“Like Mother, Like Daughter” … Is the Phrase Really True? Are You Destined to be Like Your Mother?

Mother’s day having just passed, this is a great time to reflect for many on the importance and relationship we have had with our Mothers. Few lifelong relationships can compare to the complex range of emotions shared between mothers and daughters. And whether you’d describe your relationship as “best friends,” “mortal enemies” or somewhere in between, most daughters reach a point in their life when they stop and think, “I sound just like my mother.”

This may be music to your ears or, perhaps, it may make you cringe a little and remember how you swore you would never be that way. Yet, for many women, the imprint of their mother is an important, and inescapable, part of who they are. In an excerpt of the book “Side by Side: the Revolutionary Mother­Daughter Program for Conflict­Free Communication” posted by MSNBC, author Dr. Charles Sophy describes the dynamic mother­daughter relationship:

“With all due respect, I often compare the motherdaughter relationship to being on a roller coaster, the big, scary kind that you’re able to see from the next town over and whose passengers can be heard shrieking from miles away. Parts of that ride can certainly be thrilling and crazy fun, much like the way you may feel when you and your daughter are really getting along. There may be other stretches of that same ride that leave you feeling anxious, fearful, or nauseated — much like the way you may feel when you and your daughter are in the midst of an argument. There’s one big difference, though, between these two rides. Unlike the experience at the amusement park, the ride you are on with your daughter will never come to a halt, automatically release its safety bar, and allow you to exit. No matter how scary or intolerable the ride may get with your daughter, there’s not even a chance of getting off. This ride is forever.”

Are You Destined to be Like Your Mother?
In some respects, yes. For instance:

• If a mother smokes, her daughter is more likely to smoke.

• If a mother is unsatisfied with her body image, her daughter is more likely to be as well. In fact, mothers who diet are nearly twice as likely to have a daughter that suffers from an eating disorder.

• If a mother cohabitated, her daughter is 57 percent more likely to do so as well.

• If a mother is obese, her daughter is 10 times more likely to be chronically overweight or obese (not due to genetics but to copying poor lifestyle choices)

• Daughters of teenaged mothers are more than twice as likely to become teenage mothers themselves.

In terms of genetics, you get half your genes from your mom and half from your dad, so your mom’s biology does impact your own. However, lifestyle choices and habits – your decision to smoke, eat healthy, look on the sunny side of life – can all influence your future, too. So virtually nothing is set in stone.

Instead, often similarities like those noted above are not written into your genes like your hair color or height … they’re habits and tendencies that you picked up from your mom somewhere along the way.

What this means is that you may very well be like your mom, and if that’s a positive thing in your mind so much the better. But many daughters actually fear that they will grow up to be like their moms, especially during adolescence. It’s so common there’s actually a name for it: matrophobia.

If this latter scenario applies to you, and although you love your mom you want to run your life differently, there’s good news: you can. While most daughters will continue to crave their mother’s closeness and approval well into middle­age and beyond, you, and only you, can make the choices that shape your lifestyle.

Most Daughters Adore Their Mothers, and Vice Versa

No doubt about it, motherhood is one of the toughest jobs on the planet. It’s also one of the most rewarding. For all you moms and daughters out there, take comfort in the following statistics from Psychology Today … as you’ll read, most adults adore their moms and most moms feel well appreciated in return.

• 88 percent of adults say their mother has had a positive influence on them
• 92 percent say their current relationship with their mother is positive
• 88 percent of all mothers say their family appreciates them enough
• 53 percent of adults say their mother had more influence than their father had
• 60 percent of women say their mother was more influential than their father, compared with 45 percent of men

In the end, though, it seems mothers and daughters ultimately are alike, especially in regard to what they want from each other.

Dr. Charles Sophy writes in the book “Side by Side: The Revolutionary MotherDaughter Program for Conflict­Free Communication”:

“All mothers and daughters want the same things: love, understanding,
respect. And they want them from each other. Mom wants love, respect, and
understanding from the child she brought into the world. And daughter wants
the same from the woman who gave her life.”