“you look just like your mom!”

I  look a lot like my mom.

At least, that’s what everyone says. I don’t really see it.

(my dad, mom, one of my brother, and me. I am holding a lot of stuff, for some reason)

Classic daughter behavior.

When I was a kid, I had this book of hairstyles. The photographs were close-ups, shot by some famous fashion photographer. The models were famous models, and the hair stylists were legendary stylists to the stars. I didn’t care about any of that. I just loved looking at the amazing hair. I wanted to paint pictures of the pictures. My favorite was of this model with very dark brown skin and purple lipstick. Her hair was incredibly short, and her face was literally the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. After I flipped through it in Borders,  I saved up my money and bought the book because of her face. But there was one picture in that book that annoyed me. That disrupted the flow of gorgeous faces and fantastic hair.

It was a picture of a woman with her two daughters. The woman was a famous model, now retired. The daughters were maybe fourteen and sixteen. Someone had thought it would be a cute idea to show them all together. The problem was that the mother was so much prettier, I thought, in my childish, unsympathetic way.


The mother belonged in this glossy, incredible book, but her daughters were out of place. Their faces were less refined versions of her face. They were duller, lumpier, muddled, as though her genes had been muted by their father’s, or misapplied. I felt sorry for them, but I wanted them to get out of my book.

Later, when I was both more aware and more aware of the way beauty worked in the world around me, I thought of those girls and their mother. And I remembered that the girls had actually been lovely, with their more complicated faces. And I thought of my mom and me.

Because I am one of those women with a very pretty mother.

A mother who was always the pretty girl. The kind of girl who will sometimes complain that she doesn’t like her toes, or something, and no one will believe her, because it’s hard to imagine anything about her not being pretty and well-formed.

Once, when I was a teenager, I ran into a casual acquaintance of my family in town, and he looked me up and down and said, “I think you might be almost as pretty as your mother!” And I felt suddenly faintly ill.

A string of boyfriends all told me how beautiful my mom was. As though they were surprised. “I have to admit this—your mom is really good looking…” They were nervous around her. I was easy. It was my mom, sometimes imperious and faintly dangerous, sometimes warm and laughing, who needed impressing.

I felt sort of proud of her, sort of unsure how to react.

Every time we’ve gone out together, over the years, the person behind the counter of the little store we’re in inevitably says, “You look exactly the same!”

Which clearly isn’t right. But I take it as a compliment, even though I am twenty-six and she is fifty-six.

Even though I used to  wish that people wouldn’t compare me to someone who isn’t even close to my age. Especially when I was younger, I was frustrated by this. Do I look like I’m forty-five? I thought when I was fifteen.

But generally, I don’t mind being compared to my mother, because I know people think she’s attractive.

(she has this infectious smile that I’ve modeled my own smile after)

Sometimes, after someone has told me that I look just like my mom, I catch myself rushing to a mirror. I am automatically comparing our faces. I see where mine is duller, where the features got muddled. I got the big, bulky nose, while hers is straight and sculpted. Her eyebrows are fine and feathery, mine are heavy and dark. My face looks softer, longer, confused about its mission. I can see some of my great-grandmother, on my dad’s side, struggling to surface.

My mom recently lost a lot of weight. For most of my life, she was thin, but never skinny. She is taller than me, and never looked overweight. But she has changed the way she eats completely in the past few years, and grown more and more slender as I have gained weight. She wears stylish clothes now, and her hair is always freshly done. I hug her, and she feels like less and less in my arms.

She looks great. There’s no denying it. She isn’t depriving herself of food, but she doesn’t eat the foods I like. She does a lot of yoga and is outside a lot and just generally has a fit, healthy air.

And there’s a part of me that senses that I’m letting myself go. You know how they say that. I’m letting myself go as she hones herself. I feel suddenly large next to her, for the first time. After I see her, I wonder if I should change my diet. I am always the only one eating a bagel, when I visit. She keeps bagels in the freezer for me. No one else will touch them.

After I see her, I wonder for a second if she thinks, on any level, that I am letting myself go. No, she doesn’t. But how can she not, when she is so careful with herself? When she would never eat a bagel.

I am proud of my mom. She is a strong, opinionated, motivated woman who does things the way she wants to do them. Who is as comfortable choosing radically different paths as she is walking the most conventional ones with flair and a perfect outfit. She defies categorization. She is an incredible gardener. She is intensely organized. She throws parties.

