We’ll never have a relationship in our lives as complex as the one we have with our mothers.
We know we owe our moms so much. They raised us, for God’s sake. They are the reason we know what we know.
But, at the same time, no one knows how to push our buttons the way our moms do. They know us, inside and out, and they know how to cut to our core with a combination of guilt and annoyance.
A complex relationship like this can’t stay static over time; it’s ever changing and evolving over the course of our lives.
As we grow up and slowly figure out who we are, we meet new people and watch others fall out of touch. Our moms are the constants in that journey. But that relationship does have to change accordingly.
At first, she’s our caregiver.
In the first decade-plus of our lives, our moms are the ones that make accomplishing anything possible.
But it’s more than just the food, shelter, money and transportation they provide. It’s about the lessons they are teaching us. Walking, tying our shoes, riding a bike, reading: these are all basic life skills we wouldn’t have learned without our moms.
We literally owe everything we know to our moms at this point.
Then, our adversary.
When we’re teens, our hormones are raging inside of us. We’re stuck between wanting to be the child that our mothers took care of, and the independent woman that they, themselves, are.
As a result, we feel like we’re constantly at battle with our moms at this point in our lives.
Why won’t they let us wear what we want? Why won’t they let us hang out with who we want? Why won’t they let us go to those parties and stay out as late as we want?
Their rules are born of their natural worry for our well-being, but it doesn’t feel that way. It just feels like unnecessary boundaries, and they’re holding us back from making our own mistakes.
Then, our reluctant consciences.
What starts as a set of rules we don’t want to follow will become guiding principles that are always in our heads, whether we want them there or not.
We will think about all those times they discouraged us from doing something, or the advice they gave us when we encountered problems with our friends.
We will try very hard to ignore our moms’ voices, especially that unavoidable and annoying “I told you so” that will come up if something goes awry when we ignore it.
And when we start giving the type of advice to our friends that our mom would give, that will scare the crap out of us. Are we turning into our moms already?
We’ll naturally want to rebel against that. We won’t be ready to turn into our mothers. But then we will finally need to accept that it’s inevitable.
Finally, our moms will become our friends.
It sounds insane; it doesn’t seem like it’s possible. But there will be a certain point in our lives where our moms will become our friends.
Eventually, when we’re starting to find some semblance of independence, we will start to find common ground with our moms over more than just our shared history and familial ties.
We will be able to bond with our moms over what it’s like to be a female in a mostly male-dominated world. As we get into more serious relationships, we will bond with our moms about how our significant others continue to be dumb and annoy us even when we love them.
Make no mistake, they will still push our buttons. They will still have the power to make us feel like crap, just like any of our other friends can. They’ll still know how to cut deeper than anyone else in our lives.
That doesn’t change the fact that our relationship with our mothers is one of the most important relationships we’ll ever have. And it’s one of the only relationships that is strong enough to withstand the ups and downs of tumultuous change.
If you want to watch some VERY complicated relationships, then don’t miss the fall premiere of MTV’s “Finding Carter”. This season, being related doesn’t mean you’re family. Catch new episodes every Tuesday night starting tonight at 10/9c on MTV.