What to do when you’ve turned into the Mother you don’t want to be

I recently read an article written by Lily Kreitinger titled I have turned into my Mother! She wrote how her six-year-old daughter began acting like her “mini-me” and not in a good way. She went on to list the six different mom types that we can become when we regretfully become our mothers but also action items so we can change who we want to be going forward.

Phantom Mom:

You may have had a Phantom Mom if you spent a lot of time in your room while she spent a lot of time in hers and got birthday cards addressed “To Whom it May Concern.” You know when relationships get past the point of no return and find quick ways to bow out when things get too close for comfort.

Action item: Find one or two people you can trust, who can provide the encouragement and support you have been trying to find.

China Doll Mom:

The second type is the China Doll Mom. This mom wants everyone to “turn their frown upside down” because she can’t deal with pain, anger or “bad feelings.” You may have had this kind of mom, if instead of friends you have “pet projects.”

Action item: Find a group of friends with whom you can be yourself. You will find that vulnerability is not scary, and that it is the courageous path for true connection.

Controlling Mom:

The Controlling Mom is very easy to spot. Mother knows best. You’d better stay here in the tower, little Rapunzel, because out there, the world will eat you alive. You may have had a controlling mom if you find yourself volunteering on every committee, juggling work, family and friends’ requests and end up each day exhausted wondering when it will be your turn.

Action item: Find out what you like. Say no to your neighbor when they ask you to babysit. Sing Let It Go at the top of your lungs.

The Trophy Mom:

The Trophy Mom will tackle the coach and pin them to the ground if she feels you have been cheated out of an opportunity to shine at the championship game. You do not dare disappoint her. Ever. How do you deal with Trophy Mom’s voice in your head? With this action item:

Action itemWrite a list of everything that you heard that is a lie. “Failure is not an option.” “Give it your all and make me proud.” “We are not quitters or losers.” Then, write a list of what you know to be true starting with “I am good enough, and I don’t have to be perfect.”

The Still-the-Boss Mom:

My mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, was one of these. She would come into my house, plan a menu for my guests, cook and serve the meal and assign seating at my table. She had a hard time treating her six children as adults. If your mom wants to be the boss, whether she is living or just a voice in your head, follow this action item:

Action item: Find a group of people who recognize your amazing talents and qualities and see you as the amazing adult you are.

The American Express Mom:

The American Express Mom, says it all. You don’t leave home without her. My mom is one of those. I’ve been married for ten years and she still does my laundry when she comes to visit. She expects a phone call every week and wants me to check in when I’m going on vacation, just to make sure I’m safe. Hello, we live 3000 miles apart. What difference does it make if I’m in Minnesota or Hawaii? To detach myself, I had to set hard boundaries for now. I am pretty sure I am banned to enter Mexico and I will soon hear a knock on the door when she sends out a SWAT team to rescue me from the people who have brainwashed me out of her power.

Action item: Set boundaries. Define specific things that you will do and will not do and the same for her. This will likely be hard, but it is worth it.

I love this article because, in the end, Lily admonishes us to try to come to a place where we can understand our mom as she did to us only what she knew how to do. We can forgive her and love her for who she is and not who we want her to be.

To learn more about this topic, read The Mom Factor by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Which type of mom do you most relate to?


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