I am not very much like her, in so many ways. Maybe most.

Although we both hate it when people leave the towels crumpled after a shower. Hang them up STRAIGHT. SPREAD THEM OUT. They dry better that way. It’s so simple.

My mom and I are different people, as moms and daughters tend to be. We are a different mix of genes. I have my great-grandmother, for example, a gentle woman with a bold nose who spoke at least seven languages. I have my father’s father, who was so sweet. I have my dad, who is disorganized and messy and often silly. Who has more pronounced eyebrows.

I have my own body, which wants to do its own thing.

And sometimes I wish for a moment that people would stop comparing me to my mom.

Maybe it would have been better, in a way, if they had never started.

*  *  *

Do you look like your mom? Do you not look at all like your mom?

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in a vaguely tribal pattern.

Cake pic from a reader! Well, cakes, technically. Even better. Send me yours!


P.S. So I have to tell this story here—Anne Hathaway was behind me in line at the grocery store, and I was about to pay when I remembered that I’d wanted to buy cookies. I asked the guy behind the counter to add cookies to my order, and he tried, but for some reason this threw his little computer off, and then the credit card machine stuttered out and the guy was frantically trying to fix things. All because I wanted cookies. A lot of them. I was having people over that night, but Anne didn’t know that. She was very, very thin, and had amazing tufting hair, and was wearing sunglasses inside, on a rainy day. She looked so unhappy. She was buying kale. We waited there together forever. And then, finally, I got my cookies, and I fled.

P.P.S. I wrote a silly little list piece about things women should do with their hair. It’s on the Frisky over here, if you want to read it.


Kate on May 7th 2012 in beauty, being different, body, family

50 Responses to ““you look just like your mom!””

  1. Hlockhart responded on 07 May 2012 at 11:43 am #

    I’m sorry this isn’t too related to your post (which I really enjoyed, especially as someone who is always being told I look my mom–neither of us really sees it), but I love your Anne Hathaway story. Best ever celebrity encounter or BEST EVER celebrity encounter?

  2. Kate responded on 07 May 2012 at 11:46 am #

    No need to be sorry! It was such a bizarre little moment :-)
    Also, you made me realize that I didn’t mention how my mom might feel about being compared to ME all the time. And I guess I’m not sure, but she’s mentioned that we don’t really look alike.

  3. Hales responded on 07 May 2012 at 11:49 am #

    People either saying I look exactly like my mother or I look nothing like her, never something in the middle. It’s strange actually I don’t think we have any facial similarities; she has shiny but small brown eyes and I have huge (too big) green eyes just like my dad, we have totally opposite shaped noses, face shapes and mouths. Last night we actually put our faces next to each other and couldn’t find one thing in common, it was crazy! We have the same exact personalities, we’re bubbly, talkative, and move in the same way and are both petit in body shapes. I wish we had more in common in our face but I’m proud to have her as my mom and love the things we do have in common

  4. Amy responded on 07 May 2012 at 11:56 am #

    I don’t think I look like my mum most of the time, but then I catch myself in a mirror at a new angle, or see a photo from the side and the likeness is uncanny! I think I’m okay with this.

    It’s a strange phenomenon really; that strangers feel the need to comment on it – how you look like either one of your parents. Like that’s somehow a surprise? Like people who share half the same genes shouldn’t be that way?

    Great post :) xoxo

  5. Rachel responded on 07 May 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    I look way more like my Dad than my Mom and I’ve never been that pleased about it. My Dad’s a good looking guy but I so often wish I’d acquired the dainty Southern Belle side of the family than the Big Russian Jew side. People are always saying about me “So this is what your Dad would have looked like if he was a girl!”, which makes me envision myself as a big barrel-chested dude with a big nose but wearing a long-haired wig. I’m sure that’s not what they mean though. I’m working on learning to take that as a compliment!

  6. Suzy Marie responded on 07 May 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    I agree with Amy, it’s a strange thing that people are so surprised that you look like your parents! I don’t really look like either of my parents, I just have bits and pieces of characteristics from each, freckles from Mum, dark hair and light eyes from Dad. Me and my brother have the same nose though, which neither of our parents have so goodness knows where it came from!

