When I received this morning’s email with the NaBloPoMo daily prompt, “If you could create a painless, inexpensive cure for a single ailment, what would you cure and why?”, I immediately thought about the cancers that have taken several family members, the diabetes that has become the scourge of my family, the cardiac ailments, and dementia that has become a concern for many. But then something happened on a Facebook thread.
Someone, who shall remain nameless, was complaining about her mother. Again. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t take sides in a conflict (yes, you may take a look at yesterday’s blog regarding conflict). I commented with, what I thought was a totally impartial, “It’s a shame that you are using FB as your personal therapist again. No one is perfect, no one. Life is short and family is everything.” I was subsequently deleted and blocked, so I really shouldn’t use quotation marks because now I’m not sure of my exact words. But we’re going to go with the spirit of the words, not the letter.
So, because the topic of mothers and daughters has been weighing on my mind for the last few weeks, I’m going to leave all the physical ailments to the other writers who are responding to the daily prompt, and I’m going to discuss Mother-Daughter Syndrome. Today’s society has figured out a diagnosis, or a title, for everything. Whatever ails us has to have a name. It might not be found on the pages of the DSM-5, but there is definitely M-DS, because, once again, we love those acronyms.
The first step to combating M-DS is admitting you have it. While there is no screening tool for this, we will attempt a non-scientific approach. First off, there can be no criminality involved. If the mother or daughter are involved in the criminal justice system, there is something else going on there. For example, if the mother or daughter is currently being supervised by a child protection agency, for neglect or abuse, then criminality is involved. This is not M-DS.
M-DS involves feelings. It involves emotions. Bonding. Nurturing. Favoritism. If these words make you twitch, then you may have M-DS.
If you believe you are the perfect mother, then you may have M-DS. A perfect mother hasn’t yet been invented. Even Jesus didn’t have a perfect mother. Remember when he was thought to be lost following temple services, only to be found discussing scripture with scholars. My daughter was once thought to be lost in a department store. She giggled while hiding in a clothing rack. I snatched her up in the air and shook her. Yea, I am not a perfect mother. I’m pretty sure that the Virgin Mary wanted to do the same thing, but there were too many witnesses.
If you are a daughter and you believe that your mother favors another sibling, you may have M-DS. If you are an only child, you are screwed.
The very definition of motherhood is unconditional love. A child did not choose to be born. A mother chose to have a child. A mother may choose to dislike the father of her child, hate is a word reserved for children of rape, but the child is innocent of everything. Period. If you need a definition for unconditional love, then you may have M-DS.
If by the time your daughter has reached young adulthood and hasn’t yet figured out the why behind the decisions you made on their behalf, they may have M-DS. By that time, they are old enough to reason, for themself, why you told them, “Because I said so”. If they can’t, then something happened along the way and you may have to tell them. Do it. Telling your daughter why you did or said something doesn’t weaken you. It can only make your relationship stronger. Tell your daughter that you are sorry for doing something, even if you didn’t think it was a big deal at the time. If they are holding something against you, it was big to them. And that’s what is important. Fix it. Be. The. Adult.
Sometimes we are the victims, sometimes we are the victimizers. We can be both, as much as we like to say we’re not. There is no reason why the mistakes made by one generation have to be passed on to the next. None at all.
Just do us all a favor and keep your shit off Facebook.