Whether our moms were fantastic or not, we all feel like there are parenting moves they made that we just aren't going to repeat. What's that saying about a road paved with good intentions? It might not be that serious, but there are a lot of things our moms did that seem to come out in us no matter how hard we try to avoid them. While we all have countless choices to make during our kids' childhoods about what kind of parents we really want to be, our own upbringings will always have an effect on us.
After poring over tons of baby books, parenting blogs and magazines, we often have a rosy view of how motherhood will be. We're so sure we'll explain things so well and guide our little ones so effectively that discipline will hardly be an issue. The yelling mom and wailing, red-faced child won't be us, and we definitely won't do those weird and incomprehensible things our mom did—until we are living the mom life ourselves and begin to see the method in the seeming madness.
Time might be linear, but so much in life is circular. Here are 20 things we're doing with our kids that make us just like our moms.
We just knew we were going to parent differently than our mom. Sometimes, if we even so much as breathed in a sibling's direction or if she caught the teeniest eye roll, we'd swear she wasn't yelling but rather was breathing fire.
When we had our own little angels, we read the parenting books and blogs and considered ourselves totally prepared to lovingly parent away the inevitable transgressions of youth with love and support.
That is until Dear Son had Sharpied the walls and Dear Daughter had cut her hair and all her friends'.
Life happens, and yelling takes place. It's what we do after losing it that matters most, according to Imperfect Families.
There might be some moms who can resist the siren call of a delicious piece of candy—and if we ever meet them, we'll shake their hand—but the rest of us crave a candy bar from time to time.
The despair comes when we realize that just the tiniest crinkling sound of a wrapper raises our kids' antennae immediately, so we begin to hide our candy, sneaking around like they're state secrets instead of chocolates.
We love our kids 24/7, but there are times we're stressed, with too-thinly-worn patience, and a secret candy helps us regain our calm, as per Living Life And Learning.
We might not have realized we bugged our own moms from time to time, who sent us outside to get us out of their hair or promptly assigned a chore in a different room. We knew we'd be involved and engaged with our children, read all the books, and play all the games, until we suddenly needed just a moment of quiet and found ourselves switching on the TV or—horrors—handing them a tablet.
Turns out that occasional distractions aren't the worst thing we can do, according to Psychology Today. Sometimes, distractions for limited amounts of time can reduce stress; not just for moms, but also for kids.
A lot of blogs decry the “Because I Said So” parenting strategy these days, but we remember Mom used to say this to us, and we'd be furious at this verbal equivalent of a door slam in the face. We gently offer our child an explanation as to why he can't eat frosting for dinner.
Then he asks why again.
After so many repetitions, we utter those words—because I said so—and we are not bad parents for putting an end to the circular argument, according to the ACP. In retrospect, our moms might have had some great reasons for occasionally omitting the explanation—just as we do now.
Often, the “go ask your mom/dad” trope is cast in a negative light, but actually, it can be an indication of parenting done right, according to Raising Children. It's all in the details.
If kids are told to go ask the other parent in a dismissive way, that might not be the best approach, but often it's a way of extending the communication so that both parents are on the same page about something.
This is especially important when one parent is known to be more lenient than the other. Kids might come to the easygoing parent hoping for a yes, setting up a potential conflict later.
When we were kids, we cringed when our moms looked at us and saw some speck of dirt. Slowly, she'd draw the tissue out of her purse and raise it to her mouth or—even worse—raise her thumb, lick it, and wipe our face with her spit!
Gross… except she probably wasn't hurting us at all, and it's not so bad when we end up doing it, too. Spit is pretty effective at neutralizing a lot of bacteria, according to Mental Floss. That doesn't fix the embarrassment factor, of course, but it's good to know we're not causing any harm with this mom habit.
Our mom hated our music, and we practically gagged every time she popped in a Doobie Brothers or Steve Winwood cassette. Most likely her mom rolled her eyes in disgust at her teenage choices of disco and synth.
Now our kids are listening to things like mumble rap and k-pop, while we shake our heads in bewilderment even though we swore we'd be cool and accept our child's musical tastes.
That didn't work out as well as we thought.
For parents who insist that music today really is worse and suffers from a lack of variety, scientists might agree, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
Grandma walked uphill both ways miles in the snow to school and had a piece of string for a toy. Mom was doing chores and never had anything like a cellular phone. Kids today have smartphones and tablets and tons of modern conveniences.
We think life is easier for them, just like our moms swear we had it easy as kids, too.
Some of this feeling about the younger generation might, in fact, come from a changing society, which pushes serious life choices further and further into adulthood, as per SA Magazine. Each generation's experience is difficult to gauge against the previous when so much is changing so quickly.
Everyone thinks they have good taste, but if that were true, there would never be ugly clothes. Unfortunately, ugly clothes have been around since we started clothing our hominid bodies, and no generation can throw stones because each one has offered up some offensive fashion, as per Harper's Bazaar.
Some fashion don'ts have been widely considered worse than others, but our moms threw up their hands at our trendy clothes just like we are scratching our heads at our kids' choices. Few would have predicted that acid wash mom jeans would make such a strong comeback so quickly, yet they did.
If there's a kid out there that hasn't challenged their mom at least once in the knowledge department, then that kid is a natural born saint and about as rare.
