When you were three, you and your mother disagreed with the fact that you wanted to wear the same dress day in and day out. She didn’t allow you to sleep in that princess crown you loved and she certainly disagreed with you eating chocolate cookies for dinner. Then, as you a preschooler, she disagreed with your decision to pack your pacifier in your backpack. Your mother didn’t always appreciate your forthrightness when it came to arguments and certainly thought that the way you cleaned your room was despicable. You grew up a little and then the real disagreements between mom and daughter came to head. She disagreed with your sense of style, feeling the holes in your jeans were just a bit too revealing. She didn’t like the way you studied for tests at the last minute and disagreed with you staying up all night and wasting away the morning summer hours by snoozing in. She disagreed with your choice of friends, your boyfriends, the way you handled money and the amount of makeup that you chose to wear. All you wanted was to be free. Free from disagreeing with your mother.
So you grew up. And you moved on. And you left home. And the freedom that you found by creating a life of your own slowly but surely started proving your mom right. Yes, the tight little black dress did attract the wrong kind of men. She was right that partying too late at night and not getting up for work wasn’t in your best interest. The millions of lessons, large and small, that she tried to teach you while you were busy disagreeing with her – were looming large. And then, without her knowing and without consenting to telling her she was right all along, you secretly began agreeing with her again. Of course, this would be short lived.
Fast forward a few more years and a tad more maturity and add in things like becoming a mother and a wife, and you realize once again that you and your mother may be at odds. You are busy reading the newest parenting book and trying to explain to your mom the right way to handle your daughter’s fever and she is saying it’s all a bunch of hogwash. While she rocks your child to sleep every night, you disagree and assert that it will spoil the child. While you think that your marriage is perfect just the way it is, she is pointing out the flaws and trouble spots that await you should you continue on your path. And despite the fact that you are now a grown women, you find that you have to disagree as much as possible, for the sheer sake of being right and proving to yourself (and her) that you can handle life just fine without her advice, meddling and suspicions. Plus, disagreeing with your mother – also means that you can prove with a clear conscious that you are nothing…like…your…mother. After all, isn’t that every daughter’s worst nightmare that they will grow up and become their mother.
So what is about the mother daughter dynamic that makes disagreements and strife so common? The truth is that the mother daughter dynamic is one that has been studied for years with hundreds of books written about the very same subject. And it has been proven that even when a mother is abusive to her daughter, or non-existent, this one single entity has the greatest effect on the daughter throughout her life. The question – will I be like my mother, is one that all little girls ask themselves at one point. They begin life emulating her. Then, due to the compassion found in most moms, they begin disagreeing with her as a way to deflate the pent up energy that comes from trying to understand this world. As life goes on, daughters see every flaw and quality of their mother and try to fix it within themselves. The easy target for things a daughter dislikes is certainly the motherhood link.
And take a daughter who has no contact with her mom, or who was adopted from birth. Even within a loving, warm and safe home – the inklings of what her mother is like will stir. And at some point, she will wonder about her own maternal instincts and capabilities based on the little she knows of her mom. Even in this situation, it is easy and common to disagree with the mom.
One of the reasons that disagreeing with your mom is so common is because it is so easy. Most children feel the most compassion and love from mom. And although mom may be a hard-nosed snoot, set in her ways and completely opposite of everything that you try to be in life – there is something in her that you know you can always return to. The best part is that you don’t even have to admit she was right all along, apologize or begin agreeing with her.
The mother daughter relationship is one that is filled with numerous beginnings and endings. Throughout the cycling of these phases, disagreeing with your mother may be the one thing that remains the same. In fact, it becomes such a power struggle for many in this relationship that the disagreement comes whether it is true or not. And everything leads into a battle of the wills, which is fueled by disagreements from the simple to the complicated.
Still, these disagreements can be healthy even from a very young age. When a child feels that they can disagree with their parents, it shows that they are in a healthy relationship where their opinion is regarded as equitable. It also can indicate that this child, even as an adult feels safe in the knowing that she can disagree with her mom, and still be loved and accepted. There are few other venues in life where women feel this same freedom. So go ahead and disagree with your mom! Just know that eventually and some day, despite all of the disagreements you will wake up and know she was right. And you will also know that she loved you, no matter what and regardless of whether she agreed with you or not.