A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Women’s Health: Physically Active Women May Avert Alzheimer’s Disease

Women’s Health: Physically Active Women May Avert Alzheimer’s Disease

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Why Moms and Daughters Can Never Really Be Friends

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Why Moms and Daughters Can Never Really Be Friends

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Diana Ross

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Diana Ross

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Why Moms and Daughters Can Never Really Be Friends

Dr. Peggy Drexler

Author, Research Psychologist, Gender Scholar

Be honest: What mother-daughter pair among us hasn’t watched reruns of Gilmore Girls (or the more current tween smash Pretty Little Liars) and wished — at least a little bit — that we, too, could be just like Lorelai and Rory? Exchanging witty banter, enjoying each other’s company for days on end, chatting on the phone three times an hour? Or maybe you have that sort of relationship. These days — much more so than when I was growing up — many moms and daughters do. They act less like parent-children than old college roommates. A friend once told me she and her 20-something daughter went halfsies on a subscription to Teen Vogue. “I like the fashion,” she told me, though I think there was more to it.

Indeed, this generation of moms and daughters has more in common with one another than ever before. They share clothes, they share secrets. In some cases, giving rise to the notion of cougars and MILFs, they even share men. And now they’ve got their own reality show: VH1’s in-the-worksMama Drama will chronicle Dina Lohan-types who “share drinks, wardrobes, and social lives with their daughters, and occasionally need to be reminded that they’re the parent.” In a recent New York Magazine story, mother and daughter Julie and Samantha Bilinkas have matching t-shirts, catchphrases, and workout routines. At 50 and 19, respectively, they’re such good friends — and so physically similar — that they’re often mistaken for girlfriends, both in the friendly and the romantic sense. I don’t know which is worse.

Let’s put aside the more commonly-asked question these days — that is, should you be Facebook friends with your children — and get down to a much more basic quandary: Can you be real life friends with them? Can mothers and daughters ever be friends, truly? More — should they be?

I understand why it may seem perfectly harmless. The mother-daughter BFF trap is an easy one to fall into. (And yes — I do mean trap.) We have come to believe that treating children as adults has benefits. There’s the sense that befriending our children — and especially our daughters — will cause them to behave better, rebel less. After all, the reasoning goes, teens are less likely to spout off to their friends (if only slightly) than to their mothers; why not approach mothering more like friendship? If we treat our kids like “one of us,” will they respect us more? Will we have more control over them? Will they like us better?

At any age, but especially as girls grow into young women, mothers like to feel connected to their daughters and, in many cases, their daughters’ friends. At a time when there is so much societal pressure to stay young, this helps keep us feeling youthful. It also helps us feel appreciated long after our children stop “needing” us to survive. And it’s a form of validation: We’re cool enough that our children actually want to hang out with us! Maybe we even look closer to their age than to our own, thanks to Botox and all the other cosmetic enhancements now available at our fingertips. Which, of course, begs the question: If we’re so afraid to be mothers, why did we do it in the first place?

The fact is that the mother-daughter best friendship doesn’t leave much room for the traditional role of being a mom. Or, for that matter, being a daughter. For one thing, when the best friend role trumps the mother role, a competitive dynamic can emerge. Take Alexis and Mimi. Twenty-three-year-old Alexis has always been very close to her mom, though sometimes Mimi “is a little… intense,” says Alexis. “When I was a teenager I couldn’t buy anything without my mom’s approval — and it wasn’t about money,” she says. “She loves fashion, and just wants me to know her opinion.” This need for Mimi’s approval has been tough to shake — for both of them. Sometimes, when Alexis comes home to her parents’ house for the weekend, Mimi will question something her daughter is wearing, or her haircut, or her color eye shadow. “I guess she’s looking out for me, but now I’m nervous to pick things out for myself,” says Alexis. “Like I think, should I be wearing this to work? Sometimes I can’t tell. I don’t think things look that bad. But, I don’t know, maybe she’s seeing something I’m not.”

More likely, it’s that Mimi — consciously or not — is living vicariously through Alexis. Or maybe she likes the control and sense of purpose. Because if whatever Alexis does is never quite up to snuff until Mimi steps in, her role as mother will never be diminished. But the sad side effect for Alexis is that she’ll have a hard time believing that anything she does on her own is good enough.

