How Your Relationship With Your Mother Changes As You Age


Your relationship with your mother spans the entire spectrum of emotions as you age. She’s there from your first cry to the first cry of your son or daughter—often with little snippets of advice you don’t want to hear but secretly you know she’s right. Regardless of how far away you live from her, she’s a phone call, a car ride, or a plane away. Even in the afterlife, you know she’s watching, hidden in the smallest details like finding the last pair of shoes on sale and discovering you have a random coupon that takes off 60 percent.

Your mom fits distinct, ever-changing roles in your life:

1. She’s Your Whole World

She literally gave you life. You would not be here, staring at your smartphone without her. She sacrificed her body for you, and if your mom is anything like mine, she’s not hesitant to point out the scar or gray hair that you caused. Sure, your dad deserves some credit too, but come on, who really changed more dirty diapers?

These first months and years of your life caused her to miss sleep and stress about the smallest details. She constantly wondered if you were learning enough, eating enough, and minding your manners, but these were the times that she was your whole world and you were hers.

2. The Nay-Sayer

Dads are typically the “fun ones” who let you get away with anything when mom’s not around and use phrases such as “ask your mother” to get out of saying no. So, this job, like many of the other hard ones, fell to your mom. You probably hated her for this and made sure she knew it. She took that abuse because she knew in her heart that this was what you needed to grow into a successful adult.

3. Your Enemy

Remember how awful you were as a teenager? You should probably apologize every day for the rest of your life for how many times you made her cry and stay up late thinking you were dead in a ditch somewhere. All adults, especially your mom, are “the enemy” when you’re 16 because no one could possibly understand you besides Nirvana, Kelly Clarkson or whichever musician or band got you through high school. These may have been the worst years for her, but then you moved away.

4. The One Who Does Your Laundry

Okay, so my mom rarely did my laundry when I went to see her, but she sure as hell cleaned my apartment, bought me groceries, and made my bed when I wasn’t looking. Moving off to college is an amazing and freeing experience, but you know you were homesick. Even when you avoided her phone calls, you were still happy to see that she left three messages to call her back. You still needed her in your late teens and early twenties, but you would only admit it when you were sick and wanted Lifetime and tomato soup.

5. Your Confidant, Your Friend

I thought I knew everything in college. I was on top of the world, but then the real world arrived, and everything was overwhelming. How did your mother manage a marriage, having kids, and a job when you can barely handle a 40-hour work week? Your late twenties are when you realize your mom is nothing short of a superhero for raising an ungrateful teenager and somehow morphing you into a functioning adult.

You start calling her more and more for advice such as the recipe for her famous potato soup that was truly only famous to you and your siblings. You want to make her pumpkin pie just like she did because it’s the little comforts that make your new home feel like hers. Before you realize it, your mom isn’t just your mom anymore – she’s your friend, your confidant and what’s more, she’s still your whole world.

No mom is perfect, but this flawed woman is yours. Would it really be that bad to turn out like her?