10 Questions to Ask Your Mother Now
Better understand the woman who kept you in clean underwear (among many other things).
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.