    Whilst you might look like your Mum, people who usually compare you probably aren’t close enough to both of you to know your personalities. You’re probably different in quite a lot of ways (as most people are), and you probably have a lot of influence from other people in your family, like you said. For me, the mixed-ness is what is the most interesting about people, and I always think knowing someone’s personality changes their physical appearance in my eyes. So you might look like your Mum, but that is lessened when people actually get to know you and they find out that you’re a different person to your Mum. Does that make any sense at all?! Haha.

  7. Melanie responded on 07 May 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    I do not look like my mother, and I’m taller than her by almost half a foot. I look very much like my birth father. I just met that side of my family, as he left my mother when I was a baby. They all freak out about how much my mannerisms, sense of humor, and such are like him. It is so interesting to me how much nature has seemingly overruled nurture in my life.

  8. Kate responded on 07 May 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    @Suzy Marie
    I know what you mean, about the mixed-ness being the interesting part! People are usually eager to separate the parts “she has her dad’s nose and her mom’s hair and her dad’s feet and her mom’s eyes!” or just “you look exactly like…” But really, it’s all blended together in fascinatingly complicated ways.

    And yes, I think personalities really influence the way people perceive appearances. Which is also interesting!

  9. Kate responded on 07 May 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    Ha! your description of how you imagine yourself when people tell you that you look like your dad as a girl was funny. I feel like I got all of the Russian Jewish genes in my family, too! Including the hairiness :-)

  10. Meg responded on 07 May 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    @Amy I agree that the whole ritual of saying you look like your parents is weird. Is it to maybe reassure everyone that you’re not the milkman’s kid or something?

    From the flip side: when I had my son, almost everyone was tripping over themselves to decide who he looked like. Sometimes it’s sweet when someone says he looks like me, but mostly I enjoy it when people don’t compare him to us. I don’t think he looks much like either of us; he just looks like himself.

    Also, it’s weird because I think the appropriate reaction when someone says “Your baby is so beautiful” is “Thank you” but it’s like I’m taking responsibility for his appearance? I never know what to say!

  11. Rapunzel responded on 07 May 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    I like dark eyebrows. I’m glad I have dark eyebrows, and they are kind of heavy. I do my best to keep ‘em in line with a pair of tweezers, but my left eyebrow has a tendency to just flip off the world (and me). I think I got that from my uncle, whose left eyebrow looks quite literally like a carrot top ^ without even trying. But I’m glad I don’t have to use a dark pencil to color them in like my mom does with her strawberry blond eyebrows. If she doesn’t color them in, it looks like her eyebrows are missing and that looks sillier than pencil-colored eyebrows.

    I don’t look like my mom too much…I got her beautiful green eyes though, which I wouldn’t trade for the world. And I got her short 5’1″ height, which, admittedly, I WOULD trade for something (though maybe not the world). I got some of her freckles and her fair skin, and red in my hair on a sunny day.

    Overall though, I think I resemble my dad more. He had dark hair and I have brown hair…his might’ve been black, and I’m ashamed that I can’t remember whether or not it was dark brown or black. I feel like a bad daughter sometimes for not knowing something like that. I got his awesome nose though. It’s cute. My siblings have always been jealous of my nose (well, my sisters are…my brother probably could care less about noses). I’ve been told I look a lot like my dad did, but never really been told that I look much like my mom.

    I’ve often wondered where I got my hands from, because I’ve noticed my mom has surprisingly large hands for someone so small (she’s only ever weighed 100 pounds or 105!). I don’t think my dad’s hands were small, but I was small at the time I knew him (11), so everything looked bigger to me then.

  12. Raia responded on 07 May 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    I get told frequently that I look “just like” my mother. And I can see it, too. Especially if I look at pictures of her when she was closer to my age. We do look very similar. We have the same blue eyes and same long, straight brown hair. We both started going gray in our early thirties. Now she is mostly gray and perms her hair but we still have the same smile lines, similar crinkles around our eyes.

    My younger sister, looks less like my mother, more like my dad. Still the same blue eyes but with more blond, wavy hair. She’s never said that it bothers her, but I wonder if it does, that when people meet both of us, they comment on how muc I look like my mom and not my sister.

