Antithesis – Friday Fictioneers, June 2019

Copyright Valerie J Barrett

I’m wearied by her constant soul-searching.

“You’ve never loved me, have you?” she says.

Never enough, clearly.

“Other mothers…” she begins, but I reach for my coat.

I’m done here – I’ve a train to catch.

Had I been her father, I’d have demanded a DNA test, but there’s no disputing her birth.  She was difficult, temperamental and needy from the start.  There could never be enough of me for her, and confrontation was only ever a heartbeat away.

“You just didn’t have the “mother” button, did you?”

Maybe not… or if I did, perhaps you pressed it just too often…?


There’s something intriguing about the relationship between mothers and daughters, and this traditional domestic scene prompted a different take on the traditional mother-daughter relationship.  Thanks to Rochelle, for her continued leadership of Friday Fictioneers.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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60 Responses to Antithesis – Friday Fictioneers, June 2019

  1. michael1148humphris says:

    Linking those old utensils to DNA testing was a master stroke.


  2. Mike says:

    A great little tale Sandra. I particularly liked the idea of the overused ‘mother button’. Wonderful!


  3. Colline says:

    This type of relationship must be extremely tiring!


  4. Dear Sandra,

    I’ve never had a daughter. But I have three sons who’ve been adept at pushing the mother button a few too many times. Very well written, which is never a surprise.




  5. A difficult relationship indeed, and as a father of daughters, one I can only imagine.

    Rosey invited me to lunch!


  6. ceayr says:

    I am surprised and somewhat saddened by the revelation that mother-daughter relationships can be so fraught.
    Exquisitely portrayed, as always.


  7. Iain Kelly says:

    Some mother’s do ‘ave ’em it seems. I imagine this is a more common scene than we imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. pennygadd51 says:

    That is a truly marvellous story, Sandra. Absolutely first class. The emotions are so subtly nuanced – and you even include humour with “Had I been her father, I’d have demanded a DNA test, but there’s no disputing her birth.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. michael1148humphris says:

    I enjoyed this, and the way you used DNA, bravo


  10. Kalpana Solsi says:

    a DNA test. people of the same DNA are difficult to get along. the objects in the photo prompt weaved effortlessly into the story.


  11. Marvelously done. And, yes, the relationships between parents and children – and between mothers and daughters and daughters and mothers and mothers who are also daughters and daughters who are also mothers …
    Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I simply love the dialogue… it sounds so very realistic… I wonder if they will ever find the right balance. No a mother can never escape like a father.


  13. Abhijit Ray says:

    Difficult question to answer. Mother button got desensitised or absent?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. draliman says:

    Great representation of an increasingly-strained relationship. I loved the line “Had I been her father, I’d have demanded a DNA test” – what a thing to say about your kid 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. neilmacdon says:

    Gloriously unsentimental, Sandra


  16. Rowena says:

    This was brilliantly nuanced and dealt with one of the most complex of relationships.
    I have been the child in that relationship who has never really been able to reach my mother and also the product of a very difficult birth. I’m an extrovert with a rather theatrical personality where my mother is more on the introvert side and doesn’t like to stand out in the crowd. My daughter is very much like my mother and sometimes I feel that it’s been hard enough to go through this once let a lone twice. However, I’m overcoming all of this. Mum and I are slowly connecting through music as she accompanies me on the piano while I play my violin. It’s been funny because even this was fraught. We’d have the same piece of music but in different keys. You wouldn’t think it possible but we’ve worked through this. We’re playing Chopin’s Tristesse.
    Meanwhile, I’ve been researching tutus for my daughter and taking up adult ballet classes for exercise and fun for myself but also to be a part of her world.
    Best wishes,


    • Sandra says:

      That’s an interesting scenario, Rowena, mother, daughter, grandchild. Food for thought there. Glad you’re making your way through it as a family.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        Thanks, Sandra. It’s more of a case of me working through it. I don’t think mum or my daughter are particularly aware of how I feel. There’s an acceptance on my part that they can’t connect with me at this level and it’s no one’s fault. Indeed, I tend to joke about who God puts together as parent and child.
        BTW when you consider that for many couples opposites attract, it’s understandible that you get these mismatched pairings. We caught up with my very introverted nephew and he’s extroverted wife. Both their kids are very extroverted, chatty, posed for the camera and the sort of kids you’d put in ads.
        Anyway, hope you have a great week.
        Best wishes,


  17. Liz Young says:

    Ungrateful children are the worst – I have one of those.


  18. Anita says:

    Can identify with this story! Story remains the same in all parts of the world? Very realistic.


  19. A great different take on the needy mother trope, Sandra. It goes both ways, I’m sure. Great story.


  20. plaridel says:

    like they say, it’s the pot calling the kettle black. blame goes both ways.


  21. Nobbinmaug says:

    You got a lot of layer and depth in an amazingly short span. Excellently done!


  22. Dale says:

    I only had boys but my mother only had girls. I’ve heard of those difficult relationships between mother and daughter (we never could understand that). You capture it perfectly.


  23. A good change of pace. We so rarely see this off spring as cause for angst. Too many times it is the mother. As a mother, thank you.


  24. DB McNicol says:

    Big sigh here – I have two daughters and one of them is quite contentious. Not an arguing one, just non-communicative one. You definitely brought out a real slice of life.


  25. There’s no doubt when it comes to mothers. They know who their children are. It appears these two had a poor beginning and it never ended. A good story, Sandra, and well written as always. —- Suzanne


  26. You write powerfully & with insight into the ‘mother button’ dynamic – such a descriptive term, through dialogue between them. Good writing.


  27. James McEwan says:

    Yes, I understand this “mother button”. I remember my daughter when she was about twelve and she wasn’t getting her own way. She blurted out, ‘Am I adopted?’ (I don’y know why, she is not.)
    I replied, ‘Really, I wished, then I could give you back.” We became the best of friends since.


  28. granonine says:

    Sounds as if the girl has a case of Borderline Personality Disorder. Forgive me. I’ll take my therapist hat off now 🙂 Truly, this is a classic case of a person never getting enough. Hard to live with that.


  29. gahlearner says:

    Since I sympathize more with the daughter I’d say that there have to be good reasons for the behaviour of both. Temperaments are so different sometimes and cause pain and misunderstandings and two headstrong people have a hard time finding common ground. But I might think differently if I had kids, I guess. 😉 Great thought-provoking writing, Sandra.


  30. The daughter sounds needy. I would think that would be a tiresome relationship. I loved your subtle humor.


  31. Lynn Love says:

    Wow! This has such impact, Sandra. Those bitter words, the mother’s bitter thoughts. You can feel the tension between them. the resentment. Children so often blame their parents for their faults, parents chide the children for not being as they’d imagined. Love can be chilling. Insightful and wonderfully written


  32. Brilliantly told, you’ve touched the real nub of the situation here Sandra. I’m in awe of your craft


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