Kids just seem to have a black and white view of the world and everything in it, and moms can't figure out where this steadfast confidence comes from, according to Psychology Today.
We've lived longer and made far more mistakes, so when our kids reject our advice out of hand, we can't understand what gives them this unshakable confidence. When we think back, however, we might remember telling our own mom we knew better.
That one-holiday performance when we insisted on the side pony hairstyle—it's a sure bet our mom saved every embarrassing photo or video she could get her hands on.
When our moms did it, we couldn't believe how unfair life was. She always seemed to have the video of us falling on stage handy when company came.
Younger kids don't seem to be affected as much as teens are by others' opinions, but one day, our teen is going to do or say something that'll make us glad we saved that embarrassing thing as a reminder since teen brains really are wired differently, according to Mental Floss.
We are moms, so naturally, our kid is fantastic—and sports are no exception—but not everyone's kids can be good at sports. When we were kids, we probably thought we were pretty decent at basketball, until we really thought back and realized that although our mom always cheered us on, we totally missed most of the baskets.
There's nothing wrong with supporting our own kids the way Mom supported us, so long as we don't get too extreme, as per Forbes. We can let our kids know we think they're great, but also keep in mind that some kids just master some skills better than others, and that's fine.
There are many reasons why moms eat off of their kids' plates. Many of us were raised to 'clean our plates' and eat everything we were served, yummy or not.
We might not force our kids to eat it all, but we sure hate letting the food go to waste.
Other moms might find they're so busy that their meal is made up solely of the leftovers the kids leave. We saw our moms nosh this way, but our after-dinner plate cleaning isn't doing us any good, according to the New Jersey Herald. We're better off trying to nix this habit and fixing ourselves a proper plate for better nutrition.
It's pretty tough to think of anything grosser than a human child if we're being completely honest. They pick their noses, lick weird stuff, scratch their bums and all kinds of other disgusting things, and after a while, we just don't care anymore, as per WebMD.
We wipe their boogers with our bare hands, wipe bottoms that don't get cleaned properly and eat their half-chewed food without batting an eyelash—it's all part of the growing and learning kids do. Hygiene is something we learn to do over time. Our mom dealt with snot and throw up with aplomb, and now we do, too.
We might be right that our kids aren't moving enough, but that might be at least in part our faults, according to CBC Radio Canada.
Our parents often couldn't seem to break the spell that TV held over us, and we lament the excessive screen time our kids log these days, which science backs up both our mom and us.
Each generation is getting less physical activity on the whole, and our health is affected as a result. Getting the kids moving is harder than ever, but leading by example is a great way to get the ball rolling—or the feet moving.
Siblings fight as sure as water is wet and over absolutely nothing until a mom is certain she can literally feel the gray hairs growing on her head.
Then, she remembers that her mom used to make her hug her sibling, sometimes for five whole minutes! The horror! It turns out that a lot of us have tried what our moms taught us and found to our consternation that it works, as per Happy Hooligans.
Closely related to this problem solver is the Sibling Hand Hold. It's hard to blame mom for teaching us this fight-ender. Sometimes, we find out too late our siblings could have been our longest and closest friends.
This is a tough one because we learned from our mom that answering “maybe” often wasn't really an answer; it was a delaying tactic designed to get us to stop pestering her and to give her more time to figure out how to distract us from the original request.
We try to do the best we can, but we sometimes find the dreaded M-word slipping out of our mouths with our own kids.
As difficult as it is, we might want to cut back on maybe with our kids—and in other parts of our life as well, according to Leadership Freak. Saying maybe is only putting off the problem anyhow.
More than a few of us got that dreaded curse from our mom, “I hope you get a kid just like you one day!”
We wonder why that would be such a bad thing—we know we're fabulous—but when we DO end up with a kid more like us than we care to admit, we realize what mom meant, as mentioned in Wall Street International Magazine.
When we were little know-it-all kids full of spice and stubbornness, we ran our strong and independent moms ragged. With time and life experience, our stubbornness transformed into that strength and independence our mom had, and the cycle begins again with our own kid.
As moms, we want to protect our kids from worry and pain and we often go to great lengths to disguise our worry from them, just the way our moms did with us.
This might not be the best tactic, according to Psych Central. Kids are far more perceptive than we give them credit for and might sense our worry, even behind the bravest smile.
While we can't discuss all the details of what worries us with our children, we can find age-appropriate ways to share about what worry and anxiety mean and how these can be normal feelings that occur sometimes in life.
Whether it's a scraped knee or a crushing bully from school, when our kids cry from hurt, we experience a heartbreak each time. We want to protect our children from pain and all the bad stuff in the world, but as parents, there are just some situations we can't control.
We have to find a way to endure their distresses, according to News OK. It's not that we want them to hurt, it's just that life will bring unexpected injuries, illnesses, and emotional upheavals that even the most careful parental planning can't avoid.
Perhaps it's the price we pay for the deep, indefinable love we have for our children, as our moms had for us.
References: Imperfect Families, Living Life And Learning, Psychology Today, ACP, Raising Children, Mental Floss, Smithsonian Magazine, SA Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Psychology Today, Mental Floss, Forbes, New Jersey Herald, WebMD, CBC Radio Canada, Happy Hooligans, Leadership Freak, Wall Street International Magazine, Psych Central, News OK