    I was honored to be told I looked like my mom, I think of her as beautiful. But for her it’s more complicated. She says when she was my age she struggled with her weight (in the pictures she looks healthy to me…) and was the tallest girl in her class. I am on the short side of average and a healthy weight. I’ll take the compliment anyway, she was and is beautiful to me.

    Now I am starting to get comments about how my daughter (18 months) looks “just like” me! It’s got to be the blue eyes again. I see some of both myself and my husband (my eyes, his dark hair and complexion) but even his parents comment on how much she looks like me.

    Growing up I sometimes got annoyed by the “you look just like your mom” stuff, because I wanted to be my own person, seperate from my parents. Since becoming a parent, and meeting many other children/ parent groups, I understand more that people probably mean well and sometimes the resemblence is uncanny! I catch myself telling other parent/ baby pairs that they look alike. Because they do! : )

  13. lik_11 responded on 07 May 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Like Rachel- I’ve always been compared to my father. Especially when I was a child- anywhere we would go (!)- people would say things like, “No doubt who her Dad is!” and such. Being told from a child how you look just like a man… hrmph! My Mom has always told me how I act and think just like him.
    When I was 25, I took a picture. My oldest brother saw it and told me I looked “just like Mom!” with wonder in his voice. I LOVE that picture of me!

  14. Just me responded on 07 May 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    I am 48… my daughter is 33 years younger. She tells me that she loves when people say we look exactly alike. Because in that she hears them saying that they think I am attractive, and that they believe that she will be equally attractive when she reaches my age. I think that’s a very positive way to view the comparisons. :)

  15. Emmi responded on 07 May 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    When I’m with my Mom, I get told I look just like her. When I’m with my Dad, I get told I look just like him. I find this hilarious.

    I’m a pretty good mix of the two of them, while my older sister is like a mini-Mom. Their baby pictures are nearly identical.

    You and your Mom have the same spirit in your smile. To me, that makes you seem more like her than any physicality.

    One thing I love – my sister and I both have central heterochromia in both eyes, which just means that we have a ring of different color around our pupils. Our eyes are blue like our Mom, but we have a ring of hazel like our Dad. We carry them with us always, and we see things through both of them. I am tickled by this.

  16. Kristina responded on 07 May 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    When I was young, all anyone would ever say is how much I looked like my dad. I loathed that statement. Little girls want to look like princesses and ballerinas, not the “old” man who has body hair. But as I got older, I understood why they all said that. Now they say I looke “just” like my mom. Quite frankly, I love being compared to both of them. They are good-looking people.

  17. Val responded on 07 May 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    My mother and I are twins. Genetics can be so much fun. love, Val

  18. margosita responded on 07 May 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    I don’t look like my mom, and no one really suggests that we do. She is taller and thinner and is attractive. I didn’t really realize or consider the fact that my mom is quite beautiful until college when my (male) friends commented on how hot she was. (Insert uncomfortable MILF jokes, here.)

    I’ve been surprised at how hard it has been, as an adult, to feel like my mom is better looking than me. Part of it that she is thinner, and part of it is that her clothes are nicer and a better quality than what I can afford, and it sort of combines to makes me feel like I’m a short, round schlub in comparison. Yet if I told her that she would undoubtably roll her eyes and tell me that she is envious of the thick curly hair I inherited from my father and my younger pain-free knees (and body).

  19. Deanna responded on 07 May 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    How wonderful that you have a beautiful mom. Doesn’t that take some of the fear away from aging? I have always been afraid of looking old or looking my age (that is after age 35 I didn’t care to look my age anymore), but if your mom remains lovely in her 50s, that’s a great thing.

    My mom is cute but was never a beauty. My dad was very handsome and women just adored him. He once told me he didn’t think my mom was very attractive and that really hurt me. When people tell me I look like my mom (and I really don’t)I think ‘Gee..I must be homely.’

    Of course there are vibes that people give up so even thought I am very different from my mom, there may be some mannerisms or expressions that make us look more alike.

    Anyway, be grateful you have a beautiful mom. It’s a gift.

  20. Kate responded on 07 May 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    I am! Although the fact that we don’t actually look very alike doesn’t make me feel like I’ll age in the same way :-) Who knows? It’ll be an adventure!

    And oh my god– that is incredibly hurtful. I am so sorry your dad said that. I’ve heard men make that sort of comment about their wives and every time, I feel like my heart breaks a tiny bit.

