Like Mother, Like Daughter

by Julie Maida
Originally Published: 

I wake up almost every morning disbelieving that I could possibly be the mother of a high-school senior. Surely there must be some mistake. For the past few years I have spent a great deal of time wishing and hoping that her real mother would come and get her.

I fully understand the ridiculous dynamics that go along with mother/daughter relationships because I put my poor mother through the wringer when I was a teenager. I hated her guts and was certain that she was the reason for everything gone wrong in my life. I was such a retched beast that my mother cursed me very early on, hoping that one day I would have a daughter just like me. Those words “just… like… you” ring in my head as though they were spoken by some hunch-backed witch with a pointy nose. Unfortunately for me, it worked and I am cursed forever with a teenaged daughter who acts JUST LIKE ME.

Please kill me.

As a current 35-year-old, I probably would not have an almost 18-year-old daughter today if being a teenager were easier. I remember the deafening noise in and outside of my head and the disgusting amount of demands for perfection and popularity. I wore fake, bright red, Sally Jessie Raphael glasses in 8th grade for God’s sake and was beyond DEVASTATED when Monique Morneault called me out in front of the entire class for pretending to be blind. I will not pretend to have any idea what possessed me to think that was a good idea, but I most certainly did. Those glasses were going to be my “in” with Monique because she wore some and we would have had something cool in common. She was supposed to love them. Hmmmm…not so much. That, and the reasoning behind me super-gluing the backs of earrings to my teeth and running a paper clip through them (to look like braces) is what keeps me in therapy today.

Being a teenager sucks. PERIOD.

It takes my daughter a year to figure out what she’s going to wear in the morning and as much as I want to tell her that it won’t matter in five years, I know it matters now. How much I would love for her to understand that the only reason people are so judgmental is because they are themselves full of self-doubt and insecurity. My high school career would have been A LOT easier had I understood that fact.

How unfair is it that during the most difficult, frustrating, confusing, gut wrenching, scary as shit time in our lives, our brains are not developed enough to deal with any of it? Who was ever in charge of those decisions? FIRED.

Someone should really set out to find a cure for teenagism. That might be a bazillion dollar discovery. Let’s work on an earlier development of the frontal lobe instead of all of these weight loss and hard on pills. I’d much rather have the gift of logic than an erection any day, but that’s just me.

The truth is that I am afraid for and of my beautiful daughter. She has everything I did when I was her age although I fear she’s a bit smarter than I ever was. We have long talks (when she’s not possessed) about the poor choices she sees so many other girls making and how sad is can be to watch. You see, I have been blessed to have had a daughter that is quite a lot like me AND the unique opportunity to have raised her with all of my life experience. She is like the hybrid version of me at seventeen with the same amount of ambition, (zero). It baffles my mind that I was already her mother when I was her age and how awfully grown up I felt. If it’s true that most teen mothers raise teen mothers, I have successfully broken that cycle and for that I am proud of both of us.

I know that I’m a good mother, which is one of the reasons she hates me so much, but there is definitely nothing easy about these years. But I also know that “this too shall pass”… eventually.

I’m just holding my breath.

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