I rarely did—at least not on a conscious level, and certainly not past the age of eight. I was a bit of a nightmare, or “spirited,” as we say these days. I took my poor mom, who got swollen and bitchy and round in pregnancy just to bring me into the world, completely for granted.
You see, I was a daddy’s girl. I was his precocious little thing and I idolized him for being—in my mind—the most powerful person in the house. Mom was too weak for me. When I saw copies of Codependent No More and The Road Less Traveled on her nightstand I decided I didn’t want to be like her. So why should I listen?
My own daughter is 15 now and my thoughts and I ideas are very different now. I had it all wrong. I should have listened to my mother. Not so much to what she said or didn’t say, but listened deeper to understand who she was and for the ways we were the same.
She was, and still is, a kind woman with the same basic human needs for security, belonging and survival as me and everyone else. The value of her soft, traditionally feminine qualities escaped me then. The caring, loving and codependence in her voice are the qualities I now find I need most as a mother. I reached out and made amends for all the havoc I caused, and like a good mother, she was there and back in my life. After all of these years, she now has me ear.
Come listen to mother’s take the mic in San Francisco and elsewhere around the country as they celebrate mom’s at Listen to Your Mother! The show features my friend Joy Latimer, author of The Parenting Myth, and one of the funniest Scottish lass’s I know. Don’t miss it!