Friday, May 7, 2010

10 Questions to Ask Your Mom ~

About a year ago Real Simple had an article about the "10 Questions to Ask Your Mother Now".  I would say my Mom and I are about as close as can be, but even these questions ignited a great conversation (I also asked my Dad the same questions - and had a great discussion as well). I thought it was such a great article and it would be fitting for Mother's Day this Sunday.
 1. What’s the one thing you would have done differently as a mom? Recently I had this conversation with someone I had considered one of the best mothers I know―the kind who never missed a kid’s concert or a PTA conference. Her children are grown now, and they are neither independent nor particularly grateful. “I should have let them fail,” she told me. “When my daughter forgot to do her homework, I shouldn’t have done it for her. When the other one got caught shoplifting, I should have let her spend a night in jail.” For better or worse, your mother has probably given this subject a good deal of thought.

2. Why did you choose to be with my father? “Look at him!” my mother says adoringly. “He looks just like Jascha Heifetz!” He does, actually. But Heifetz, perhaps the world’s greatest violinist, was one weird-looking dude. And my dad doesn’t even play the violin. (Which is a bit like an accountant being the spitting image of Mick Jagger.) So was there anything else? “Well, he liked smart women,” says my mom, who was in medical school when they met in the 1950s. “So many men didn’t back then.” Not a bad reason to marry someone. I’m glad I asked. 

3. In what ways do you think I’m like you? And not like you? Accuracy is not important here; you want to know her perceptions. Does she think you share her best qualities or her worst? (And do you agree?) Are your similarities and differences complementary―they make the two of you click―or are they the cause of all your conflicts?

4. Which one of us kids did you like the best? OK, chances are she’ll dodge this question. But you’ll probably force a compliment out of her―“You were the one who set the table when you were three”―and get a little insight into how she viewed each of you. And if she gives a straight answer? Well, you’ll all have something new to fixate upon.

5. Is there anything you have always wanted to tell me but never have? The woman who suggested this question had learned late in life that the “aunt” who had lived with her parents while she was growing up was, in fact, her father’s lover―an arrangement that apparently suited all involved. Your mom’s secrets might be a little less stunning. But hearing something she has been holding back may take your relationship into (good) uncharted territory.

6. Do you think it’s easier or harder to be a mother now than when you were raising our family? We might agonize about working more hours outside the home and competing with our kids’ cell phones for attention, but our mothers had other battles. “My mom thinks that if she had had a career, she would have been less frustrated and a better mother,” reports one friend. The two of you needn’t have a Terms of Endearment moment over this one, but by understanding what she went through, you may appreciate your own situation more.
 7. Is there anything you regret not having asked your parents? In my informal survey, the list went on and on, covering everything from “Did you ever think about leaving my dad for someone else?” and “Did you ever want to just throw in the towel?” to “What music do you want played at your funeral?” People regretted what they hadn’t asked―never what they had.

8. What’s the best thing I can do for you right now? My mother is not subtle: “Call every day. If you don’t, I think you’re dead.” Other friends who had asked this question over the years were invariably surprised. One mom wanted her daughter to teach her to use a computer; another wanted her son, a plastic surgeon, to give her a face-lift. (“I had a moment where I didn’t exactly love lifting my mother’s skin off, but I thought I could do a better job than anyone else,” he says.) The mom of a young colleague wanted to meet her friends. “I’d always thought she wasn’t interested in them,” she says. “In fact, my mom was just shy.”

9. Is there anything that you wish had been different between us―or that you would still like to change? This inquiry prompted one mother to plan a trip with her 30-year-old daughter―their first ever. She and her husband had always vacationed alone when their children were young, and she had felt bad about it for years. Whether you’re 25 or 55, chances are there is some dynamic between you and your mother that could be better. Give her a chance to put it out there.

10. When did you realize you were no longer a child? I know what the answer will be for me, and I was startled to hear my mother give the same response: “I knew it when my own mother died,” she told me. “That’s the last time there would be anyone in the world who always put me before herself.” 

by Judith Newman, you can go here for the article.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you and the wonderful Mother's in your life!    

Mom, I love you! 


Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Wow, Chelsea, this is very thought provoking and I must admit I teared up when I got to the last one. I think I will ask my Mom some of these questions, too. It lets you know the woman that is the Mom.

Tammy @ said...


This is a great Mother's Day post! Have a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Best wishes,

Bonnie@Creative Decorating said...

Great questions! I wish I would have asked these questions before my mother's mind began to lose the battle with dementia. I have a little piece I am going to post Saturday in honor of Mother's Day about her.

Everyone enjoy your mother's while you can. The day does come that the roles can reverse.

On a side note, I thought I was a follower as I have you on my blog but I noticed I wasn't popping up over here!! So now you have a new follower that is an old follower!!

Suzanne said...

I LOVED this post. Some of the questions made me chuckle and others made me tear up. So wonderful. Thanks for sharing with us. My favorite mother's day post so far!

Funky Junk Interiors said...

This was really a special post!

From someone who can no longer ask her mom questions, I encourage you to evolk conversation, ask for storie you don't know about, etc. For the last little while I was lingering onto every story my mom told. Something told me to just do it. I'm glad I did.


Shayna @ Texas Monkey said...

What a great and special post, thank you for sharing it, I will be having these conversations with my mom and blogging about it for sure.

Ms. Bake-it said...

Great post Chelsea!

I have already asked my mother some of these questions but there are a few on this list that I will be asking her soon.

Happy Mother's Day!

~ Tracy

Life in Rehab said...

Wow, you know how to make a big tough redhead cry. I loved this post Chelsea.

Studio 7 Interior Design, Kristen Rockwood said...

You've received the Sunshine Award! Check out my blog to see!

**** April **** said...

Wow, I only wish that I a) had the kind if mom that would actually answer questions like these or b) I had a relationship with enough that I could actually talk to her about them. Makes me kinda sad. Every Mothers Day there are tons of great cards for *those* kind of moms but none for mine. I dont think they make cards for "thanks for siding with my ex husband instead of your own daughter" cards. lol I do have a relationship with her but only for the sake of my three children and the fact that she likes to have someone to call and share her gossip with.

Unknown said...

Upon reading this post, I picked up the phone and called my Mom. Just because.

Sandy said...

My regrets run deep now that mom is no longer with me... how I miss her.
Mom died 11 years ago and I can still feel her, hear her words,
smell her...
Great post!


Dawn said...

I LOVE this!! I'm going to do this with my own mother. I may even video it. (If she lets me! LOL)

Great blog!


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