Q. When I was a child, I had a tough time with my mom, so when I had daughter, 3 years ago, I was determined to build something better between us. But I'm not really sure what kind of mother-daughter relationship to build. I don't want to be a critical authority like my mother, but I don't think I want to be my daughter's "pal" either. What kind of Mom should I be? Help!" --A Mom who cares
Dear Caring Mom: You've already started off on the right foot because you've begun thinking about your own childhood (Always a good place for a parent to begin!) One of the ways we all learn how to be moms is through identifying with our own moms. This works well when you admire and respect your own mom, but much less well (as in your case) when you feel you want to be a different kind of mom to your daughter than your mom was to you.
Luckily, you can also learn how to be the mom you want to be through other life experiences, -- female relatives, friends and teachers can be better models and books, films and right here on the Internet can give you better ideas! Becoming a parent gives you a new opportunity to grow as a person, alongside your little daughter.