Momhood

Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Scare Tactics

The day we give birth to our daughters is such a memorable moment in our lives as mothers. It's not that we're not equally joyous at the births of our sons, it's just that our first thought is usually something like: "Finally, a kid I can understand!" We couldn't be more wrong.

We fool ourselves into thinking that because we are the same gender as our daughters, we are already prequalified for perfect parenting. At last, we'll have a mini-reenactment of our girlhood with an opportunity to fine-tune the story along the way. Unlike her brothers, we believe our daughter won't have that uncanny enthusiasm for crashing toys together or rolling on the floor to a cacophony of sound effects.

Our heads are filled with visions of dolls, mother-daughter shopping trips, someone to take to chick-flicks and another estrogen-fueled body in the house with whom to share accessories, fashion tips...and feelings.

Then one day, reality hits. Often, it's at around age 10.

Despite the fact that, yes, we are also female, we find ourselves with virtually no ability to understand this other girl living in our midst. Our husbands look to us for guidance but we have no answers. We don't understand our daughters and they start to make our sons look, well easy.

We don't understand what they wear or why they think it's attractive. No matter what kind of hair or body they have, they want the opposite. They like everything we hate and our approval is the kiss of death when applied to fashion, music and friends.

We tiptoe around their mood swings in fear of saying THE WRONG THING. The harder we try to connect with them, the further they run away. We can't possibly understand anything they are going through. In their minds, it's so much worse today. Frankly, sometimes they scare us a little.

My friends and I joke about the coping techniques that we develop. The timing of a question, the phrasing of a suggestion or the diplomacy tactics needed for well-veiled criticism. Trust me, we've tried "direct" and it's a disaster. Instead we prepare ourselves for the various landmines of emotions that are hidden throughout the day.

We've become very adept at picking up visual cues. The rolled eyes, the grimace of disgust and the jaw-clenching anger can be spotted from a mile away. However, unlike us, our daughters are much more direct. "Mom, do you realize how annoying you are?" my daughter asked recently. "Yes," I tell her. "It's my job."

I find solace in the fact that both my mother and I survived my pre-teen and teen years and, at least in my opinion, we like each other. I like to think that on the day we become mothers, whether it's the first or the fifth time, we are reminded that our mothers were anything but clueless. In fact, it's my belief that these tactics that my friends and I use are nothing more than a time-honored tradition silently passed on from generation to generation.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned to my mom something that I wasn't going to share with my daughter because, as I told her, "You know how it is, Mom. Everything I say is stupid." "Yes," she replied. "I remember." Ouch.

27 Comments:

At 9:35 AM , Anonymous mar said...

Loved it! I have an only child. But it is a boy. I hear about the girls from my girlfriends... it is tough either way, though! Here via Michele's

 
At 9:56 AM , Blogger Erin said...

My daughter is three. I don't think there is any one in the world who is so much like me, yet so different. It amazes me!

 
At 10:19 AM , Anonymous Nancy said...

My son is so much easier than my twin daughters. Yes, I have not one but TWO girls. They have been doing me in since they were born....

Great post!

 
At 10:40 AM , Blogger Carmi said...

At 8 years of age, our daughter seems to be going through a similar transformation. She has these moments where my only solution is to just leave her alone.

Thanks for hitting the nail on the head. It's nice to know we're not alone in this.

Thankfully, she's a good-hearted kid who still manages to melt our hearts with alarming regularity. But cuteness can only carry a child so far :)

 
At 2:19 PM , Blogger Guppyman said...

I have a daughter.... i don't think I'd know how to deal with a boy....

I guess i'll just have to try and have one and find out...

Michele says Howdy!

 
At 2:20 PM , Blogger Mama B said...

That is so true!! And I have 3 girls to deal with.....all different. YIKES!!!!

 
At 4:14 PM , Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

The legacy continues I guess, no matter who you are or what generation you are...Daughters WILL rebel!!!!(lol)

Here from Michele, today.

 
At 4:15 PM , Blogger sophie said...

No daughters here, but I will be stepmom to two very soon. Hopefully, I can do this with as much wisdom as you have. here from Michele's.

 
At 6:35 PM , Anonymous Stephanie Davies said...

Here from Michele tonight! You just made me super-glad I had a boy! LOL And I was really wanting to have a girl too, now I'm kind of glad I didn't! Very well-written post!

