was her way or no way.
Looking back I realise that her comments weren’t malicious, it was her way of expressing disapproval.
I have, since becoming a mother forced myself to behave differently with my own children which is challenging to say the least especially when my eleven year old co-ordinates some very interesting and colourful combinations of clothing.
At which point I find myself saying very gently not sure that orange really goes too well with maroon, go and have a look in the mirror and see what you think?
As parents I believe it is our job to encourage self-expression in our children, why shouldn’t they feel comfortable in their own skin and choice of clothes, without being put down or being made to feel small.
But, as daughters of mothers who were perhaps less than approving the effort to seek parental approval was hard work and the sense of failure at times was difficult to bear and I am certain I do not want to pass on this trait to my children.
If you do that again, I’ll tell your father when he comes home!