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mother-daughter dynamics

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I started thinking about the different dynamics of parents and children after recently tuning in to Nicki Minaj’s “Good Form” video. The video features many celebrity appearances (a low key tribute to the Sagittarius zodiac sign that kicks off December) with Lauren London and mother and daughter duo Evelyn Lozada and Shaniece Hairston. From Basketball Wives to her OWN reality show Livin Lozada, we’ve witnessed the close relationship Lozada shares with daughter Shaniece, whom she had at the age of 17. With that said it makes sense that the pair have a friendlier relationship as most young parents do with their children since they are also growing up and experiencing things for the first time together as people and not just as parents.

Nonetheless, if you’ve checked out “Good Form” you’re already aware it’s NSFW. It’s a twerking manifesto featuring booty-popping in everything from the strip club to a big glass of milk. Evelyn and Shaniece aren’t exactly a twerk team in the vid, but mom is dressed in a see through leotard with her daughter seductively trailing behind her in a hallway in the first few minutes of the vid. I feel like I’ve seen this video at least two times before from Nicki, so while it’s definitely sexy it didn’t exactly have me on the edge of my seat. But it did give me the most awkward thought for about two seconds: Could my mom and I could ever have that type of relationship? It always amazes me when I witness mother daughter duos like Evelyn and Shaniece, Black Chyna and Tokyo Toni, and other reality stars who bicker more like besties than parent and child. I could never casually refer to my mom on some, “B**ch, let me tell you….” Nor would I catch her walking through the house in catsuit fresh from FashionNova (she’s more of the Madewell type). But celebrity lifestyles are different and while some of us help our moms clean baseboards and sweep the driveway, others pop bottles and rub butt cheeks with Young Money artists.

In addition to the life that comes with fame, I also think age and personality plays a significant difference. My mom is old school and while she had her fun, she definitely wasn’t ever the dancing on tables in the club type. She had my sister at 23 and me at 30 and while I witnessed her take on the expected stress that come with being a working mom, by the time I came around home girl was a homeowner with a pension and a husband. Something about the relationship is different with children who don’t necessarily witness the period in their parents’ live where they are awkwardly navigating adulthood. Especially with me and my sister being seven years apart, by the time I hit my school age years, her confidence as a mom was at its peak. She knew what discipline worked and what didn’t. She had established rules for her household. Long gone was her IKEA starter furniture. She had leather couches and good china and didn’t care about being my damn friend or me liking her if it meant preparing her daughters for success in the long run. Staying fly and being lit was no longer the goal for her by the time I came around. Whether you’re twerking or having high tea together it is interesting to observe how much age, lifestyle and personality play into the bond you build with your children, both when you’re making them a milk bottle or sharing a bottle of Chardonnay.

When I think about bonding with my parents and following the rules of their household as an adult, there’s bound to be some moments when the boundaries get a little blurred and I’m dropping f-bombs and Irish car bombs with Pops like it’s nobody’s business. Inevitably there are some awkward moments that can come with being a grown a** adult in your parents’ company. Can you and your fiance sleep in the same bed? What will your parents thinks when witnessing the hangover you come home with after holiday karaoke with your old high school friends? I don’t know about you all, but as laid back and chill as my parents usually are, in many ways they are still very traditional. Interestingly enough though, when your parents are the life of the party or PTA presidents for life, something happens when you transition from their actual child to a whole adult with bills, stress, responsibilities and maybe even children of your own. They finally recognize you as someone separate from themselves. You realize your parents are people with flaws and insecurities of their own and they recognize you’ve grown into a person who realizes that their outlook on life isn’t the only one that exists. And for that reason it’s a little less weird when you order that cocktail with a double shot of whiskey at your cousin’s graduation. However, even that realization doesn’t make twerking with mom any less awkward.

For me, admittedly it’s taking some time to look at my mom as anything other than a matriarch and I doubt I’ll ever do the types of things with her that I’d do with my lil’ friends. Sipping tea and talking trash? Yes. Twerking and picking out matching catsuits? Nope, I am sooo good on that. Me and my sister’s childhood was filled with plenty of nurturing and support, but also very clear boundaries and particular rules of respect. My mom made it abundantly clear repeatedly that she wasn’t one of my “lil friends”.  As a result, even as an adult you won’t catch me in engaging in activities like throwing back shots of vodka until I’m slurring the words to “Santa Baby” in front of her. Where some couples are cool slobbing each other down at the dinner table with only a turkey to separate you from the embarrassed glares of your loved ones, me and hubby are cool putting the excessive PDA on pause in front of Grandma.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grown. Like stressing over pre-school tuition and getting excited over subway tile back splash grown. But for some reason being in my parent’s presence instantly makes me feel like I should still stay in my lane of a child’s place. The funny thing is, it’s not because of any action on their part, they respect the rules I’ve set for my household, family and life even if they aren’t identical to theirs. But there are some ways I just don’t want them to see me and certain images that would only make things awkward for all of us if they witnessed them. It still hits me funny when my older sister casually drops a “F**k this and f**k that” in conversations with our parents. I don’t knock those who have a more relaxed, free-spirited relationship with their parents, and let me be abundantly clear: Partying and and owning your sex appeal with your adult children doesn’t make you an inappropriate mom who is worthy of anything less than respect and admiration. I think it’s incredibly important for mothers to remind themselves as well as their children that they were once whole adult women before they were mothers with sex-appeal, snatched waists, flexibility and foul language.

But for me, there are just some things that will forever be hella awkward to partake in with my mom, and booty-poppin in bodysuits while doing back bends is one of them.

Toya Sharee is a Health Resource Specialist who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.




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