Guest Post: I’m Becoming My Mother … Yaaay!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I cannot tell you how I met author and blogger Ernessa T. Carter. It’s a secret. Well, it’s more like a secret group … but already, I’ve said too much.

What I can say is that she’s a smart, funny writer-mom raising a two-year-old daughter with her husband in California. Also? I’m rather pleased to have her on Ms. Mary Mack today with a guest post about becoming one’s mother.

So before loose lips sink any ships, I give you Ernessa …

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The other day while working at my office (Starbucks), I overheard two college-aged girls giggling over something one of them had done or said at a previous time. This something must have been pretty heinous, because the doer declared in the most dramatic of voices, “I’m like, ‘Oh no, I’m becoming just like my mother!'”

Oh, the horror — becoming like one’s mother.

What’s interesting about this common fear, is that you rarely overhear young men saying with such laughing terror, “Dude, I’m becoming just like my dad.”

Even my own husband often precedes a nitpicking sentence with, “Not to sound like my mother, but…” Yet, he never fears aloud sounding like his father, who had his share of undesirable traits.

When my back gets raised over what I perceive as others picking on or making fun of the women who carried their silly selves around in their wombs for nine months — which is rather often now that I’m a mother myself — I remind myself that I’d probably feel the exact same way …  if my mother were not, in fact, dead.

The nice thing about having a dead mother is that you lose the somewhat natural ability to not appreciate her. I never, ever say out loud, “Not to sound like my mom.” On the contrary, I proudly represent for all the lessons she taught me. And I often begin sentences with, “Well, my mom used to say…” in the same tone of voice that scientists introduce statements of solid fact.

Yet, even I have to admit, that many of my most important life decisions have been predicated on not wanting to become my mother. In my twenties, I knew I wanted to be in a good marriage, not just in a marriage-marriage — that’s because my mother suffered through a bad marriage. Also, I diligently attend to my inherited low self-esteem, making sure that I surround myself with people that heighten my sense of self-worth as opposed to lowering it — that’s because I grew up with a mother who admired her daughters to bits, but didn’t think much of herself.

I’ve to realize over time that I have to take the good with the bad when it comes to my mother. I continuously strive to be like her in some ways, but I know that I am happier, because I am not like her in other ways.

In any case, whenever someone tells me that I’m just like my mother, I smile. What a compliment.

In addition to running the online magazine, Fierce and Nerdy, Ernessa T. Carter is the author of 32 CANDLES, a romantic comedy disguised as a novel, that is totally worth buying.

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