8 Ways I’ve Turned Into My Mother

Carissa Howard Relationships

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I can still remember my seventeen-year-old self swearing that I’d never be like my mother or parent like her. But twenty years and two kids later, the inevitable has happened: I’ve turned into my mother. Even my husband regrettably agrees. I’ve carefully gathered the following evidence to support this transformation.

I carry photographs of my family in my bag.

My brother got married in Spain a few months ago. A lot of my friends ask me if I have any pictures of the wedding. Instead of making a folder of them on my phone to show people like any normal tech-savvy thirty-something or utilizing Facebook in the same manner, I use the actual paper photographs that my Spanish sister-in-law sent me as part of her thank you notes.

I saw these photos in my tote bag this morning as I was putting my laptop in – that’s when I realized that I turned into my mother. She carries photos around of my kids so that she can produce them at a moment’s notice if any of her friends ask about her grandkids.

Hair and Makeup.

When I actually spend five minutes on my hair, it ends up wavy with high volume, akin to my mother’s always perfectly set and fluffed (big) hair. Like me, my son prefers it down and curly as opposed to up in a ponytail. When I do put on my makeup (in the car before shopping), I load on that shiny stuff on my eyes that my son likes so much. It’s actually very sweet when he notices my makeup. I wonder who else wears lots of eye shadow?

I treat my two children like my mother treated my brother and I.

My brother is three years older than me; my son is two years older than my daughter. I’m more mature than my brother. My daughter’s been more mature than my son since age two. It’s difficult not to treat them the same way my parents treated my brother and I. My son gets all the attention and my daughter is fiercely independent. I wonder how that happened?

Cooking dinner = reheating a frozen previously cooked meal.

I attempt to cook. Really, every few weeks, I tell myself it’s time to start cooking properly. I’ve even started to use Plated, but I learned this equation from my mother and it’s difficult not to repeat it. I’m able to cook, like meatloaf, beef stew, chili, and Italian meat sauce. But these things are so easy to cook in bulk. I cook and package them into individual meals and save in the freezer, like some crazed hoarder of food. At 4 PM, I open the freezer, pull out some tuber ware, and reheat with love. My mother even freezes and reheats pot roast. DH, I’ve never done that (yet).

I forget which clothing items are air-dried versus tumble-dried.

My husband yells at me when I forget to air-dry some (but not all of) his Under Armour T-shirts. I try to remember all the rules (some of his jeans, but not all; some of his construction clothes, but not all), which are extremely complex with no rhyme or reason. When I was a teenager, I would yell at my mother about how she would always tumble dry the wrong things and never pay attention when I corrected her. Whoops. Sorry, about those T-shirts, honey. I’ll buy you more at Dick’s Sporting Goods, I promise. I smirk when you tell me that I shrunk another one, because I’m remembering my mom shrinking my best pair of jeans in high school (the only ones with a designer label), not (only) because I don’t care.

I cheer during my son’s soccer games.

All positive, team orientated, nice things. I try to be a quiet, reserved parent that doesn’t get emotionally involved in under six co-ed soccer, but I’m Italian and outspoken. I have vivid memories of my mother yelling at my basketball games throughout high school. Mainly to my teammates to “Pass the ball [to me].”

I get self-righteous after two glasses of wine.

One of our family’s favorite stories of my mother is how she got drunk at my late grandfather’s seventy-fifth birthday party. She had organized the whole event, ate very little because she was talking to all the guests, allegedly drank only two glasses of wine, and gave a funny, yet heartfelt speech about him. Afterwards, she told everyone in a slurred voice that she could have “Spoke for days [about her father].” So, whenever I get teased about misbehaving at a family event, I simply say I only had two glasses of wine, when it was probably more like five.

We dance at weddings.

I’m such a horrible dancer to begin with and I need lots of liquid encouragement to even get on the dance floor, so by the time I’m drunk enough to dance, I should be going home. I’m worse than Elaine from Seinfeld. It’s gotten so bad at the last two family weddings, that my Aunt has dubbed my classic dance move, where I stick my hands behind my back and stick out my ass, “The Carissa.” Who dances like that?

By contrast, my mom’s a way better dancer than me, with or without the two (five) glasses of wine.

I’m sure there’s so many more ways, but I’ll leave it for another time.

How have you turned into your mother?


About the Author

Carissa Howard

Carissa Howard is a former litigator, turned wife, mother, writer, and contributor to ScaryMommy and MommyEffect. Her blog, is a slightly neurotic mother’s fresh take on the absurdities of modern mothering. You can follow her on .

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