50 ways to love your mother

8

Mom and I November 11, 2014.

I’d been a daughter for 60 years when I wrote the list below with the help of friends and followers. You’d think I would have been and expert at it. Nope. I was still learning. Still exploring. Still discovering what it meant to me. The previous 10 years had changed the way I thought about daughterhood.

I asked friends and followers to share what it meant to them to be a “good daughter.” The diversity of their responses reminded me how individual our paths and relationships are. Inspired by their thoughts and Paul Simon’s tune 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, I created a list of 50 Ways to Love Your Mother.

It would seem there is no one right way to be a good daughter. Only we can be the judge of our relationships.

50 Ways to Love Your Mother

  1. be caring, sensitive, and aware
  2. do well in school, don’t get into trouble with the law, stay clean and sober, don’t “sleep around” or have children out of wedlock
  3. know your daughterly duties and responsibilities
  4. question everything and be a rebel; question nothing and be a conformist
  5. keep in contact when you’re away
  6. do all you reasonably can lovingly
  7. take care of her when she’s sick
  8. understand her humanity and your own
  9. respect her wishes
  10. respect yourself
  11. advocate for her if she can’t advocate for herself
  12. do little things for her
  13. ensure she has good food, good shelter and good clothing
  14. care for her out of love, even when it’s not easy
  15. take what she taught you and build on it to become an extension of her with your own dreams, aspirations, and desires
  16. become a beautiful friend as well as a daughter
  17. stay close by her side to help her as much as you can
  18. travel far and wide to seek and find your own fortune
  19. be a good person
  20. understand neither of you is perfect
  21. forgive her and yourself
  22. grow into the person God meant you to be
  23. follow your heart’s desire and your dreams, and never forget who birthed you
  24. make her proud
  25. stick up for yourself and defend your rights
  26. stick up for her and defend her rights
  27. follow in her footsteps, replicate her life
  28. avoid making the same mistakes she did, lead a life unlike any she would have dreamed possible
  29. do stuff with her that brings her joy and pleasure
  30. protect yourself, even from her if need be
  31. know when to walk to away and know when to stay
  32. practice patience; practice more patience
  33. give her love and support when she needs it
  34. visit her regularly and spend quality time with her
  35. conquer your  fears
  36. share your joys and sorrows, laugh and cry with her
  37. speak your mind
  38. heal your wounds
  39. listen, listen, listen to her
  40. think, think, think for yourself
  41. see and appreciate her for who she is
  42. love yourself because of yourself and despite yourself
  43. be loyal and compassionate
  44. eat sensibly, call home and drive carefully
  45. be your own person; have your own life
  46. be a good girl; be a bad girl
  47. live purposefully and do your best
  48. get up and keep going after you fall or fail
  49. hold her hand when you cross the road
  50. tell great, funny and touching stories at her funeral

This is by no means an exhaustive list. What would your mother’s list for you look like? What would your list for your daughter(s) look like?

Thanks to these daughters who collectively have about 1,000 years’ experience as such for sharing their thoughts with me:

Sally M, Belinda B., Joan L., Tami Beth L., Alice J.D.Y., Mona N. Rosario V.B. Wyld H., Kathleen M., Sheila S., Helen J. M., Mary M., Joan L., Kathy B., Glenna C., Suzette S., Edith R., British D.S., Alice J. D. Y., Jan R., Kim A. S., Denise A., Siempre M., Stephanie R. J., Alison R., Rebecca B., Beverly D., Suzette S., Sally M., Kathy B., Debie O., Carolyn T., Molly C-K.

Thanks to Tami Beth L. for this particularly touching story. And oh yeah, thanks also to Paul Simon for helping us in our struggle to be free 🙂

 

8 Comments

  1. Oops, I meant to post that in reply to your questions–which I think are terrific to think about!

    As for your choice to change your life completely, all I can say is wow and bless you. What a hard choice to have had to make. It almost doesn’t matter what others would have wanted for you. What matters most is what you want for you!

    What I mean is that you have to live with yourself and as such your criteria and values matter most. Years ago, when I was in my last year of college, my parents got a divorce. My father was devastated emotionally and I was crushed to see his depression and despair. I convinced my New England college that I had to spend my last year living in NYC (Where he was living) in order to graduate and then spent that year taking care of him, finishing up my studies and working for the company he had just started. He thought my motivation was to live in NYC and to help grow the new company, but the truth of the matter was that I could not live with myself if I hadn’t stepped in to help him out. 9 years later I left NYC, the company and being his unofficial caretaker as by then he had remarried and had a new baby daughter. I left him in the hands of other loving women and I could go off and live my life.

    I don’t mean to sound like a martyr, because I am not. I enjoyed living there in my 20s and enjoyed getting even closer to him. The point of my story is that while I did it for him, I mostly did it for me! I couldn’t not do it if you know what I mean.

  2. Your posts always stimulate me and my thinking, thank you! It is interesting to think about the 50 ways I could (and would like to) be a better daughter and how different and similar that list is from what I would want my daughter to know about being a good daughter to me.

    • And based on your comment, I’ve added two questions to the end of the post:

      What would your mother’s list for you look like?

      What would your list for your daughter(s) look like?

      🙂

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