The XX Factor

Have You Turned Into Your Mother Yet?

A mother and daughter smile the exact same smile because they are exactly alike. And why not? That’s great. It’s nothing to get upset about. Everyone turns into her mother and then dies.

My mother is so obsessive that when I was younger, she would organize the change dish in her car so the coins were perfectly stacked in descending size order. When I was annoyed with her as a teenager, I’d rearrange the change dish while she was driving so that there wasn’t anything she could do about it in the moment. It drove her bonkers, and immediately after she’d parked the car, she’d put the coins back in their rightful place.

This week, when I spent 10 minutes cleaning up the edges of the baby food containers so that the frozen portions of pureed peas and bananas would be perfect cubes instead of amoebic blobs, I realized the transformation was complete: I am my mother.

I turned 31 in March, and according to what I’m sure is a highly scientific survey from a British online gambling company called Dotty Bingo (h/t Jezebel), that’s the magic age when women start turning into their mums. The most popular reason survey respondents gave for becoming their mothers was the birth of their first child. It makes intuitive sense—child-rearing role models are our own parents, and if you think your parents did an even remotely decent job raising you, you’ll probably want to mimic their practices.

Only half of the 1,000 women surveyed said that they were turning into their mothers, so there’s hope for the rest of you yet. As for me, I’m noticing other changes that align with Dotty Bingo’s results. Like those respondents, my mom and I are starting to watch the same television shows and even have the same reactions. I used to be obsessed with gory true crime, but now I can only read about murder and mayhem. Ever since I had a child I’ve become a real wuss about watching violence. I have to leave the room or cover my eyes like a scandalized church lady.

My mother notices these changes in me with pleasure and even a little smugness. I wonder if she’s fantasizing about a time in the not-so-distant future when my daughter will rearrange my change dish just to piss me off.