  21. Sheryl responded on 07 May 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Oh, pretty mothers. I used to love looking at photos of my mother, and my grandmother, as teenagers and young adults and oohing and aaahing over how pretty they were. And then feeling down in the dumps about how not pretty I was when compared to them.

    I don’t look my mother … but oh lordy do I take after her in some ways. It’s very disconcerting when I pick up a hobby or interest and tell her about it only to hear “oh yeah, I used to do that when I was your age”.

  22. Megan responded on 07 May 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    I look not one iota like my mother. I guess except for the fact that we both have very sensitive skin—but it doesn’t look the same. It just reacts the same to the sun and such.

    I am all my dad. In fact, my feet are exact replicas of his, just scaled down and not hairy. I really wish I looked like my mom. She’s short, super thin, cute, and gorgeous. All my boyfriends and guy friends used to say how hot she is. I am now engaged, so my fiance is the one saying it now.

    My sister looks like my mom. A cute, stylish, glowing woman. I look like my dad. A man. My dad and I are the ones with the weight problems, the big feet and hands, the big heads (his entire family has big heads), etc. I got all the big man features and my sister got all the cute woman features.

    Obviously just because I look like my dad doesn’t mean I could be mistaken for a man. I’m still clearly a woman, so I suppose it could be worse. But some days I just really wonder why God couldn’t have balanced me out a little bit more so I could look less like my dad and more like my mom.

  23. Alex responded on 07 May 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    People always say I look exactly like my mother. I do think we look a like, but not “exactly” the same (I have my mother’s jet black hair, but my skin is a darker olive tone while she is very pale and I have fuller lips and brown eyes compared to her green ones). I have a cousin who once told me I walk like my mom. That didnt really makes sense but made me laugh anyway :) . It does not really bother me being compared to my mom. I really look up to my mom. I take it as compliment. But like you, my mom and me have diffrent personalities. She is LOUD and i’m very soft spoken. The apple dosen’t fall far from the tree, sometimes.

  24. Jill responded on 07 May 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    I just have to say, I loved this post & the post about relating to your brothers. Happy families are complicated, regardless of what they say.
    I don’t look like my mom much at all, nor do I act like her! I worry about both sometimes.
    But she says I have some of her mom in me, and I like to think so, especially since my mom loved her mom so much.

  25. Sarah responded on 07 May 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Another great post! I’m so glad I found your blog; I look forward to the email notifications that let me know when a new post is up. Your writing is wonderful.

  26. Diana D responded on 07 May 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    I can see my mom’s hand movements in my own hands sometimes. Other times, I can feel me responding to a joke with facial movements just like hers, and it is eerie to me.

    I don’t look like either of my parents, so noone has ever said, “Oh, you look just like . . . ” to me. They had olive skin and dark hair. I’m a red-head with alabaster skin, the family genetic throw-back to another generation.

    Then again, there was the red-headed mailman in the neighborhood . . . just kidding.

  27. Sooz responded on 07 May 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    I am adopted and wish desperately I could see my biological mom just once so I could see someone who looks like me. I missed knowing that there was someone in the world who was similar to me. The place I grew up in was pre-dominantly Caucasian and I am Hispanic. It was lonely with noone who looked like me. I would have loved to have my face reflected back at me in someone else’s face. That’s why it so nice for me now that my children are around. Because they look a lot like me. And I love it. I hope they are proud that they look like me. And if not, I will reflect back on this post and remember that it is okay if they don’t. :)

  28. San D responded on 07 May 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    Growing up I looked like my father’s side of the family. But now as I age, I see my mother in my body, feet, hands, and even thinning hair. When my mother was younger, and I still was a child, she did everything to alter her appearance. She dyed her hair, wore makeup, lived in girdles, plucked and preened. As she aged, it became more difficult to keep up with these tasks so she gradually went “au naturale”. And that’s where our likenesses collide. As she became more of her authentic physical self, it matches what I have become.

