Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday's Woman: Mothers and Daughters

“Probably there is nothing in human nature more resonant with charges than the flow of energy between two biologically alike bodies, one of which has lain in amniotic bliss inside the other, one of which has labored to give birth to the other. The materials are here for the deepest mutuality and the most painful estrangement.”
― Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution

Missy Bedell, Literal Mom
Today’s Wednesday’s Woman comes from a blogger I have been following since well before the birth of Sperk*.  I would say, she is probably one of the reasons Sperk* is in existence.  Her blog, Literal Mom, inspires, is accessible, and has its pulse on reality, examining what it means to be a “thinking parent” in today’s world.  She is a former litigator, a wife and mother, a child advocate, and a passionate volunteer.  Like all of us, she's someone's child--a daughter.

I am thrilled to welcome Literal Mom’s, Missy Bedell, as today’s guest blogger for Wednesday’s Woman.  After you read her post here where she examines the mother-daughter relationship, I guarantee you’ll be moved to read more at Literal Mom, follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook.  You can also find Missy at one of my favorite sites as a contributor at Just Be Enough.

Wednesday's Woman: My Mother
Missy Bedell, Literal Mom

Sometimes the time for a story comes and you're afraid to write it. 

I agreed to write for Sperk* for Wednesday's Woman a long time ago.  And when she reminded me that it was today, I had a bit of a panic attack. 

I can write about moments.  I can give you kid vignettes.  I can hide behind humor and tongue in cheek posts, like I did last week.

What I normally don't give you is information about my past. 

And today I'm writing about someone else's past. 

My Mother.

We've had our ups and downs over the years.  I'm beginning to think that all mothers and daughters do.  It's the nature of the beast - two females existing in what is arguably the closest relationship you have with another human being. 

The relationship starts off with 100% give on the part of the mother and 100% take on the part of the daughter.  But gradually, the daughter earns more and more autonomy and the mother, if she's wise, knows how to pull back her percentage of giving to her daughter, creating instead of a 100% give and receive, a balance of love, support, encouragement and recognition that the daughter's her own independent, brave soul who can navigate the difficulties of life without her mother's hand leading the way.

No easy task.  I'm a daughter and I'm a mother.  I see it from both sides now.  Why my mother has seemed overbearing at times (she's my mother and mothers know best, dammit!) and how I always want to support my own daughters without being an overbearing mother (even if they're doing something I know is wrong and why aren't they listening to me - I'm their mother and I know best, dammit!).

So yes, the mother daughter relationship.  It can be fraught with pitfalls over the lifetime a mother and daughter may spend together.

But my mother, despite our ups and downs, deserves a Wednesday's Woman write up more than any other woman I know. 

Kimberly sent me an email saying "Wednesday's Woman can be courageous, honest, authentic or humble - any characteristic that speaks to the power of what can happen when we are in touch with our own humanity."

Immediately my mother came to mind.  Because of one word.


This is a woman whose husband left her in the 1960's saddled with three young children, no job and no real skills as she'd married him right out of high school and had her children back to back while he attended college.  HE attended college.  Not SHE.

What did she do?  She tapped into her courage, because for this woman, defeat would never be an option.  That was for the weak. 

She tapped into her courage, talked her way into a job as office manager in her town's dermatology office and made it work.  Often by sheer grit and determination. 

Likely by some blood, sweat and tears along the way too.  Or maybe not tears.  This is a woman who, if she'd been a man, would have been considered a real ball buster.

It was the 1960s! 

And she did it all on her own for quite a few years. 

Eventually she met a man, a good man, and married him.  He would become my Dad, when I was born a few years later.

And this December they're celebrating their 43rd or so anniversary.

A second marriage that's lasted over 40 years.  Raising a blended family of his, hers and ours.  Which has its own inherent challenges.

It hasn't been easy for her.  And sometimes I get mad at her. 

But she's a mother and I'm a daughter.  It goes with the territory. 

photo credit: dianecordell via photo pin cc


  1. Missy, your mom sounds like an amazing woman! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, either. This was touching, and makes me miss my mom.

  2. Kimberly - thank you so much for having me here today! It's an honor. And your words about me are soooo nice. It makes me wonder who you're talking about! :)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Your mother sounds like a truly awesome lady, full of grit and determination. And it sounds like you have some incredible memories of her.

  5. You are so right. In the '60s that had to have been terrifying. Alone with no higher education and children to raise. I'm sure an experience like that shaped your mother and how she related to people. It's good that you are now of an age you can appreciate all she went through and be proud of that.

  6. She sounds like an amazing woman! Along with courage, I'd say it sounds like grit. True grit. And not very many people get that accolade. This was beautifully written!

  7. Fantastic woman - a true hero of her times!

  8. Mother-daughter relationships can be so complicated. I think as we become mothers ourselves, we gain a whole new understanding but getting to know your mother's story, her strength and determination, that has to come in to play as well. What a great Wed. Woman piece!

  9. I stand up and applaud her. I get it... it may be 40 years later, but I get it and I hope, the when/if I remarry, it's for 40 years or more as well!

  10. How blessed you are to have the mom you do, and how fortunate she is as well to have a daughter who is so grateful. Yes, mother daughter relationships can be rocky to traverse sometimes, and I don't think that changes as we get older or as our children grow into adults. That being said, I think most of us wouldn't miss being a mom for all the tea in China! Thanks for sharing your mom with us!

  11. Yes, we all have our ups and downs but it is so nice to know that your friend has a mom that is there for all of it and doing the best she can. Sounds like your mom is a pretty strong, amazing woman.

  12. Your mom sounds like a force. It's funny - in hindsight, I admire my mom much more than I did in the moment growing up, but I think it's the same for all of us. I can be overbearing with my daughter, too - but typically it's my defense mechanism to "get through the day." What an inspiring story!

  13. Missy, beautiful post, as always. So nice to hear a story of a courageous, strong woman! Yes, mother/daughter relationships can be a challenge but it sounds like you have a great role model and you are repeating that for your girls! :)

  14. What an amazing story! Back in the 60's it was definitely a different world! Your mom sounds like one determined woman.

  15. Great choice, Kimberly. I love Missy!

    Courageous. Such an amazing quality! So happy that your mom got a second chance at love and happiness!

  16. Missy, what a great post. Your mom is courageous. I couldn't even imagine...

  17. This is beautiful, ladies.

    And I loved getting a glimpse of your past, your story.

    Courageous, indeed.


Comment moderation is on so you will not see your words here immediately. Sperk* loves feedback. She WILL see your words immediately, then post them in the comment section. . . unless you are spam. . . or someone named Sam. . . Anonymous is fine, just be respectful and kind. Thank you.