The bond between mother and daughter is special, made even more so when a daughter has children of her own. A sense of mutual understanding clicks in that helps to bridge the gap between generations.
In honor of Mother’s Day on May 14, we spoke to some mothers and their daughters about how motherhood has changed, what they’ve learned from each other, how technology has shifted the parenting landscape, and more.
CASEY BUNN & BARBARA CARTER
For Casey and her mom Barbara, sunflowers have become a symbol of love within their family: for celebrations, for tough times, for new jobs. Whether it’s a fresh bouquet or even a magnet shaped like the flower, these blooms have become a common theme.
“They’re the happy flower,” Barbara says. “I can send flowers to my parents in Florida and not put a card on it and they will know. That’s our flower.”
We spoke to this mother and daughter about the joys of family.
On becoming a mom:
“When you’re a child, your mom is awesome and you live in this la la land,” Casey says. “And then you become a parent and you’re like, ‘Holy cow, it was so awesome being a child.’ You appreciate so much more what your parents did for you once you have children.”
On how motherhood has changed:
“I see parents online all the time supporting each other,” Barbara says.
“I think it’s a pro and a con. Sometimes they’re telling each other what they’re doing good and sometimes they’re telling each other what they’re doing bad. Everything is a comparison, whereas we were just in our own little place trying to figure everything out. Except for our immediate neighbors or our immediate family, we didn’t have people trying to second guess everything we were doing.”
Casey says that this online network is a modern mom asset.
“I love the mom groups,” she says. “I can post any question to those parents and they will have all kinds of answers, resources, people they’ve used that they loved. Like mom said, that wasn’t something she had access to. I love the opportunity to jump in and help other people and be helped when I need it.”
On showing love:
“My husband says that we hug and kiss more than anyone he’s ever met,” Barbara says. “But I’m so happy to see her, sometimes we just hug and hug and hug because we’re thrilled to see each other. What a great blessing that is.”
“Love is an action,” Casey says. “It’s your ability to come through when people need you the most, no matter what it is. And my mom does that – and more.”
DANIELLE MONTALVO & ANNA AVILES
Danielle and mom Anna agree that honesty and mutual respect help make their relationship special. A mother of four who worked three jobs at once to help support her family, Anna taught her daughter the value of hard work and served as a model for the type of woman Danielle aspired to be – in her words, “completely unstoppable.”
We chatted with Danielle and Anna about what it means to be a mother.
“Watching them grow and come into their own is probably my favorite thing,” Danielle says. “My kids are ten years apart, so while my son is becoming a teenager, my daughter is learning to walk. It’s amazing seeing the growth all over again.”
“Taking care of myself is my biggest downfall. Sometimes I focus too much on my kids, and what they need, and waste time worrying that everything is good,” says Danielle. “The reality is I have good kids, with good morals, who show me on a daily basis that I’m doing ok at this whole mom thing.”
“I think the biggest challenge was just trying to make sure that your kids didn’t make the same mistakes you did as a kid,” says Anna. “You want to make sure they have better and do better.”
On generational changes:
“Technology has really changed a lot of things,” says Anna. “When we were younger, or when the kids were younger we played outside a lot. Now kids just put their headphones on and listen to music, or they want to hang out in their room and play video games.”
“I think there are more expectations now than there was when I was growing up,” adds Danielle.
“Today you have to worry before they’re even born. Co-sleeping, crying it out, gluten free, sugar free, baby wearing, even what bottle you buy, what age you introduce your kids to technology, or if you’re a crunchy mom or not. It’s too much. To be a part of the mom club back then, all you had to do was have kids. Now you have to find women who are raising your kids the same way you are, or it makes it hard.”
“I honestly didn’t know that you could love another person that much, or that love could extend so far until I had my kids,” says Danielle. “I’ve had mothers tell me that having a kid filled their heart because they’d always have someone that would love them, but for me it’s the other way around. I love being able to love them.”
AMANDA SPENCER & ELISA SHERONAS
If there’s one piece of motherly advice that Amanda has taken to heart, it’s this: Laugh as much as possible and have dinner as a family.
“These are two things I have very fond and vivid memories of from my childhood,” Amanda says.
We caught up with Amanda and mom Elisa to get their modern take on motherhood.
On the mother/daughter bond:
“I feel like I have a unique capability of understanding her emotional arcs since I follow them closely in my own life,” Amanda says. “We are very close because we are cut from the same cloth, yet we have our moments of disagreement. She is one of my best friends and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
“Always let your children know, by word and action, that there is nothing they could ever do that would make you stop loving them,” says Elisa.
“None of us is shy about saying, ‘I love you.’ We say it as often as we can, and we mean it. Even when I had to discipline my kids, and sometimes my grandkids, I always tried to show them that it was their behavior that I didn’t love.”
On setting the example:
“My mother always made childhood fun,” Amanda says. “I always remember us laughing or her making us laugh and being silly. She still does this with all of her grandchildren. She never sweated the small stuff, which has helped me as an adult.”
A thoughtful gift from 1-800-Flowers.com will let mom know she taught you well.