  29. Birdy responded on 07 May 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    I was talking to my mom on the phone today and she said “did you read Kate? She has the same problem that you have!” (Yeah, I know “read Kate” sounds weird but we talk about your blog so much that we just say that and we know what the other means.)
    I get told I look like my mom ALL the time. And that is really a compliment, but the truth is I’m not as pretty as she is. :D We have almost the same coloring (her hair is redder) and we’re almost the same height. But if you look close my face is built completely different, like my dad’s side of the family. In pictures of us when we were little, my dad and I look a lot alike and I don’t look like my mom.
    It’s really never bothered me though. Its funny when people thinks she’s my sister. :D
    My dad swears, however, that “She’d look just like me if she had a beard!” Which would cause a whole nuther world of problems, but whatever. He thinks its hilarious!

  30. cathymk responded on 07 May 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Most people on meeting my mum and I together immediately told me I looked like my mother. And, whilst she was alive I really hated it (I loved Mum, I just thought I was different / separate from her). She passed 11 years ago in her early fifties, and now whenever someone tells me I look like her and wants to share their memories of what she was like – I am thrilled and excited (and even proud!). I’m just sorry I never appreciated her more whilst she was around.

  31. Embr responded on 08 May 2012 at 2:13 am #

    I look exactly like my mom. Almost. People always think we’re sisters. I remember one time in eighth grade she picked me up from school, and I heard this girl say “Oh my goodness!! she looks exactly like her mom!”. The only differences are i have my father’s forehead, eyebrow shape, skin color, and my eyes are spaced like his. But I always find it strange when people tell me I look exactly like him when I’m around him lol. To be honest, I feel uncomfortable when people say I look like a mirror image of my mother because I feel like, in a way, I stole her “identity”. Like, this isn’t >my< face I don't look like me, I look like her.

  32. Paola responded on 08 May 2012 at 7:58 am #

    Lovely post.
    I have always said I inherited the worst traits of both my parents: my dad’s bad temper, his poor eye-sight and less-than cute nose… and my mum’s wild curly hair.

    However, no one has ever compared me to my dad even though I know for a fact I look more like him than my mum. It’s the hair. People are more likely to notice that ONE specific similarity between us rather than the eyes and nose I inherited from my dad. Ironically, I like to think my curls are what make me stand out. They are *my* thing, almost like my identity. Saying that her and I look alike (in spite of the fact that I’m several inches taller, she’s extremely petite while I have latina hips, her face is thin and her nose -surgically- tiny, I have pouty lips whereas hers are thin and pale, etc…) completely takes the fun away from MY curly hair, which is mine and no one else’s!

  33. anya responded on 08 May 2012 at 8:51 am #

    I was told that I look just like my dad even though he’s blue eyed and curly and I’m brown eyed and my hair is straight . Like, on the streets of his little village, people would stop me and say, wow, you look so much like your dad! I was so pleased and surprised because I’m not photogenic ( he is) , and couldn’t see myself that way. As I aged though, it’s obvious where we’re alike, we’re both neurotic, and get mad if things don’t go our way at work, both opinionated ( we had some fights and the relatives were laughing and saying “you two are two hard stones”) both technical inclined. I have his eyebrows his mouth( his WHOLE side of the family has the exact same corner of the mouth).
    But I’m also like mum in lots of ways. I cry easily at romantic movies. I loove shoes ( I used to think mum’s passion with shoes/clothes was silly, well, now I’m just like her) and my boyfriend says I look like her when I wear sunglasses up my hair .
    In a way I like seing my parents and grandparents in my face

  34. Sonja responded on 08 May 2012 at 11:36 am #

    I once sort of accidentally had my hair cut exactly like my mom wears hers (and has for years). Every time I saw myself in the mirror, I thought “WHOA! Who put a photo of my mom up there?!”
    So yes, I look like my mom. :)

  35. melissa responded on 08 May 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    People say I look like my mom all of the time, but I don’t see it either.

    I have to wonder what the deal with that is. Is it because we don’t want to believe that we look like our moms or is it because we spend so much more time with our own faces that we see things that others dont?

    Or is it because we only see ourselves staring in a mirror, but everyone else can see the way we move our eyes when we talk, hear the tone in our voice, read our body language and all of that other stuff we can’t see ourselves do?

    I probably talk like my mom. Or something. Maybe others just stick with appearances because it’s easier to say.

    I have a completely different nose and mouth than my mom. The way I smile is completely different. My teeth look bigger. My face is much wider and rounder. I don’t know how it is even remotely possible that we look the same.

