Capturing Your Mother’s Story – Tips and Questions

daughter and mother talkingInterviewing your mother may feel daunting. Here are some different approaches you can take, along with questions to choose from.

Talking to mother about the family history can be a good place to start. It becomes natural and easy if we never knew our grandparents, or we want to capture the history as a legacy for our own children.

1950s two womenIf there are photographs around, then ask about the story behind them. What was happening?

I recall when I was little, that  as my grandmother got older she would talk about the past a lot and reminisce. I found it boring being so young, but now wish I could be there as an adult to hear the insights and dynamics from the past. If your mother is starting to reminisce, then see it an opening for you to be curious and listen with an open heart.

When you see a twinkle in your mother’s eye, then keep going! When you notice discomfort or pain, then be with her, don’t back off. Keep listening and be present. Where ever there is pain, there is often something about to be revealed so it can be healed.

Review the following questions and choose the ones that seem right to you. You may add your own to the list but keep them open questions to avoid yes or no answers. Some of these questions require some thought. Give your mother time and space as she gathers her thoughts.

Keep your ears open for new insights and your heart open to allow them touch you. This exercise can be transforming both both of you.

Biography Questions:

When and where were you born?

How old was your mother and father?

What was your house like that you grew up in?

What are your earliest memories of your father…. your mother …. your siblings?

What did you enjoy most about school?

Where did you go on vacation?

What did you love to do as a child?

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Are there things you always wanted to do but never had the opportunity?

How did you meet my father?

What was your relationship like with him?

Did your mother and father approve?

As a new mother how did you feel? (both positive and negatives)

What was hardest for you being a mother? What was your worst fear?

What did you want for your daughter then?

What do you want to your daughter today?

Your Mother’s Childhood and her Relationship with her Mother:

old mother and daughter photoHow would you describe your relationship with your mother?

When you were a child what got you into trouble? How were you punished?

What did you do to be a “good” girl?

What advice did she give you growing up that you remember today?

What the main difference between how you were brought up and bringing up your own daughter?

In what ways are you and your mother alike?

In what ways are you and your mother different?

What do you love about your mother?

Did your mother push your buttons? If so, what did she say or do that gets to you? How did you respond?

What is the legacy from your mother that has contributed to making you the woman you are today? (For example her temperament, personality, strengths, talents, attitudes and  beliefs – about being a woman, men, money, family work etc)

What will you (or do you) miss when your mother is gone?


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