If there’s one thing I’ve come to learn living with my madre for 25 years, it's that a mother is just a last generation throwback of yourself – only much louder.
It’s hard to understand why mothers behave the way they do – unless of course you are one, or so I’ve heard. Luckily or unluckily, I don’t fall into the category yet, so I’ll take that as a free pass to judge my progenitor with the vociferousness of Khloé Kardashian.
My own mother is part Kris Jenner (anal about doing things her way, has a penchant for unnecessary drama, absolutely loves attention, still thinks she’s 25) and part Lorelai Gilmore (ran away from an orthodox home – in this case, to have a career, always had the boys pining after her and is first friends with her kids, only playing the mom card as the last resort). As if this weird personality combo wasn’t enough, she is also the most typical ‘wild’ Leo while I’m a go-with-the-flow Aquarian-Piscean cusp (clearly a sucker for the horoscopes), so you can imagine the noise levels of ‘clean your room’ screaming matches.
Why is ironing my clothes so important? An hour of commute and it’s wrinkled anyway.
Does anyone who eats oats even like them? (My mom seems to very much. Ugh.)
Do I really need to know about insurance policies at this point?
On the rare occasions we see eye-to-eye (our mutual agreement about my sister being the black sheep, for example), our internal sighs of relief are so loud, we can almost hear them.
Until one day, upon considering the fact that I’ve only got one mom and it’s going to be the same one for a while, I decided to face this issue head on. How did I do it? By putting myself in the
thief’s mother’s shoes – for a week (much as I could take, really).
It wasn’t easy. Suddenly my takeout dinner was swapped for oats, I wore creaseless clothes to work and actually stepped into a bank to get my finances in order. Every time I reached for that one last all-downhill-from-here Long Island, or had to decide between watching just one more episode of Peaky Blinders or going to bed because it was 1 a.m, I asked myself, “What would mom do?”. The drink was refused and the laptop was switched off immediately.
Though all of this sounds easy, it wasn't. By the third day, I'd had enough. Especially those oats. But the thing about doing little life experiments, is that you have to make it to the finish line. So with some thought and lots of shredded chicken, the oats weren’t so bad anymore and I finally knew what an investment portfolio meant (it’s basically stuff you own – a house, an Hermés, stocks, gold bricks – whatever makes you richer and pay less taxes).
On the sixth day – magic! A bonus that wasn’t even on the agenda: no screaming match! None on the final seventh day either. Though the real reason for these little changes that were happening were unbeknownst to my mother, they made her happy and that made me feel…nice?
When the weekend rolled around, I probably ended up having four (less than healthy) meals outside, but at least now I didn’t treat oats like an enemy with leprosy – it just landed squarely on the lower rungs of food I’d pick Oreos over, and that’s saying something! I also realized I needed to employ someone to actually take care of filing my taxes and other super fun things like that, so I did, and I’m proud to say I actually understand about half the gibberish he speaks – I even know the difference between a tax-deferred and a tax-exempt account!
A mother is a last generation throwback of yourself – only much louder. And way better at finances than you. So try giving her a shot, maybe?
P.S: Full disclosure: I don’t wear freshly ironed clothes everyday, but hey, by the time I join the Mother Board, I should fit right in.