It has been said that the mother-daughter bond is the strongest of all. But, navigating the relationship with a mother can be difficult for teenage girls. In truth, all mother-daughter dynamics are different. There isn't a mold that should be set as the "gold standard". Mothers and daughters grow apart and later, they can be closer than ever. All relationships are non-linear, and mother-daughter bonds are not exempt.
The interactions between mothers and their daughters shape daughters in the future. Both absent and present mothers affect their offspring. Mothers provide an example of what daughters want to be, or not want to be. The diverse connections between a mother and daughter are hard to represent. Moms can be both good and bad or just one of those adjectives. To put different links into context, we will look at a set universe that portrays distinct relations; Gilmore Girls. (No spoilers ahead, don't worry!)
Mother and daughter, Lorelai and Rory, are the center of the Gilmore Girls world. Often idealized due to their closeness, Rory and Lorelai drift towards each other no matter the circumstances. Lorelai helps Rory navigate her teenage years (and beyond). Through all the breakups, school drama, and friendships, Lorelai was always there. In turn, Rory was Lorelai's rock, providing comfort for her mom whenever needed. The ability for these two characters to be so close throughout the years labeled as "teenage rebellion" is heartwarming, but the bond comes with its downs. Lorelai never seems to know when to be a friend, and when to be an adult. She lets Rory's life affect her to the point where she becomes irrationally upset. In succession, Rory begins to feel responsible for her mom's feelings and actions, which is a heavy burden to carry. Both of these women cling to each other to the point where it becomes difficult to let others into their lives. This is common in close maternal relationships, but it's an example of codependency. Codependency between mother and daughter can cause low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness. A daughter being dependent on her mom puts her at risk of having issues forming new bonds and trusting others. A mother being dependent on her daughter causes her to develop identity issues when her daughter eventually enters the world.
Lorelai and her mom, Emily, have been butting heads since Lorelai's teenage years. At first, both women are unable to put their pride aside, and go out of their way to hurt each other. Lorelai gets her stubbornness from her mother, which is hard for her to accept. It's easier to see the toxicity between Emily and Lorelai than it is to see between Lorelai and Rory. The strain between Emily and Lorelai is an explicit example of a controlling mother and independent daughter. Remember, a controlling mother can be one who cares so much about her child that she wants to make sure the child has what she defines as a "good life". This is why Lorelai can be labeled as a controlling mother as well. Direct verbal conflict is obviously harmful to both parties. Over time, the daughter's self-esteem diminishes, while the mother can develop intense regret. The similarities between Emily and Lorelai are also an example of a mother wound. A mother wound is when the trauma of a mother continues through her daughter, essentially the inheritance of pain. The pain Emily carries from her mother passes onto Lorelai, which passes on to Rory.
There are other representations of motherhood in Gilmore Girls, but the Gilmore dynasty is the most obvious. Generations of motherhood result in experiences being passed down through the years. Lessons, values, and insecurities flow through one mother to the next. Some of these can be toxic. For example, Emily's stubbornness passed on to Lorelai, which prevented her from accepting her mother's help in the future. But why didn't Rory share the same stubbornness? This is an instance of breaking the generational cycle. While familial traditions are important, breaking down harmful ones is essential to our future generations.
Thus, mothers are incredibly influential in their daughter's life. I know firsthand. My mom instilled in me the same values she has. Her ability to be determined in dire situations is inspiring. My knowledge of interacting with others stems from my mom too. In all aspects of my life, I am influenced by her, and I always think of ways to make her proud of me. I am lucky to have a healthy relationship with my mom, and I couldn't imagine a life without her. I am incredibly proud to call myself my mom's daughter.
It's Mother's Day this coming Sunday. Whether you are estranged from your mom (or mother figure), close to her or anywhere in between, remember to take care of yourself. Although you are influenced by your mother, you are your own person and can exist separate from her. Take time to celebrate mothers in your life, or celebrate yourself for being here.