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Do *most* women get on with their mothers?(22 Posts)
And what are your tips if you have a good relationship with yours?
Bit of background - I am 44 and grew up with just my mum. The relationship has always been rocky and although I adored her as a child she couldn't discipline me at all and had very shouty/violent outbursts.
To cut a very long story short, our relationship deteriorated over the years (she has personality disorder and possible Diogenes syndrome). She is now in her 80s and I can't see things improving sadly. I have (sort of) accepted this and put all my energy into my family (dh and 3 dds).
Here's the thing - I read so much on MN and other places of poor mother-daughter relationships and I am so scared of getting it wrong with mine. My dds are 15, 13 and 9 and so far I have fantastic relationships with them and put all my efforts into being the best mother I can be. But I worry a lot, probably unnecessarily. My dds are generally happy girls but they do compare each other in terms of doing things and time spent with me and dh. How do I know they're not going to harbour long term resentments about being treated unfairly?
Because I grew up without siblings, I just don't know what's 'normal' in terms of sibling rivalry. I try very hard to be fair and sometimes spend time with each one individually.
So people who end up on the stately homes threads or have gone NC - things have got pretty bad to be that way right?
This post probably sounds a bit mad but I just want to avoid history repeating itself and nuture good relationships with my dds into their adulthood.
I didn't want my first baby to be a girl for similar reasons. Scared to repeat the past.
It surprises me that DD confides in me & consults me (a lot, so do DSs, but I think daughter-mother is a different beast relationship). Makes me think I'm doing something right. I mostly succeed in not having a shouty relationship with DC because I hated how my mom had that with my siblings. We talk about our differences, they are allowed different opinions & plans I don't like. As much as possible, punishments are imposed calmly without ceremony. I'm probably doing a lot better than my mom did. At least the trend is upwards.
Sibling rivalry is massive IME. It's rife, particularly between sisters who tend to be bitchier to each other, whereas boys will tend to try and outdo each other in terms of achievements. But if they can see there's no favouritism and you genuinely love them for their unique identities they respond well. Again in my experience.
I had similar mother experience as you, it was awful. What it taught me is that communication is key. There's not a lot that can't be resolved by calm communication on both sides. Sounds like you're doing a great job.
We do now but its been up and down. I said and did some rotten things to my dm as a teen and she took it all so personally. We had someawful arguments. I just ignore my teen ds when he's being a pain. Its hormones he can't help it.
She 'couldn't discipline' you?
You mean you were an unpleasant and unruly child and blame that on her?
It sounds as if you're trying very hard as a mum. I'm sure your daughters will appreciate that. If they each get some individual attention, they're doing well.
The truth is, as parents, most of us get it wrong some of the time. Because we parent as we wish we'd been parented. The fault there, the problem, is that our children are not us. I might want to have been parented in style A, but my dd definitely would have preferred style B.
Haven't you heard the phrase 'A mother's place is in the wrong'?
I 'got on with' my mother to the extent that a kidnap victim gets on with her captor.
I get on well with mine, but that doesn't mean we have never had our differences or that we are always on the same level. What it does mean is that I know she loves me, I know she wants all the best for me, I know she would sacrifice anything if I really needed it, she would stand by me whatever happened. Also that I trust her- she was never violent, she has never given up on any of us, she has always done her very best. (And I'm just fond of her... )
If you can manage these, you will be fine.
I get on with mine but we have a lot of differences and do argue! However, at least we are "allowed" to have arguments and we move on.
DH can't disagree with his DM. If there's a difference of opinion he always backs down because either she loses it or, more often, we get the "oh well what do I know I'm just a silly old woman" and it closes down any kind of debate. At least I can actually have a satisfying argument with my mum and we don't hold it against each other She will do anything for me and made lots of sacrifices for me when she was fighting against an emotionally and financially abusive husband.
I don't have a DD only a DS. I think we have a pretty good relationship really but how things will be when he's an adult is anyone's guess of course.