Thirty-year-old Julie tells her mom, Kat, everything — mostly. Growing up, Julie would bring her friends home to get advice from Kat on “just about anything: boys, makeup, whatever,” says Julie. “She was the ‘cool mom.'” Since she got married, though, Julie’s moved towards more of a “need to know” model, especially when it comes to her husband. “I used to tell my mom everything about Billy, like when we first started dating,” she says. “But at one point, he was like, ‘You don’t tell your mom about our sex life, do you?’ He was furious, and mortified, and I saw his point. Obviously I wouldn’t have wanted him to talk about me with his dad!” Julie’s closeness with Kat had caused trouble in other ways. Whenever she and Billy argued, she’d turn to Kat for advice, like she always had — until she was unable to react without her mother’s input. “I’d have to call her up and be like, ‘This happened. Should I be mad?’ It was almost like there were three of us in the relationship.” That’s because there were.

As mothers, we want our daughters to grow up to be, at least in theory, independent. We want them to feel loved, and we want to feel love ourselves. But when we’re over involved, even if our girls actually like telling us all their deepest and darkest secrets, at some point, they’ll lose confidence in themselves. They’ll question their ability to make their own decisions. They’ll remain children, indefinitely — and not in a good way. Like in the case of Julie and Billy, being “married to Mom” can interfere in a daughter’s ability to form close relationships with anyone else but her mother, including her husband. Or she won’t learn how to parent her own kids. Why should she? Mom’s right there doing it for her. Like writer Lena Dunham, creator of HBO’s Girls, has said of her parents, “I feel like I’m constantly asking them to please stay out of my work life but also to please bring me soup.” She’s being funny, but that’s not a relationship. That’s a service agreement.

But perhaps most importantly, unlike a best friend, a mother and daughter relationship is permanent. This makes it naturally more intimate — and more intense. There’s a hierarchy that exists — or should — between moms and daughters that doesn’t exist between friends. You’re not equals and you’re not supposed to be.

This doesn’t mean that mothers and daughters shouldn’t enjoy each other’s company. They can even tell each other secrets, once in a while. Just remember to honor the boundaries. The mother-daughter relationship is special enough in its natural form. Breaking away won’t make your bond with each other weaker. In fact, it’ll make you both stronger.

A Message From The Creator

You are not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations, nor should you feel the world must live up to yours – F Perl.

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Diana Ross


Diana Ross was born on March 26, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan. She began singing with friends as a teenager, and with two of them formed the successful 1960s trio The Supremes. Ross left for a solo career in 1969 and began appearing in films, as well. Despite personal and professional ups and downs, Ross has withstood the test of time as a performer with a career that spans more than four decades.

The Supremes

Singer and actress. Born on March 26, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan. An accomplished performer, Ross began singing in a group with friends Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Barbara Martin as a teenager. Martin eventually dropped out, but the remaining members of the group went on to become the internationally successful 1960s R&B and pop trio, the Supremes (which was later Diana Ross and the Supremes).

Signed to Motown Records by famed record producer and label founder Berry Gordy, Jr., in 1961, the Supremes scored its first number one hit with the song “Where Did Our Love Go?” (1964). In all the trio scored 12 number one hits, including “Stop! In the Name of Love” (1965) and “Someday We Will Be Together” (1969).

Solo Success

Ross left the Supremes for a solo career in 1969 and hit the charts the next year with the songs “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” In 1972, she branched out into acting with the Billie Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues. While the film received mixed reviews, Ross’s performance garnered her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. The soundtrack for the film was a huge success and helped spurn on new interest in Holiday. Ross went on to star in several more films, including Mahogany (1975) and The Wiz(1978).

The next decade started out on a strong note for Ross with her album Diana (1980), which contained the hits “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out.” With her new record label MCA, she recorded “Muscles” (1982), written by Michael Jackson, which did well on the charts. Later in the decade, though, her sales began to falter. Still she continued to record and perform and returned to Motown Records near the end of the 1980s. Back with the label that launched her career, she achieved some success with The Force Behind the Power (1991).

In the 1990s, Ross made several appearances on the small screen. She starred in the 1994 television movie, Out of Darkness, playing a woman with schizophrenia. Ross took on lighter fare withDouble Platinum (1999), another television movie. She starred as a famous singer who had abandoned her daughter to pursue her career. Brandy, a well-known pop performer, played her daughter. Some of the songs from the project were featured on Ross’ 1999 album, Every Day Is a New Day.

Personal Struggles

Around this time, Ross experienced some personal difficulties. She got into a dispute with a security guard in 1999 at London’s Heathrow airport and a result was arrested and detained for several hours before being released. The next year she was arrested for driving under the influence and later convicted. Also in 2000, Ross launched a Supremes tour, which was highly criticized for not including original member Mary Wilson or later addition Cindy Birdsong. After experiencing some problems, the tour was eventually cancelled.

