Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sorry, honey. I've just become my mother. (But you like my mother, right?)

"Don't you use that tone with me."
"I guess this is why we can't have nice things."
"Because I said so."
"Don't make me say it again."
"I'm going to count to three."

Those are all phrases that have fallen out of my mouth in the last few months. I didn't want to say them; I didn't even know they were in my head. I do recognize them though - they were all phrases my parents said to me when I was growing up. They are like parenting sleeper cells - they were planted in my brain when I was young, and they were just waiting for my son to do something incredibly offbeat in order to be activated. I've been a bystander in a parental phrase attack.

As soon as I heard them, I should have apologized to my son. And then, I should have called my mother and apologized for whatever I originally did to make her say one of those phrases to me (seriously, I'm sorry Mom.)

But maybe the transformation into my mother is inevitable. After all, recent studies in the U.K. have been tracking the metamorphosis for years. It all starts at the impressionable age of 14. At 14, researchers have found that we first start to see our parents as vulnerable. Then we get sucked into our own teenage toxic mix of drama and selfishness, so it is not until the age of 28 that we first start to get to know our parents better. By 28, we've met a lot of friends and seen their dysfunctional families, so we have a wider sphere of comparison and all that hindsight that comes with time. We've had some of our own successes and failures at life and maybe we've thought about or started families of our own.

The study shows that it really does take more than a decade to truly value our parents. Yikes. That's a long time. (You are really patient, Mom!)

Continuing this theme, a poll by the website Netmums, has identified the age of 32 as the point in which people become a copy of their mother or father. That's right, only four years after learning the value of your parents, do you become them.

I am over the age of 32, so let me just say this: I like being my mother. She is a woman who knows who she is, she is always learning and she has a lovely streak of sarcasm that I've come to enjoy and expect. She has taught me lots of things in life, such as how to cook, how to write a proper thank you note (more on that later) and even why clothes all need pockets.

What parenting phrase have you unwittingly resurrected from your childhood past? When do you think you started acting like your parent?

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