    I’d rather look like my mom than see my dad’s face every time I look in a mirror. His lazy, tired looking smile, his wider, rounder face. My grandmother’s nose. My dad’s big teeth.

    That’s what I see. What is all this other stuff that everyone else sees???

  36. meg responded on 08 May 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    People always told me I looked just like my dad. When I was little, I worried this meant I had some burgeoning facial hair that they could see and I couldn’t. Then I wondered if this meant that I “looked Jewish” and had prominent nose (I do, sort of). I was a little annoyed that my sister was told that she looked like my mother, who has more even features.

    Now that my dad’s gone, I scan my features in the mirror every now and then hoping to find a glimpse of his.

  37. Kate responded on 08 May 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    I’m so interested in learning about all of these women who look like their dads! I didn’t even think to ask about that, which just goes to show you…this might be part of the reason people compare girls with their mothers so automatically– we’re just matching genders.

  38. Kate responded on 08 May 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Maybe the people who can tell when someone looks like her dad are just a little more perceptive?

    God, I don’t know :-)

  39. morgaine responded on 08 May 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    I was a chubby child, and everyone said I looked just like my mom’s Lithuanian relatives. Then puberty hit, and I developed my dad’s rangy Greek-islander physique, wiry and hard with muscle. With my olive skin and very deeply set eyes, I looked wholly Greek. Now, post-puberty, my body once again resembles those on my mom’s side. I’m not chubby, but my figure is solidly Eastern European. It’s been interesting, watching my various ethnic traits evolve and settle. Different genes seem to emerge and retreat at different times.

  40. Emmie responded on 08 May 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    People say all the time that I look like my mom but neither of us see it. For starters she is 6 inches taller than me and we have very differently shaped mouths, hairlines, eyes, noses…you name it, it’s different. What we do have in common are mannerisms, I hold my lips the way she does when I’m trying not to laugh out loud, we walk with a similar gait, and we smile the same way. So maybe what people are responding to aren’t actual symmetry of features but the essence of how we present ourselves.

  41. sami responded on 08 May 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    I look exactly like my mum, and we even have the same voice (unfortunately we are terrible, terrible singers).

    I once came across a photo in an album and thought “I don’t remember this at all, where was this picture was taken?”, thinking it was me in the photo. Turns out it was my mum! It’s a very strange feeling, like having a secret double life that I don’t know about.

  42. Kate responded on 09 May 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to this. I love that you and your mom both read my blog! That is beyond awesome.

    And my dad would say something like that, too, and find it hilarious :-)

  43. tirzahrene responded on 09 May 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    I look different enough than my mom that I can’t really compare us (plus I’m crap at analyzing that stuff anyway). I also happen to think that my mom is pretty much the most fabulous person alive, ever, and so anytime I happen to remind someone of her I’m automatically very happy about it. I think she’s an incredibly lovely person and I hope I age like the women in her family. They’re gorgeous and wrinkly and silver-haired and happy.

  44. Kate responded on 09 May 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    I love all the mom-love here. Yay moms!!
    Also, I had to add that yesterday, a day after I wrote this post, my mom came into the city to look at the apartments I am frantically considering in the three seconds I have to find one, and the first realtor we met with opened the door and exclaimed, “Oh my god! You look exactly alike!!”


  45. Lynellekw responded on 10 May 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    I used to find that people who knew my extended family (and especially people on my mother’s side of the family) said I looked like my mother. People who didn’t know my extended family would say I looked like my father. When I was young I didn’t think I looked much like my family at all – I was blonder, darker-skinned, differently structured. Now I see both sides in me. When I cut my hair short I realised how much I look like one aunt. When I’m overweight I look like another aunt. When I’m slim I look like yet another aunt, and like my grandmother. I see my grandfather in my cheekbones. We accidentally met a distant relative in Norway, once (bizarrely related through the English part of our shared ancestry rather than the Norwegian side of my father’s family) – my mother took a photo of him and my father and I together so we could all marvel at the resemblance. The family member I look most like, I’m told, is cousin Cheryl. I’ve met cousin Cheryl once. We do look very alike. Cousin Cheryl achieved some notoriety (and, briefly, a spot in a women’s gossip mag) by having an affair with a senator, and falling pregnant, and keeping the baby. But that’s not the point. I look more and more like my brothers as we get older. Sometimes even a little like my adopted sister, I think. I don’t know how I feel about being compared to my mother (or my aunts, or anyone else). Sometimes it’s annoying to not just be ME. Sometimes the connection is reassuring.

