My Mother’s Daughter


It's not nagging; it's love!

Early in the morning, on the day my mother left this earth, she called me. It was not to tell me the secret of life, or ooze with gushy words over my greatness at being her daughter; it was to remind me to go to the financial aid office to make sure my paperwork for my student loan had been processed for the next semester. While she certainly remembered to end the conversation with an “I love you,” her call was a purposeful prompt for me to get things done. This wasn’t because she found me too incompetent to take care of my own shizz, because thanks to her, I’d been handling my own shizz for quite some time. Her final reminder was an example of who she was; a woman who endlessly worried about her children. I am SO my mother’s daughter.

On a daily basis you can hear me say such phrases as: “Did you eat lunch; what did you have?” “You have that paper due on the 11th; are you making note cards?” “Be careful at that blind turn on your way to school!” Do I think my daughters wouldn’t eat lunch, turn assignments in on time, or crash their cars without my input? Certainly not! I know, from my own experience, that after my mother’s death, I turned in papers in a timely manner, unplugged the coffee maker before leaving the house, and that I always remembered to not buy cheap bras, “because they’ll make your boobs sag!” Oh, but I missed her unnecessary input, and I still hear her voice at the crux of any decision I make.

Yes, I’m a serious nag, and during my daughter’s teen years, my advice and questioning was often met with eye rolls. Now my ceaseless guidance, in most cases, evokes a smile, because they know. They know that my badgering is one of the ways that I stay enmeshed in their lives. It’s one of the silly ways that I say “I love you,” and show that I care so deeply about them that I want even the most miniscule details of their lives to go smoothly. Even in my mother’s last hours, she was tangled up in the routines of my life. She was giving me orders that voiced her love and expectations of me. I am SO much my mother’s daughter.

Thanks, Mom!

Do you nag your children unnecessarily? Was, or is, your mom a nag?


20 thoughts on “My Mother’s Daughter

  1. I think “nagging” is just an offshoot of a mother’s worry. What you heard as your mom’s reminder to make sure this or that gets done was really her way of wanting to make sure everything was taken care of, that you were ok. I am the same way. I like to think that when I’m bossing the wee one around he knows I’m silently saying ” I love I love I love you”.

  2. I’m glad your “nagging” is seen for what it really is 🙂 My mom is a worry-wart, but she’s pretty good about not going overboard (let me rephrase that: she’s pretty good at not showing that she’s already gone overboard)!

    Given the extent to which I fret over my dog, I’m fairly certain I’d have a heart attack if kids were in the picture.

    • I try my best to not go overboard, but sometimes I just can’t help it. My daughter’s usually find it amusing and my oldest has told me more than once that I’m the voice in her head reminding her to unplug everything before she leaves for class each day!
      I fret over my two kitties, too! Luckily they know I’m the one who fills the food dishes, so they never roll their eyes at me! 🙂

  3. My mother was and still is a serious nag. I am so NOT like my mother. I can intellectually understand that it’s her way of showing that she cares. I get it, I truly truly do. BUT. She knows how desperately I hate it and so maybe the way she could really show she loved me would be to leave me alone most of the time? If I were more tolerant of it, or smiled the way your daughters do, she could nag away to her heart’s content and I would just brush it off. But I bristle and practically hiss when she starts in on me. If I’m cooking something during the holidays, I can barely get through boiling water without her letting me know what I’m doing wrong (the pot is usually too big/small/heavy/light…). And I think that, actually, is the difference. It’s not just “Did you remember to do these things for yourself?” kind of nagging. It’s the “Why can’t you remember to do things right, like I do?” kind of nagging. When I was younger, she would literally grab things out of my hands so she could do it herself. I don’t mean when I was a child and still learning how to cook. I’m talking about already out of college and making something I’d already made a gazillion times. She doesn’t know when to stop.

    I’m too much like my father. She would nag him too, and I would watch the frustration build and build until he just couldn’t take it anymore. That’s when I learned all the choice Portuguese vocabulary 😉

    • Awww, that’s terrible! My nagging is never like that, nor was my mother’s. (Heck, if my kids want to cook, I’m gonna clear right out of the kitchen and let them go for it!) My nagging is more along the lines of safety and education. I never belittle what they’re doing. The type of nagging that you’re decribing would drive me crazy, too!

  4. How the heck did this post not land in my inbox? I just typed in your URL to confirm it for a trackback and cursed when I saw a new post. I’m glad to be seeing it now, if late.

    So far, I don’t nag Li’l D much. Ba.D., on the other hand? If you asked him about me and how I manage getting dishes done, he’d say otherwise! I think that’s the only area where I’m (consistently) a nag. I think this is going to change as Li’l D gets a little older.

