In Her Words
Turning Into My Mother
Five things I do now that I never thought I would
By: Mayra David
I believe they call it “nesting.” But naming this phenomena doesn’t make it any less astonishing that I seem to be turning into the woman I admire most, but never thought I wanted to be: For better or worse, since getting married a year ago, I’ve become more and more like my mother.
1) I cook. And I don’t mean pasta mired in store-bought ragout. I mean stews that cook for hours, fish at least once a week and veggies galore. Not only that: I keep leftovers! I love thinking up ways of transforming them into new meals, and I hate the thought of wasting even the meanest potato.
2) I dress like her. I shop less often; I’ve curbed my impulse buying; and I always hit the sales rack in discount stores first. Today I have a sixth sense for sales but for some reason, as a teenager, I was so annoyed at my mother for always buying things that were marked down. I hated hearing her lecture about the virtues of buying classic items I’ll wear a lot and only a few trendy “throwaway” pieces to “freshen them up.”
3) Weekends are for cleaning first and playing later. It used to irk me to no end that mom seemed unable to relax on the weekends. She’d always find something for me to clean. Now, instead of planning to lounge as much as possible, I come to the end of a week with a list of tasks in my head (and sometimes on paper). Shoving a stack of magazines under the couch until it lifts off the floor doesn’t work for me anymore. I have to sort them and place them in the recycling bin, and then I make my husband vacuum under the couch and not just around it. That goes double for dusting.
4) Buying groceries in bulk. After the cleaning came the weekly “run” to the supermarket that was really a marathon ending in a lifetime’s worth of groceries. It was weekend-consuming, back-breaking work. When I first lived on my own, I only bought what I consumed right away, and mostly that was take-out food. Today my key chain is a grocery store rewards card and I’ve become intimately familiar with the defrost button of our microwave. Our wallet and nutrition are the happier for it.
5) I run the household. Granted, there is only the two of us. But I do take care of paying the bills and “dealing with vendors,” as my mother used to say. More than that, though, I’m the one who responds to invitations. I buy the presents and sign them “From both of us.” At times I wonder when I took on this role, these responsibilities. But I must admit that I do like the executive power.