I don't particularly get on with mine. After her and my dad divorced when I was 11 (I'm 28 now) she moved in with a new partner who was quite emotionally and physically abusive to my younger brother. We had a massive fall out when I was 18 and I left. We reconciled when I got married in 2012, but our relationship is still very strained, as I still feel she 'chose' her partner over her kids, and she point blank refuses to discuss matters of the past. She's my mother, but I don't feel any strong feelings of love or affection towards her, which I know is really sad. But in my opinion it's her own doing!
I think my best advice would be to do away with any expectations of your DD, and of what your relationship with her should be like.
My friends who have difficult relationships with their mothers all seem to have mothers with very particular expectations of them and very particular expectations of what the mother-daughter relationship should be like. This often seems to cause friction. My ex-MIL was the same, and I know how much it upset SIL - ex-MIL is a self-appointed family matriarch type who believes that her children should hang on her every wise word and has the attitude of "I am your mother, I know best, you should do as I say, daughters should relate to their mothers like so" with a lot of tears and arguments caused when SIL wanted to make her own choices or do her own thing or just didn't want to be the daughter to MIL that MIL was to her own mother.
I have a really excellent relationship with my mum, which has developed over the years. One of the things I've always valued about her is that she (and my dad, too) has always said that whatever makes me happy, makes her happy and that I need to live my own life and make my own mistakes - and she genuinely means it. I've never felt any judgement or disappointment from her about choices I've made, even though her teeth must have itched at times to say something when something I was about to do could have gone either way! We have a great laugh together and lot of little "in-jokes" and get on on a friendship level as well as a mother-daughter one.
I was so glad when my first DC was born as was a boy. Like you, I don't think I'd have trusted myself to have had a good, healthy relationship with a girl. It sounds like you have a good relationship with your girls, spending time with them individually and as a group.
I believe that lots of women do have good relationships with their mothers - they phone each other and babysit and go out for coffee and things. I kepts having hopes that my mother would be interested in doing that, but I've concluded now that if it's not about her she's not interested, so I find other people to babysit, listen politely if she phones about a dress she returned to Sainsbury's and would think twice about telling her if I was dying. For me this is the bed she has made. My mother didn't listen, presumed that my experience of things is the same as hers and wasn't tactile at all. Those would be good starting points with your kids. Also, are there hobbies that they can all do together, to help pull them together and give them something to focus on as a group without fighting / squabbling?
OP this might have no connection, but has it got worse with her ageing?
My situation is - issues with parents - who were very strict - as a teen
in my 20s and 30s it went better than expected
now in my 40s, my dad is insanely grumpy - I did wonder if he had dementia but apparently not - and my mum just smiles and nods and goes along with it
but also, we have nothing in common and nothing to talk about. Or I feel myself getting irritated because she is like a relic of the 20s - and given her age, that is possibly fair enough?
tbh I have changed my schedule, I now only call once a week and gather my patience before I do it. I am trying to limit how often I see them. But I do think this linked to how they are growing old. I mean, everyone grows old differently...I have an aunt in her 90s who is just as open minded and funny and even tempered as she always was. So I feel bad blaming age. But sometimes it's as if my folks and I from different planets. Also mum was mostly a SAHM. I'm not a parent, I love being single and childfree and she can't get her head round it, I think.
I think you'd know by now if your relationship with your daughters was going wrong.
For myself, I think if there's fundamental love and care on both sides, the relationship is going to withstand huge differences of outlook, desires, choices, personality.
My bar for what counts as a good relationship is quite low, however.
I don't have a good relationship with my mother but it was pretty clear from early on that this would be the case.
What it taught me is that communication is key
Yes so true. I used to get so frustrated with my mother that she didn't listen to me or my feelings. She thought I was a naive little girl who didn't know anything. With my own dds I try and listen and understand them. And I apologise and say sorry if I get something wrong.
*She 'couldn't discipline' you?