In 2007, Ross suffered a great personal loss. Her father, Fred Ross, died in November of that year. “He touched many lives and he will be truly missed,” Diana Ross said in a statement. On tour at the time, she returned home to Detroit to be with her family. A few weeks after her father’s death, Ross honored by the Kennedy Center for her contributions to the arts. Smokey Robinson and actor Terrance Howard were on hand to provide tributes to the singing superstar, and Ciara, Vanessa Williams, and Jordin Sparks paid homage to Ross in song.


Despite her personal and professional ups and downs, Ross has withstood the test of time as a performer with a career that spans more than four decades. She has won several major awards, including a Golden Globe, a Tony Award, and several American Music Awards. Ross was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 as part of the Supremes. Not one to rest on her laurels, she continues to delight her fans with new recordings, such as 2006’s I Love You, a collection of love songs. She was awarded for her hard work again in 2007, when she was presented with Black Entertainment Television’s Lifetime Acheivement Award and a John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Honors Award. In 2009, Ross jumped back into the limelight when pop icon Michael Jackson named the diva as an alternate guardian for his children.

Ross has been married twice: in 1971 she married music business manager Robert Ellis Silberstein, and after their divorce she married Norwegian tycoon Arne Næss Jr. in 1986. She split with Næss in 1999. Diana is the mother of five children: Rhonda Suzanne Silberstein, Tracee Joy Silberstein, Chudney Lane Silberstein, Ross Arne Næss, and Evan Olav Næss.

Women’s Health: Physically Active Women May Avert Alzheimer’s Disease

Dwayne J. Clark


Keep active, and you’ll thrive. The more active you are, even in your older years, the more active you’ll be able to stay for as many years as you’re given. You may have to make a few adjustments to your lifestyle as you age, but if you keep on living, you’ll enjoy living your life, your way, for as long as possible. Here are three amazing women whose ages and abilities might surprise you. They all seem to contradict society’s definition of old.

• She catches your attention, not because she looks old, but because she is climbing a hill with the ease of a much younger woman. On the Island of Capri, there is this beautifully tanned, Italian woman motoring up the hill toward the town square. The hill’s grade is from 15-35 percent and a little more than a mile long. It’s enough to make you not only huff but also puff watching her get to the top. About two hours later she is walking down the hill with a small bag in her hand.

On another day, it is 88 degrees outside and again, she is walking up the hill. She makes the long stair climb to the town square and stops near the top at a small grocery store. She shares a smile with a stranger as she exits. The stranger asks the clerk about the woman. The clerk replies, in broken English, that she is in her 80’s and she comes into the store every day to buy milk and then walks home again — not because she needs the milk, but because she likes the walk.

• At a ski apparel store, an elderly woman greets a customer. She stands ramrod straight and is very pleasant. She shows the customer around the store and provides an advertisement for each piece. The customer asks her if she has ever skied. She smiles and says, “Yes, I’m going up to Park City next week.” Although she appears to be in her late 70’s, she is in great shape. The customer asks questions about her activity: “Do you ski all day?” “Why yes,” she says. “Do you ski on steep slopes?” The customer is making an assumption that her age should equal her ability. She then adds, “Well actually, I am in a downhill slalom race. I get up to 70-80 miles per hour. People say I shouldn’t still race at my age, but I love it and have been doing it for over 60 years.” The customer’s jaw drops; still, he wants to peg her age to her ability. “Don’t you worry about getting hurt?” he mutters. “Well, I broke a finger when I was 54 but am more careful now,” she concludes. The customer is stunned.

Later, the customer meets a friend who knows the ski apparel store clerk. He explains that the clerk is 82 and was a ski instructor in Sun Valley for more than 40 years. She is still one of the fastest racers in the Masters class. And she has no plans for slowing down.

• At nearly 77 years old, this woman is exceptional about trying new things. She is not bashful about jumping off a boat in Hawaii and swimming a few laps around it. Last summer, she joined relatives for a nice long bike ride; although she hadn’t been on a bike in over a decade, she rode 12 miles with them. She thrives on being in motion and not letting her age determine her activity. It is the little strides in motion that keep her healthy: walking her dog, going for a hike and swimming in the community pool. She also believes that the activities she continues to participate in (Bridge Club, Art Museum Board) keep her engaged and they allow her to stay both mentally and physically active. Her attitude is inspiring.

You don’t have to be an incredible athlete to keep in motion; you just have to keep in motion. Women who remain physically active throughout life have sharper memory and thinking skills and they’re better able to ward off Alzheimer’s disease into old age. Don’t let your age fool you or anyone else into thinking your life is over. Staying active and taking care of yourself is the best way to live a long and happy life, no matter what your number.

Visit Dwayne J. Clark online at www.mymothermyson.com

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