    My mom wasn’t a nag most of the time. She wasn’t organized enough to remember things to nag me for. Once in a while, though, when I needed it, she’d push me toward something I really did need to do. I remember those moments with love.

    I remember, too, a moment where I thought she’d nag me. I called her while waiting to get into the MTV VMAs one year and told her I’d just withdrawn from law school. I asked, “Are you disappointed?”

    Rather than nagging, she said with a smile I could hear, “Do I sound disappointed? You made it to UCLA Law, honey.”

    That being said, she was none too sad when I changed my mind and re-enrolled a couple of months later. 🙂

    • “Rather than nagging, she said with a smile I could hear, “Do I sound disappointed? You made it to UCLA Law, honey.”

      She didn’t nag you, because she knew you well enough, and long enough, to realize that you could make decent decisions for yourself, plus, she loved the heck out of you!! I’ve been K’s mom long enough to respect and have faith in the decisions that she makes. Although my youngest needs some extra guidance and prodding in getting things, in a healthy state she makes good decisions for herself. My mom nagged me because she was a huge worrier. It was her way of feeling in control when it came to my well-being because she loved me so very much. I do often wonder how our relationship would have evolved had she lived. Would she have gotten to the point where she could totally let me make my own decisions without giving her input? I’ll never know. I do know that any nagging that I do with my own daughters is purely out of worry and love.
      I’m pretty lucky when it comes to my husband because he’s even more of a neat freak than me. He can’t cook, at all, so he always does the dishes! 🙂
      I’m glad you found my post, as I always love your comments! 🙂 ❤

  5. I am not like my mother. I say it and I want it to be true, but sometimes I catch myself. I’m My Mother 3.0. I’m more mindful about certain things and I don’t fuss about other thins. Where she was insecure, I am certain. I know my son is competent, and I only have one — while her attention was divided. So maybe I have less to worry about.

    Do I still ask him if he has brushed his teeth before he leaves the house? Yes.

    Because that is disgusting. 😉

    Is that nagging?

    I prefer to think of it as a gentle reminder, a Public Service Announcement, if you will, that friends prefer friends who don’t stink.

    • I’m a less naggy, less worrying version of my own mom, too. My mother was a bit to sheltering with my brother and me. I was always very proud of myself when I allowed my daughters to do things that my mother would have never given in to because of her worrying. It wasn’t that mom didn’t trust us, she just didn’t trust others to keep us safe. My children have been places and done things because I knew it was important for me to let them see that they had the ability to look out for themselves and make good decisions. Yet, I still “remind” my kids about things that involve safety or school. I just can’t help myself!

  6. I wouldn’t say my mother was a nag, either, but she is an excessive worrier. To the point, at times, of being unreasonable and interruptive in my life, just to settle her fears and anxieties. I mean trying to break in my house over the years when she didn’t hear from me. Waking up (when she had a key) to find her standing in my bedroom doorway, me screaming out loud, then her yelling at me for screaming. I like to be left alone. But often, when it’s concern and thoughfulness,like a food bag or toilet paper and dish towels, it’s quite nice.

    But your involvement in your kids lives sounds like what we expect when a parent cares about our well-being and performance. Imagine a parent who never asked a thing about you, and only talked about themselves. I know some whose parents are this way. Super Selfish.

    • OMG! I would have freaked out if my mom broke into my house to check on me. I am the world’s most disoriented person when I don’t wake up naturally! My family fears waking me up!

      You summed it up very nicely. I do care very much about their well-being and performance and they know that! 🙂

  7. It’s been a long time I know, but it feels good to be visiting blogs again. I think nagging and just plain caring is every parent’s right and 9 out of 10 times those children will grow up and be just like their parents. Long live good parenting skills. On the other hand some people might carry it a bit far.

  8. My mom nagged a fair amount, and a lot of her advice really was for the best, but many times it failed to register because of the sheer quantity. I really try not to nag my kids save a handful of messages I think are most important.

    • I think men tend to lack the nagging gene. I’m sure your mom’s advice was excellent. It’s so nice that she sometimes shares it with those of us in the blogosphere when she partners with you on “Dear Good Greatsby!”

  9. I just read about your checkout line incident from seeing your twitter display.



    Doh, no!

    Have you quite posting in favor of twittering?

    • Hi there! No, I haven’t stopped posting in favor of Twittering. I’ve just been bad about keeping up with my blog. I’ve been pretty good with communicating through comments and Twitter, but I haven’t done a lot of writing. Being busy is really no excuse because I know lots of busy bloggers. I think my mind has just been to occupied to effectively write since my oldest left for med school. I’m not a very good nearly empty nester! Good to hear from you!

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