Are You As Good As Your Mom?
The new mother-daughter team continued...
"Daughters seeing their mothers as confidantes and best friends is a
development that's unusual in the history of humankind," says Deborah
Tannen, Ph.D., a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and the
author of the best-selling You're Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and
Daughters in Conversation.
Why are we seeing this new closeness right now? When women entered the
workplace in force in the seventies, some experts say, they ended up living
very differently than their mothers had, and a big generation gap opened up.
Not so for the women we surveyed-they may find it easier to relate to their
mothers as equals because 59 percent of their moms worked outside the home.
Tannen believes that today's mother-daughter teams benefit from a cultural bias
that values youth over age, creating a two-way street in which moms need their
daughters' advice as much as the daughters need theirs.
Talk to me!
Technology is another reason for this strong mother-daughter connection,
says Tannen. Cell phones and e-mail make it easier to stay in touch, and most
of our respondents do, speaking to their mothers at least once a week. Four in
ten are even chattier, talking once a day or more.
One of them is Jennifer Morton, 36, a stay-at-home mother of a 12-year-old
son in Raleigh, North Carolina. The only thing Morton won't bring up with her
mother? "Problems in my marriage," she says. "What if I'm the one
who's wrong? I need a more objective view...and I don't want her to be
prejudiced against my husband."
Morton's response isn't unusual. While 61 percent say they turn to their
mothers for advice on life in general, and over half ask for parenting tips,
only a third invite Mom to weigh in on their marriages or relationships.
Being a good mom gets tougher all the time
Almost three quarters of the women say that being a mother today is harder
than it was when their own moms were packing the lunch boxes. Are they just
feeling sorry for themselves? No, say the experts, who point out that today's
tidal wave of parenting guides and must-have developmental toys creates intense
pressure on mothers to raise little Einsteins. And popular culture plays a
part. In follow-up interviews, many women said they needed to shield their kids
from inappropriate music, TV, movies, and Internet sites.