Leave a Comment

Why I’m reclaiming the phrase: "You sound like your mother!"

Since before I can remember, there have been mothers. Ok, so probably since the dawn of time. Either way, we can all agree they didn’t come down in the last shower. At least mine didn’t, that’s for sure. She told me so. Several times.

As a mother myself, I didn’t come down in the last shower, either. That shower was about 10 minutes ago and my son is 3 and a half. I have contemplated pointing this out to him, although I think the sarcasm might be a little too subtle. He’d likely reply by saying, “but mum, our shower is in the bathroom”, or, if he’s super tired and not really listening, “but I don’t want to have a shower!”

I’m sewing a pair of curtains for his bedroom. They’re dark blue with a pattern of little red and yellow rockets all over. I was talking to my bestie on the phone about them today, and as I’m chatting away a thought pops into my head: I sound just like my mother. Immediately I felt its barbs try to stick into me. And boy, was it carrying a lot of baggage! This one single thought was trying to make me feel bad about getting older, about sewing, about curtains, about rocket-ship material, about not simply buying some from the shop and spending my time on something appropriately youthful. I mean, sewing curtains? Am I stuck in 1989?

So I decided to take that barbed phrase, and own it!  Yes, I am getting older. I can’t deny that I have started to listen to country music, and I couldn’t name one song on Video Hits at the moment. Wait, do they even still have that?

Yes, I am sewing a pair of curtains. I watched my own mother sew curtains plenty of times as a kid, and the only reason I am even able to attempt such a feat now is that she taught me how to sew! And yes, I’m sure she spoke to her friends about it, her being a woman and women being fond of talking. So I probably did sound a bit like her, given that I also am a woman, and can talk. What’s better, is my voice also actually SOUNDS like hers. She leaves messages on my answering machine and I think it’s me! Funny thing, that DNA.

Yes, I did choose a cute, colourful fabric instead of something fashionably monotone and gender-neutral. My childhood bedroom had the most awesome people-patterned curtains, made by my mother, and I remember spending hours looking at their different faces, hair colours, clothing and smiles. Not much to look at in a stripe.

So if I do things that my mother would do, or say things that she would say, it’s because she was a great role model of how to be one. When I was a kid I saw her doing and saying “mum” things every day, but they didn’t come with any negative connotations. They just were.

Last year there was an advertising campaign that went viral called #LikeAGirl, which aimed to make girls feel better about themselves by turning the phrase, “like a girl” into a compliment rather than an insult. I think it’s time to give mothers the same positive spin. #likemymother

I’m pretty sure my mother doesn’t sew curtains anymore. She’s got better things to do. Luckily for my kids, though, I’ve become the mother-of-small-children version of her, and not the retired, gallivanting around the world, collector-of-breakable-objects version.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s