The mothers to which we’re most attached are failing us.

“The ‘mother myths’—that all women are nurturing, that mothering is instinctual, that maternal love is always unconditional—stand guard in front of the cultural cupboard where taboos and secrets are kept.”
― Peg Streep

Motherhood is the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run.”
Barbara Kingsolver, author

To know a parent requires knowing their children. The grandparents are also important as they molded the current family, but the parents’ relationship to their dependent children has a greater effect on the future. I have deep knowledge of a dozen parents and their children, and these relationships are laboratories where personalities are formed.

This piece is less about mothers per se, and more about their effect, and how attitudes are passed between generations. We talk about nature versus nurture, and by this we mean the difference between what’s genetically inherited and what’s learned by experience. There is a third effect. It’s the learning that happens in the interaction between them: what develops from our biological aptitudes and inclinations. The cross-pollination between nature and nurture is another mechanism of change.

Mothers and Children Forever

Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future

Families Cross Generations

Undoing the Family, Betraying Oneself

Living the Old Problems

Gardening Across Time

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