Summary of “Understanding Mom”
In the article “Understanding Mom”, author Deborah Tannen conveys the relationship between her mother and herself, and the difference in personal values between the generations. Mrs. Tannen wanted an ordinary life for her daughter, whereas she wanted anything but ordinary. This may have caused disagreements through Tannen’s life growing up so differently than her mother. As she expresses her disregard for makeup, her mother insists she wear it when in public. She tells of her love of literature and, after her divorce at 29, she enrolled in graduate school. She was more interested in continuing her education than remarrying, which was not appeasing to her mother. Tannen didn’t understand her mother’s feelings towards her disregard for having a family. In her mother’s eyes she would be much better off with a husband and children. Upon her mother’s visit to Georgetown University, where she became a Professor after obtaining her doctorate, her mother questioned her choices. Tannen wanted her mother to be proud of her accomplishments, but all her mother could see was how her daughter was having to support herself and had no family of her own. Tannen states that her mother was born in Russia in 1911, and moved to the US at an early age. She was not afforded an appropriate education and was forced to work so her family could survive. She later realized how her mother’s values were skewed against her own, and her want to be educated versus her mother’s need to work. Later she understood her mother’s feelings on marriage equaling stability. In Mrs. Tannen’s generation women got married and started a family and were content and provided for. In concluding her article, Tannen show’s how daughters can also be judgmental of their mother’s values, and life decisions. She instructs daughters to love their mothers no matter their differences, and see them for who they are.
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