You always hear that you grow up to be your own mother (for women) or father (for men), but I have yet to hear someone say "oh, I'm EXACTLY the same kind of mother as mine was to me!" Most people think they're completely different from their own parents.
I haven't decided what's true for me. A little of both, maybe.
The warning tone I'd hear in my mom's voice when I was getting out of line is the EXACT same one I hear coming out of my own mouth when S acts up. It's like someone lodged a sound chip of my mother somewhere behind my uvula (don't you just love that word?), and her voice, phrases and tone all come out of my mouth and I hear myself parroting her with dead accuracy. If I could imitate everyone the way I find myself imitating my mother when S is about to get in trouble, I'd make a killing as an impersonator. I probably use her same gestures and expressions, too, although I don't really look very much like her. Or maybe I do. I've never been able to decide that, either.
Another similarity is that my mother never talked down to me. It's not that there were any blurred lines between adult and child - I knew for damned sure who was in charge - it's just that she understood that I was capable of more sophisticated conversation than many adults gave children credit for, and she spoke to me accordingly. She was also very matter-of-fact, and careful of hiding her own emotions and opinions when she didn't want them to color mine, which was most of the time. She was always authoritative, but respectful of me as a person and an individual. The way my mother talked to me (and still does) is something that's carried over quite a bit into the way I parent S.
There are other things, though, that are nothing like my mother. My mother was a neat-freak. If she wasn't working, she was cleaning. I don't remember her ever sitting down and vegging in front of the tv or reading a book.
Me, not so much. We don't live in filth. I do vacuum regularly, the bathrooms aren't swamps, and the kitchen stays clean. But the stuff that drives my mother crazy - a stack of papers on a table, books on a dresser, toys in the dining room - doesn't even register on my radar. I just don't mind clutter, as long as it's not dirty, there isn't stuff lying on the floor and I know where things are (which I usually do).
I don't know if it was because of the constant cleaning thing or not, but my mother never played. EVER. We talked a lot, and enjoyed each other's company, but I don't remember ever playing a game with her. She never let loose, she never got silly, she never goofed off with me. And I don't use the word "never" in a figurative sense. I do mean NEVER. By the time I was a teenager, nothing made me feel more proud and accomplished than on the rare occasions when I made my mother laugh out loud. She just didn't do it all that often.
Not only am I not that kind of mother, I'm just not that kind of PERSON. I'm a huge dork. I am not above sacrificing personal dignity for the amusement of myself or others, including (although definitely not limited to) S. He and I goof off all the time. We're always stringing together words that rhyme but make no sense, dancing together to whatever music happens to trip our zizz-wheel, or doing things with our faces that would have other moms making dire predictions about their kids' expressions freezing that way permanently. S and I laugh together every day. And we play games, and we read to each other.
The title of this entry actually does have relevance, in case anyone was wondering...it's taken from a song by a very talented but fairly obscure artist named Jenny Labow. Lyrics here.