Are You Turning Into Your Mother?

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” Exodus 20:12.

I find myself doing or saying the exact same things my mom would do or say while I was growing up. We all have those Oh-my-gosh-I'm-turning-into-my-mother moments. We also have those realizations that we'll "never do X, Y, or Z" like our mothers did. These typically start in high school or college, when we begin to critically assess how we were raised and what we’d like to do differently. 

Unfortunately for everyone involved, those small revelations about my childhood turned into periods of critiquing my parents, which turned into years of criticizing them (and really hurting their feelings in the process).

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These wonderful people, who fought so hard to keep our family afloat, sacrificed their whole selves for their children. They loved deeply and with everything they had. I imagine it’s difficult to hear someone not appreciate the gift of your life you’ve laid down. To hear how you’ve “wounded” them when you were trying so desperately to do anything but. 

Feeling guilty about my unjust condemnations does nothing for us now, but it has deepened my understanding and widened my perspective. The appreciation I have for my parents because of this inner struggle is one that continues to grow as I continue to grow. 

No, I do not want to be my mother. I couldn’t be even if I tried. I lack her depth of empathy and self-sacrifice in ways I often envy. I do, however, want to be the woman she raised me to be. The woman I know I can be if I open myself up to the life she’s given me. 

God, may I be the woman you created me to be- the woman you formed in my mother’s womb- the woman she raised me to become.

WRITTEN BY SARAH WITMER