In his New Orleans Times-Picayune column this Sunday, Jarvis DeBerry discussed his apprehension about becoming a father. He stated that though many things give him pause when he considers his imminent parenthood, there’s one thing he knows with certainty: He’ll see some of his parents’ style in his own. “I’m not going to make the ridiculous promise that so many make, that I’m not going to do and say the things my parents did,” he writes. “I already know that’s not the case.” (He also goes on the recount an anecdote that includes the actual sentences “Look, now. We ain’t gon’ have no showing out!” that’s pretty awesome.)
In the end, DeBerry has the right idea. Becoming a parent does usually entail that random, possibly awkward moment when you hear a voice exit your mouth that isn’t yours. It’s your mom’s or your dad’s and in that moment, you’ll either be terrified or tickled.
But you don’t have to be a parent to have this particular out-of-body experience. Maybe it happens on the job, when a coworker tests you and you read him like Clair Huxtable did Elvin. Maybe it’s at church, when the preacher hits his theological Dougie and you involuntarily respond with a well-placed, “Say that!” Maybe it’s in front of a sink full of dishes in a shared apartment, when you mutter, “Y’all must think I’m your personal maid….”
Whatever the trigger, becoming-mom moments are bound to eke through. How often does it happen to you? Have you made the full-on transformation to Mom 2.0? Take the quiz to find out.
1. How well do you get along with your mom?
a. Really well. She’s my close friend.
b. We’d get along better if she were willing to accept that I’m not five.
c. Not very well. We rarely see eye to eye.
d. Not well at all. We barely speak, and when we do, we can hardly hide our animus.
2. As an adult, how much more do you understand your mother than you did as a teen?
a. I understood her pretty well as a teen. She always took the time to explain why she was making a decision.
b. I understand her a lot better now that I’ve found myself in some of the same situations she warned me about.
c. She’s always been a “because I said so” mother. She’s pretty guarded and I’m still not sure what motivates her.
d. I didn’t get her then and I don’t get her now.
3. Do you and your mother have similar pet peeves?
a. Yes! We’re annoyed by many of the same things.
b. Somewhat. I’m noticing that the things she taught me to do — like thoroughly rinsing the dishes — are things I expect others to do.
c. A few, but I don’t think there’s a pattern. It seems more coincidental.
d. Not at all.
4. Do you have the same taste in music, books, or movies?
a. Yes! Mom put me on to most of the things I love — and vice versa.
b. I appreciate her old-school tastes a lot more now that I’m grown, and she’s more open to my recommendations.
c. Not really. She rarely finishes listening to, reading, or watching anything I suggest.
d. Our tastes are completely dissimilar.
5. Have you ever scared yourself by sounding or looking eerily similar to your mother?
a. Yes! This happens at least once a month.
b. Every once in a while.
c. It’s happened twice and ever since, I’ve been actively working on making sure it never happens again.
d. This never happens to me. Thank goodness.
6. How often do your friends and family compare you to your mom?
a. Often. We get along so well, it isn’t surprising.
b. Occasionally. Sometimes, they mistake me for her on the phone.
c. If they do, it’s by means of contrast. “She does this, but you do this…”
d. Never. We’re nothing alike and everyone knows it.
7. How do you feel about the idea of “turning into your mother?”
a. I’d consider it an honor to be like her. She’s a dynamic woman and a great mom.
b. It’s a little unnerving. Some of her ideas and habits aren’t what I want for myself.
c. I’m scared enough of this to deliberately work against it happening.
d. This will never happen.