You mean you were an unpleasant and unruly child and blame that on her?*
I wasn't the easiest child in the world. But there were no boundaries. No never meant no, I knew I could nag my mother into something. Then she would snap and shout and rant at me for HOURS citing all my past wrong doings and how terrible I was. I know it wasn't easy for her being a single parent but that doesn't excuse all the nasty things she said to me over the years including 'you have no redeeming features' said to me in my teens
My friends who have difficult relationships with their mothers all seem to have mothers with very particular expectations of them and very particular expectations of what the mother-daughter relationship should be like
Yes I can see that too. My mother's expectations of me were that it was my job to 'look after her' when I became an adult and that too precedence over me making my own way in the world. I've heard countless stories of her friends' children who 'do anything' for their mothers and how much better daughters they are than me.
Dancer "I've heard countless stories of her friends' children who 'do anything' for their mothers and how much better daughters they are than me."
I don't hear countless stories but I hear quite a few. then she insists that she doesn't have the same expectations. My main issue now tbh is that they live over the other side of town - a theoretical equivalent might be going from say, Heathrow to Epping.
There is a cultural issue with Londoners, I think, that some are so used to trekking about that they think it's a norm. But I find it incredibly tiring and then I get cross because I do that round trip - which can be about 3 hours+ - and then we have nothing to say!! Dad doesn't freak out about fewer visits but Mum just thinks "we should want to spend time together as mother and daughter". Also she thinks - and used to say - "isn't it natural for a single woman to spend more time with her parents?" Er, no. Just because I'm single doesn't mean I don't have a busy life.
My mother doesn't guilt trip, is non judgmental and has no expectations of what you 'should' do. So whenever I can see her it is always easy going and fun. My mother takes joy in the small things in life, she is quite 'mindful' actually. But she isn't a saint, she obviously favoured my sister as we were growing up, and she can be extremely irritating (isn't everyone?).
Our relationship MO of arms length, but loving suits us. We message about once a week, and I see her about once every three months. I live in London (child free) and she is up North.
Only read the OP but lots of it chimes with me-placemarking for later
I love my mum but I find her really difficult (she finds me difficult too no doubt)
I am VERY anxious not to have a similar relationship with my dds but
often sometimes I hear the stuff coming out of my own mouth and just hear...mum
I have no idea whether 'most' women get on with their mothers. I do know that lots of us on here have extremely strained, and even downright toxic relationships with our mothers. So you're in good company
I very much agree with other posters about letting go of any ideas you have involving what your relationship with your daughters 'should' be like. My mother had extremely high expectations of my sister and I, expecting us to be like her best friends really and blaming us when it didn't work out that way. Having a cold, criticial, unpredictable mother who was openly jealous of us and took obvious pleasure in undermining us make the 'best friends' thing a bit of a challenge
You know that relationships take work and you are aware that you don't want to repeat the past. That means you are off to a brilliant start. You are able to see your daughters as separate people and not just projections of what you need.
Your mother sounds like a difficult parent. If you were, as one poster suggested, an 'unpleasant and unruly child', then it was down to your mother to manage your behaviour. You couldn't have been expected to do it yourself. I'm not surprised you feel strongly about her lack of boundaries followed by ranting and raving at you. That's downright scary for a child
I understand where you are coming from op although from a very different perspective. My mum and I are quite different in many ways but we get on brilliantly. We have often disagreed on things but we have never really fought, even when I was a teenager. I do sometimes worry that if I have a daughter (currently have one DS and am now 20 weeks pregnant with my second child, not finding out the sex) I will put all sorts of expectations on her and on our relationship that it has to be as good as mine with my mum. A silly thing to worry about probably in the scheme of things but it does cross my mind.
Thanks all, really interesting reading. So I'm thinking that a good mother-daughter relationship needs good communication on both sides....and a large dose of luck?
gwen how lovely you have a good relationship with your mum. Good luck with the new baby
I disagree with the luck part. It takes work, willingness to share, empathy, a willingness to be vulnerable, to admit when youve got something wrong and to apologise if you hurt the other person. And it helps if you really genuinely like the other person
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