 
At 7:50 PM , Blogger Star said...

As the mother of three daughters, all adults now,and one amother herself, I can tell you: Hang in there. It;s gonna get woorse, But when you come out on the other side you will find that your daughter is your best friend.

 
At 10:27 PM , Blogger kenju said...

When I was 15, and particularly horrible to my mom, she told me "Never again will I be as dumb, or you be as smart as we both are right now".

Since I still remember it 50 years later, it made an impact on me!

 
At 11:25 PM , Blogger Plumkrazzee said...

I think I was an "easy" daughter. My sister, however, was/is not. She and my mother haven't spoken for over a year, and i'm actually happy about that. It's a lot less stress for me, sad to say. I thank God in heave that I had a son. Seriously.

 
At 6:36 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

Its so funny when you read something that you feel you could have written yourself. This entry was one of those times for me! I have two daughters... ages 9 and almost-12. I'm already getting the eye-rolling and jaw clenching from the oldest one, and if either of my kids handle their teens like I did, its going to be a bumpy ride. I was a good kid, but MOODY!! WHEW!
Great entry! Thanks for sharing! Michele sent me today.

 
At 9:54 AM , Blogger Suz said...

Love the post! Having both a daughter and 2 sons. I have had my ups and downs with both. Lately my older son has been the harder one to deal with.

Here via Michele

 
At 4:03 PM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

I can related to this. Although my kids are still young, my sister is 16 and she treats me like an extra parent. Sometimes she will hang with me but mostly I am so OLD and UNCOOL (I'm 28 BTW) Anyway I remember fondly a weekend BBQ in which she had been particularly bitchy to my Dad. I simply looked at her and smiled and said "yeah, I remember when MY brain started growing again..."
Remember, having them grown and out of your house means never again having to hear the words "What's THAT supposed to mean?"

 
At 6:50 PM , Anonymous Amanda said...

I'll be reading. Hello Michele sent me.

 
At 9:39 PM , Blogger Sandy said...

I read your blog and I see my future. ;) Thanks for preparing me.

Michele sent me.

 
At 8:12 AM , Blogger Kimi said...

Michele sent me!

I have a two-year-old daughter and the pre-teen stage frightens me. I was a terror, and I'm praying that she doesn't inherit those genes from me!

 
At 3:02 PM , Blogger Juggling Mother said...

but one day she'll grow out of all that (hopefully), and then you get the daughter you hoped for.

I can't wait till mine are grown up, have left home & are self-sufficient.

I'm not sure if I can make it through the next 20 years first though:-)

 
At 3:35 PM , Blogger Mrs. Flinger said...

My mom told me, when I was 14, "I'll see you on the other side."

At thirty, with my own daughter, I know what she means.

 
At 2:55 PM , Blogger Ali said...

i still turn my nose up at any piece of clothing that my mother thinks is "perfect" for me. :)

i realize i will have my hands full with my two girls.

 
At 4:57 AM , Blogger Michele said...

Many years ago my mother Mother and I were out shopping and we bumped into my then boss. We made small talk for a few moments and then her asked her if I was a smart child. Without hesitation she replied: Oh yes, Michele knew everything, sometimes she still thinks she does.

I love my mother very much - but she is the reason that I still roll my eyes.

All mothers and daughters go through this stage. Trust me, I know everything. Just ask my Mom.

Great post!!

 
At 5:46 AM , Anonymous mar said...

Wow, Michele not only sent me your way , she was here herself!! Great post, I was here earlier this week!

 
At 7:13 AM , Blogger Star said...

Hi Karen. I left a comment earlier. I am here from Michele this time. I have a grandson who along with his parents is living with us temporarily. What a difference betwen boys and girls!

 
At 7:19 AM , Blogger Lucyspeak said...

Hello Karen!!

I was just sent from Michelle...lol... I love the site... YA YAAAA!!!!!

Cheers,
Luce

 
At 1:29 PM , Blogger panthergirl said...

You think 10 is fun? Try 20. AND, I have a great relationship with my daughter when compared to the one I had with MY mother. Somehow, I thought that would translate into no rolled eyes or defensive huffing and puffing...wrong.

I keep waiting for that magical moment that I've been assured will arrive, when she will realize that I'm not so stupid afterall.

 
At 3:56 PM , Blogger Maggie said...

Thank You,
Maggie
Via Michele

 

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