Tag Archives: approval

Seeking Her Approval

10 Jun

My mom was a pack rat—she kept newspaper and magazine clippings that she thought would have lasting importance and she even had piles of unread newspapers that she planned to peruse in case they had important information. I must admit that I do the same. Although I promised myself that I would throw out newspapers after one week and keep only a small file of newspaper clippings, I still have an excess of piles that I am sure I will need one day. This is actually a good topic for a future post or perhaps a reason why I am an excellent candidate for the reality show, Hoarders.

As I was trying to sift through saved articles tonight, I came across one that I planned to write about. One year ago, I read an interview with Leslie Blodgett, the Bare Escentual’s founder. In this New York Times article, http://nyti.ms/HPqF69, Blodgett confirms what many of us moms know—that we must guide our daughters, even if it they show resentment along the way. We can only hope that our love and guidance will result in feelings like Leslie’s, “’I love her, and she was an amazing mother,” adding “But if she wasn’t such a bitch, I wouldn’t be what I am today.””

Every day I run the risk of garnering the title, b…..” and I guess that means I am doing a good job! Of course I know that what my children consider nagging, might actually help them to be happier, well-adjusted or even successful. Whether I am telling my children to turn off the TV, start homework or cut their shopping lists in half, I find I must intervene. It can be easier to ignore their problems or decide that they do not need advice. And, certainly there are many situations that warrant very little motherly comment or action. But, if we are like Leslie Blodgett, who “’Until I was 39, I was driven to please her,’” we will meddle.

If we set standards and help our daughters develop goals, we are doing our job. We should be ready to go one step further and, like Ms. Blodgett’s mom, push them and remind them. My daughter has goals for college and I certainly will not stand by if she veers off her chosen (and approved by me) path.  My daughter has said that she feels pressure to succeed in certain situations and she quickly points out that she puts the pressure on herself. She came up with and pursued her own GPA goal. Knowing that she has drive and self-motivation helps, but that does not mean my job is done. My daughter knows that my love for her is unconditional and never-ending. But I do hope that she has a desire to please me. What does it mean to please me? That part is actually simple.  Pleasing me means setting and following goals. It means trying your hardest to purse these goals. Trying to please our mom, wanting their approval continues throughout our lives, just as Ms. Blodgett said. “And I guess I’m still trying to win her approval, in a way.”

While my mom was alive, I certainly did look for her approval, which was not easy to find. Fortunately, her standards were high. Even now, I wonder if she would approve of the things I do. I often think about what she would say if she saw me now. Writing this blog is about her important presence in my life even though she is not physically here.

Having our moms looking over us helps us find our way. A mother’s “yes” or “no” can have a huge impact on us. We certainly have the choice to ignore her, call her names or follow her advice.  Along the way we have plenty of opportunity for each of those options. I just hope that daughters lucky enough to have their moms involved in their lives, at any age, take advantage of their mom’s push and pull.


Corned Beef and Cabbage – A Celebration

13 Mar

After seeing every bit of meat, cabbage, potatoes and bread devoured, I wonder how my mom would react to my family’s annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner.  I know she liked corned beef and she ate cabbage, especially stuffed. But, I also know she did not enjoy celebrating holidays that started with St.

I can recall many Februarys when she would remind my father that he should not give her flowers or any gift for Valentine’s Day because it was not “her” holiday. It still puzzles me that, as a Jew, she seemed offended that we were expected to celebrate holidays honoring saints. I can hear her unwavering belief that, “These holidays could not be “Americanized.’” She did not mind that I exchanged cards with other children in school and she did not speak out against other Jews partaking in Valentine’s rituals. But, still, she did ruin some of the February 14th fun.

I wish I had the opportunity to invite her for dinner this week. She would not have to wear green or acknowledge St. Patrick. Having this delicious meal has become a tradition that my husband and children relish. I am definitely drawn in by the holiday hype and Shop Rite specials. I’d love to think that her opposition to such celebrations would have lessened with age and that she, who loved bargains and good food, would enjoy or even applaud my efforts.

I wonder if other motherless women have initiated traditions that their mothers would question. I wonder if we, motherless women, even find some relief knowing that our mothers will not judge these questionable rituals. Or, do others fantasize, as I do, that our mothers would have mellowed and even express approval? Are there things you do (or don’t do) because your mom will not know? If your mom is in your life, what influence does she have on the traditions you do or do not keep?