What do I call my stepmother

"I am like my mother!" Is that really that bad?

When I wanted to be like my mother as a child, it was very easy: high-heeled shoes, lipstick and a voice in my head, "My dear Mr. Choral Society, how does this look like here again?" - and whoosh I was a bonsai variant of my mother, who rarely wore high heels in everyday life, often lipstick and actually never said "My dear Mr. Choral Society".

As a teenager, I preferred to walk ten meters behind or in front of her, and even at the graduation ceremony she was more of a necessary evil than an important guest. During my studies I was the antipode of my mother, everything she represented, and she liked to represent a lot, I found "sub omnia canonae" to beat her with her own words, in German "under all pig". My mother once wrote me a letter in my place of study: "My dear child, remember: We are not in this world just for fun." I "only" omitted that in her sentence. I wanted to read it over. I found her letter to be the greatest possible Calvinist provocation to life and desperately sprayed her words on my cress planters. Even cress planters are not just fun. So my mother and I moved closer together through the opposition. Opposition is also a bond - even if only negative.

Why is the phrase "you look like your mother" as shocking as a varicose vein?

Today I have children myself who use me almost exclusively as a chauffeur. And when I sent my youngest to school with my - now old - mother in tow, a friend of mine said to me: "But you are like your mother!" That she didn't put "My dear Mr. Choral Society" after it was actually everything. You. are. you. but. similar. Exclamation mark. Why does it put us women in a similar state of shock, as if someone said: "You have a very cheeky varicose vein on the back of your knee"? Because it suddenly makes us old? Because it makes us bourgeois? Because we suspect that we will not get out of the number that theologians call "original sin" so quickly?

My mother is an incredibly bad loser (me too), decorates herself and everything that is not on the trees at three (I do that too, even if only in moderation), and we both are probably what you don't necessarily preverbal calls: We can talk. And do it even better. If I asked my sisters, there would be a dozen more things that I have inherited, learned, inherited-learned from my mother.

Why does this affect me so strangely? When someone says to me: You have your father's sense of humor, his sportiness, his calves - that's botox of compliments for me: It instantly tightens. I'm cautious with my mother. And thus just one of millions of boring average women. Because almost all women struggle with the inheritance domino of their mothers, almost all of them only find their mothers half to three quarters perfect. And that is not just a tradition, it also has a political dimension. Paula J. Caplan has described in her book "Don't Blame Mother" that mothers scolding in a man-centered society keeps women small and docile. In Western culture, the image of the mother is closely linked to the image of the Holy Mother of God for a reason: perfect, ideal, self-sacrificing, tireless and free from flakes. The mother in the advertisement first gives her children a chocolate bar before she can treat herself to one.

My father used to play a round of solitaire at the end of the weekend, at the end of the vacation, when we drove back from our weekend cottage. He played "blue against red" while my mother "drove up" with three children and full luggage - and unpacked, cleared, made beds and disposed of moldy remains from the refrigerator. Today we saved that as his being alone quirk; On the other hand, we found the fact that my mother freaked out when we stole her pencils not quirky, but stupid.

Somehow we should all still be mothers like Thekla Carola Wied in "I marry a family". Always with a fresh pony hairstyle and the little one gets cooked rice pudding. And if we are not like that, then at least our mothers should be like that. (Just as our children are actually even better than we should be.) Of course they are not and that is why we so often do not send them to the recall.

"You're thinking of me again", my mother always replied apocalyptically when I complained in principle about her loud way of talking to others, about her ambition, about her consumer madness at Christmas (we had an extra-GDR package - packing room). Today my husband calls me "Presents Nazi" because I'll be ready in October, and if I asked him if he thinks I'm ambitious, he wouldn't be able to answer for the next five minutes with laughter. When my sons earlier picked out seven "K" from the alphabet soup, I had to have eight: eight, must be feasible, otherwise: bad loser, see above.

If I criticize my mother as a daughter, I also set my own bar high for my children, my daughter: If my mother is allowed to have flaws, I too can afford mistakes. It is probably no coincidence that the point in time when women have children is also when they become more gracious with their mothers.

We can only afford them if we admit quirks to mothers

In her book "The Mother in Me", Marianne Krüll even writes about the fact that we have to give birth to the mother in order to restore her dignity. Giving back dignity means not transferring the image of Mary, but rather letting one's own mother be what she is: a person with faults, who gives birth to a person with faults, raises them, and dismisses them so that they too bring into the world people with faults .

I read somewhere - but crap? Where? (Forgetfulness: also inherited.) So I've read that the best compliment daughters can give their mothers is when they live the same life as their mothers. Voilà Mama: three children, a good marriage, weird humor.

I made a book for her about all the other things that I learned from my mother, from preparing dumplings to reading, from having fun with jewelry to "You always turn away from yourself, never towards yourself". The title: "The seed has risen". It was the first time I saw my mother cry with emotion at a present from me.


Katrin Wilkens' upbringing basically consisted of sayings: "This is the normative power of the factual" (spilled cocoa), "Head up, chest out, eyes in front of the neck" (fear of math), "Snout, keep swimming, in America is held "(Sunday walks).

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