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Most of my pals agree their early twenties triggered a decades long analysis of the mother – daughter relationship. Back then most of us quietly coveted our mother’s approval, yet, amongst ourselves, we swore to do things “differently” once we had our own kids.

Still, in our thirties, sobered by the travails of motherhood, we kept the promises of our 20s: I won’t spank, I’ll use tempered reason, I’ll spend time with my kids, I’ll give them organic food… the dos and dont’s are endless. Yet, most of us will admit that in our most trying moments, we walked away choking on those promises — at times, full of regret.

Today, as we approach our 40s, we look back at our childhood with a sense of renewed respect for our mothers. On good days, we’ve kept some or most of our vows, despite the occasional fast food drive thru. Mostly, we are no longer quietly reproachful of our mothers’ missteps; we understand they did the best they could with what they had.

A friend recently asked if after everything was said and done, did I feel “loved” as a child? Unquestionably, the answer is yes.

And for that, I am grateful.