How you feel about your mothers: your responses



In our early spring issue, we explored our relationship with our mothers – and we invited you to respond to our survey. We were overwhelmed by your response, and the personal stories that you shared with us. 


More than half of you said that your relationship with your mother couldn’t be better and 65% of you are in contact with your mum several times a week, with over a third in daily contact.

Only 7% felt your mums would be disappointed if you didn’t pursue a career, kids, marriage and owning a home. In fact, almost half of you said that your mother’s biggest expectation was having a career. However, a fifth said that you felt that your mothers expect you to dress and look a certain way.


"I'm one of the lucky ones. My mum doesn't put pressure on me to live up to expectations."

"She is already disappointed."   

"I was never pressured to live a certain way but I think my mam is proud of how my life has turned out."

"I hope I make her proud. That is my goal in honouring her life!"

"She has no expectations, but would prefer me to stay single."


More than half of mums let boyfriends/girlfriends stay over, two thirds were allowed to drink at home, while 6% were allowed to try drugs. Less than a quarter were allowed to party without their parents around.


"I think I’ll do a lot of things differently, partly because I have a little boy. I want to give him a much better understanding of relationships and boundaries than I had."

"Mum was really easy going but because I was ill it didn't really affect me because I didn't really drink or party. When I got better I did and the impression I get even now is that she feels relieved when I talk about drinking and going out because she knows it means I'm well. I'm probably the only person who can say their mum reacted to me coming home drunk with "you look happy".

"My mum is in her 70s so it was a very different time for her as a young woman/mother. I am much more open minded and have experienced a lot more that I look forward to educating my little boy about"

sex and periods.jpg


However there are some indications that there are certain subjects that mothers and daughters don’t talk about. More than a third’s mothers told them nothing about sex or periods, half never discussed sexism. 75% of those daughters felt this was a mistake.


"Sexism is a really important social issue and as a woman, I feel like it should have been addressed further."

"She just seemed to accept it, which I disagree with. It's something that should be confronted and fought."

"She saw my interest in feminism from a young age and fuelled it with literature."

 "She took it as just the way things were"

"Her opinions changed as I was growing up and experiencing it myself. Her attitude to catcalling turned from, 'it's harmless and best to ignore it' to anger at hearing the things that were shouted at me on the street. We grew our understanding together in a way."

"I've always been able to talk to my mum about anything. I've always been very grateful for that as I have friends who can't speak to their Mum like I can. Even at times when she didn't want to listen, I knew I could say it anyway. Ask her anything." 


Thank you for your honesty and thoughtfulness in sharing your thoughts and memories on this topic – they showed how close, complicated and ever-changing our relationships with our mothers can be. We hope to further explore the ideas and subjects raised in future issues of Oh Comely


"Whilst a strong capable women in many ways, she was crippingly shy and would not stand up for herself in work situations or with my dad. I never learnt how to defend myself in situations because I didn't know how. It's made me vunerable in my adult life, although finally I'm much better at standing up for myself now – but it's taken therapy to learn that."

"As my mom passed away so recently she has been on my mind. She had Alzheimer's and was in long term care for the past year. It is indeed a long goodbye. She is a precious treasure, my best friend, my biggest cheerleader and confidant. I will miss her every day."

"I think my mum treated my older brothers like 'adults' when they were 21, but she doesn't treat me the same. My body is her business, in way that theirs aren't. I love her, and she is simply a different generation but I find it so frustrating."

"I absolutely hope to be at least HALF the woman that my mother is. She is an amazing, courageous, smart woman, and I am so lucky to have her as my mother and my best friend & mentor <3"

"She's also the one person in my life who has consistently told me I don't have to have children if I don't want to. Whilst my boyfriends mum is so pushy about it. My Mum has given me the strength to say I'm not where I want to be in my career yet and even admit I'm not sure kids are in my future."

"My mother died in 2013 when the phone rings on a Sunday morning, when I'm still in bed, I still think it's her. We had a very close relationship and she was always there when I needed her. Although I miss her a lot I feel a part of me hadn't grown-up when she was around, maybe because I still lived locally. I do see her some days when I look in the mirror and occasionally when I'm with my boys I feel I'm channelling her, not always in a good way."

"My Mum is the most beautiful woman in world but has always worried about her weight.  This used to upset me as a child and still does.  To all the Mum's out there, you are beautiful."

"Not all mums are good at being mums, some are really abusive and neglectful. Mothers' Day means so many websites and magazines covering schmaltzy stories about how great mums are, how not just for once cover the stories of people who've grown up without a mum? Not all mums are great, mine wasn't and for that reason I work hard at being the best mum I can, I have that to thank her for."

"My mum is so tender and treats me like I am precious to her, even while she champions my independence and strength of character. I will never be as wonderful a person as her.



For our press release about our Mother's Day survey, click here. Read Oh Comely writer's reflections on our relationships with our mums in our early spring issue