  46. Katie responded on 15 May 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    I don’t think anyone but my parents have ever claimed that I look like either of them. I’m mixed (Asian and Caucasian), so I remember being a little kid and having people refer to my mother as a babysitter. As I’m getting older, though, I find myself unconsciously mimicking her features because they seem like the most natural ones for me to be growing into. That’s regardless of the fact that she’s the classic ginger-pale, freckled, orange hair and green eyes while I have darker features.

  47. Tabs responded on 21 May 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Okay, I know this post was written, like, two weeks ago, but I just read it and I need to comment (NEED TO). So. I am the second of four girls – ranging from ages 24 to 19. My older sister and I are ten months apart, and lord, we look like night and day. Firstly, she’s a model – if that tells you anything. 5’9″, beautiful, huge boobs, tiny waist, the whole shebang. I’m average in just about everything. Average height, average boobs, average face – maybe I have a cute nose. The next two are also adorable, one being more conventionally attractive than the other (because she tries to be, my youngest sister is more interested in not fitting in (like me!)).

    I feel like I’m in their shadows (looks-wise) every time the four of us go anywhere. Necks snap towards us as we walk. And that doesn’t happen when I’m alone. (Not that I necessarily *want* them, too. But I think you know what I mean. Or I hope.)

    Then there’s my mom. She’s tiny. She’s in her 40s. She’s beautiful (and has the biggest boobs I’ve ever seen on someone who’s five feet tall).

    When I lived abroad in Germany for my junior year and my mom came to visit, we were walking down the street and I was aware of all the stares my mom was garnering from (creepy) men. Just straight up stares. And here I was, the 20-year-old daughter, just lagging behind her. It would happen when we would stop to get gas here in middle America! Dudes would approach, wanting to give her their numbers, with all of her teenage daughters just sitting there.

    I don’t really know where I’m going with this, other than I wanted to express my feelings that your post spoke to. Which – is mostly frustration!

  48. Pippi responded on 02 Jun 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    I’m definately more than a little late to the game here but I just thought I’d my thought :D

    I’m currently 21 and between the ages of 0 and about 15, I was ALWAYS told that I looked like my dad. I have his squinty eyes, his wonky ears, his roundy face. BUT now that I am (finally) a woman, everyone now says that I look like my mum. I’ve thinned out a bit and got taller so even I think I look more like her than my dad. However, my mum swears blind that I look nothing like her, much to her constant dismay and that the only family resemblance she sees in me is from my dad and her distant relatives, not her!

    My point is that I think it depends on the person and their personality as to how you see yourself. My dad is rounded, gawky and boisterous whereas my mum is slim, elegant and mum-like so I feel like as I get older I am making the progression from the chubby, bouncy child of my younger self to a more well-put together womanly woman. Who knows though, I still see that my dad’s little chubby face in the mirror when I smile so maybe it’s all in my head?!

    Incidentally, you look like a lovely mix of both your parents! Which is the best way to be.

  49. Sarah responded on 30 Sep 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Some people say I look like my mother, others say I look like my father. It’s either a compliment or insult since my mother is widely considered a very attractive women. One time a coworker told me, “your Mom is pretty…you don’t look like her” I’m like, “jeez, thanks” haha

  50. Ally responded on 15 Mar 2014 at 3:30 am #

    I posted a photo of myself on Facebook today and my cousin commented that I look just like my mom. I don’t know what he’s talking about because I look nothing at all like my mom!! She’s short, severely obese, has brown eyes, frizzy hair that she dyes herself and it’s a strange color, crooked and yellow teeth and a crooked nose. I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world but I’m taller, slightly overweight, have blue eyes, have silky brown hair, straight and white teeth and a straight nose. I try to dress nicely while my mom just grabs whatever she can find in her closet which is usually a lime green t-shirt and jeans with holes in the knees. She also wears glasses and I don’t. I don’t look anything like her, I would never want to look anything like her and I hope I don’t turn into her as I age. I hate it when people say I look just like her. I think she’s an amazing person, super nice and willing to help out anyone who needs help but she looks like she was beaten with an ugly stick (stole that from Austin Powers – haha).