The mother-daughter relationship revisited

My kids not wanting me to take their pic.
My kids not wanting me to take their pic.

I wrote this years ago, when I was visiting my mom in assisted living near Seattle. I am reposting this in her memory. We lost her Jan. 1, 2023.

Why is my daughter so annoyed with me?

I understand how she feels. After all, I was once 19 years old. I remember it very clearly.

When I was that age, everything my mom did, I found unbelievably annoying.

I’ll never forget sitting with her in the car, getting ready to shop at Bellevue Square. She had parked the car. She was fumbling through her purse, making sure she had what she needed. She reapplied her lipstick. Dug through her purse for her wallet to look through credit cards. Searched several times to check where she placed the keys.

Would we never leave the car? Would I be stuck all day? I must have said something to her quite snippy or flat-out mean. A few tears rolled down her cheeks. Which made me more upset with her.

Isn’t it a sad feeling, transitioning from a mom who could do no wrong—from changing diapers, to cooking their favorite spaghetti, to taping treasured colorings on the fridge that were made just for you—to being the person of their abject disdain?

It’s a tough new role. Let me tell you.

But, having gone through these feelings myself, I understand. I’m visiting my mom this week in her assisted living center. I talked about it with her, what I’m going through now, and what I felt like when I was 19. Fortunately, she doesn’t remember me ever being a snarky 19-year-old.

For some reason, I’ve gained more patience throughout my life and that has been a blessing. I’ve also learned forgiveness.

Something else I’ve learned through years of parenting — this too shall pass.

It’s called independence and freedom. We want our children to grow and become separate human beings who can stand on their own. They need to separate from us. A good time to do that is during their senior year of high school, or their freshman year of college. They need to. I keep telling myself that.

However, we also want to be treated with respect, and once again—someday—to be cherished.

Mother and daughter selfie
Selfie with mom on a recent visit to Pike Place Market.

Have your children been annoyed with you? Do you remember being annoyed with your parents? What were the reasons why?

48 thoughts on “The mother-daughter relationship revisited

  1. In my case, it has been my dad and I. I remember the last time he and I worked together. Same tension inside of me that you so accurately described. Only difference was I was 50 yrs old. I was so frustrated with him. Now he’s 90 and can barely make a lap around their kitchen with his walker. I have not experienced that annoyance coming from my kids. Suspect it could be there, but not to my face. It feels like I (we) have great lines of communication w/ our kids @ this point. I do not take it for granted.

    • My brother and dad have tension. I got over that angst with my mom and we had a great relationship like we did when I was a young child. My kids have outgrown their annoyance with me — or at least no longer show it to my face either.

  2. I’m sorry for the loss of your mother. Not a great way to start the new year.

    I think my kids are getting past the years where I embarrass them. My youngest is 19. My youngest two don’t want to be in pictures yet though. My youngest can’t stand the pictures I take and will delete them. My son will sabotage the pictures so I can’t use them by doing things like sticking out his middle finger. 🙄 Every year I make a calendar with family pictures. My youngest two weren’t very happy they weren’t in many pictures. Well, how did that happen? I told them they needed to let me take nice pictures of them. Also, I try not to include pictures of boyfriends and girlfriends because who knows??

    I get along with my kids a lot better then I get along with my mother.

    • Thank you for your sympathy. Hanging out with my kids this week and getting out of my own environment has been so healthy for me. My kids used to love photos when they were young, then the same thing, they’d sabotage them.

  3. A beautiful post. It’s amazing how smart our parents become as we age. My father was a tough one and there are still things I’m getting over, but I am amazed that when I became a father myself, he became smarter and more caring than I ever gave him credit.

    • Thank you. I notice my son and husband having a stronger relationship than years before. My son will call and ask for advice and it makes my husband so happy. We learn as we grow and give our parents credit.

  4. A daily conversation with my wife. The usual conversation goes “what did we do wrong?” or “why can’t the kids be normal?” Both our children are in their 30s, super independent and treat us as the proverbial freckled, red-headed step child, with glasses (LOL). I do much better with it but all my wife wants is the families you see on TV – everybody is loving, talking, and together. Reality, perception and expectations are a funny thing.

  5. My parents got divorced when I was young, and hating the step mom was (1) easy and (2) almost required. My Dad on the other hand, had my complete respect EXCEPT for his choice in wife #2. Anyway, my son and I never had an issue (and to this day are best friends), but my daughter was evil incarnate between 13-17 years old. Now? Best friends. Why? She has 4 teen age daughters. It took 40 years, but now she realizes “dad was right the whole time!”

    • I can relate although my parents divorced when I was 20. I still hated wife #2. The feeling was mutual. I’m glad that your daughter understands and appreciates you now.

  6. I thought of my father as a rare species growing up. I can remember watching him from 8 ft away as we watched “The Avengers” together. On the other hand, easy relationship with my mom. As I grew older, I realized my dad and I had similar taste in tv shows and other things. We ended up getting along better as we got older. On the other hand, my brothers wedged a gap with my dad…who knows why…as they were all adults. I was present with my husband when my stepdaughter visited as a teenager. It was challenging. That being said, she has come a long way!!

    • I understand exactly what you mean about your dad being a rare species. I barely talked to my dad or spent any time with him, while my mother was loving and I spent so much time with her cooking, gardening, etc.

      • Yes, I get that. Unfortunately, my brothers were not present when my dad passed away. Their loss and I guess, my loss as one has not contacted me in over 2 decades. Such is the life. Moving forward.

      • There are only two of us, my brother and me. We have the same type of relationship for decades. Our mom’s passing has us reconciling?

      • Yes, my mom’s passing had us together but not my dad’s. They left me in charge and alone. Luckily I was with my husband and not all alone.

      • True. I was glad to extend our home and hospitality to my dad the last year of his life. I feel good about our relationship. He lived nearby.

      • What I find as I get older is that those who have less tolerance for those different from them refer to themselves a liberal but it seems that liberal and open mindedness have little in common from my experience. Maybe that is why I see two points of view but with matters of the heart, my common sense takes over. I don’t have to like everything about someone to take care of them and love them. I imagine somewhere if my brothers are honest, they feel regrets. Once someone is gone, they are gone. Thanks for listening.

  7. I really don’t remember fighting with my mom as a teen. My daughters, yes. I remember losing patience with my mom as she got older and now I’d give anything for those minutes back. Hugs to you.

  8. I am very pleased and thankful with the relationship I have with my children. 21 and 23. Does ir meajn I don’t annoy them at times or vise versa, Nope! I can relate to your words about waiting for your 19 year old in ths car! Ky daughter was like that a lot!

    I am also blessed with. A special relationship with my parent’s. ❤

  9. I used to get annoyed at my parents when I was a teenager but I’m not like that anymore. I think over time kids begin appreciating their parents more.

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