“That woman over there, my future mother-in-law, Dina Byrnes! Dina Dina Bo-Bina Banana Fana Fo Fina. I love D-D-Dina Byrnes! You know, they say if you really want to know what a woman’s going to look like when she gets older, you should look at her mother. Well I’m lookin’ and I’m likin’! Woo, look at her! Sweetness!” ~ Gaylord Focker, “Meet the Fockers” (2004).
Ben Stiller’s character blurting out that he has the hots for his fiancée’s mom while he’s doped up on truth serum has got to be one of the most cringeworthy scenes in cinematic history, but as it turns out, there’s actually some truth to it. We women, it seems, do indeed grow up to be our mothers (never mind that my mother is a smoking hot fifty-something Castilian beauty while I’m a twenty-something hobbit who resembles William Hung on a good day).
Genetics remains to be quite a tricky matter, but according to science, you’re likely to have inherited the following traits from your biological momma:
1. The rate at which you age.
Is your mom often mistaken for your sibling? Does she have a clear, mostly wrinkle-free complexion? If so, you’re in luck.
A preliminary study done by the scientists of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Aging posits that DNA from the mitochondria – which we inherit directly from our mothers – partly controls how quickly we age.
Might as well pick up on your mum’s skincare habits while you’re at it then.
2. Your sleeping patterns.
A research paper published in one of Sleep Medicine’s journals last year revealed that mums tend to pass their sleeping habits onto their kids. Thus, children tend to mirror mothers who suffer from insomnia or identify as light sleepers, even if their fathers were the exact opposite.
In the same vein, you can probably fall asleep anywhere if your mum goes out like a light once it gets dark.
3. Your intelligence.
My dad likes to brag that I got my mum’s smarts whenever he tells people that I graduated magna cum laude back in university (it wasn’t exactly a quota course, so things were rather chill)….but only because he often quips that had I inherited his brains, I’d have graduated summa cum laude. Go figure.
I wouldn’t know if I’d have gotten higher grades if that was the case, but apparently, I have my mum to thank for my reasonably sterling transcript too. Researchers from the Social and Public Health Sciences Unit of Glasgow’s Medical Research Council looked at over 12,000 young people between the ages of 14-22, and guess what they found out?
Apparently, the best predictor of intelligence is your mother’s IQ. Most of the participants in the study averaged IQ scores that were within fifteen points of their mum’s. (I can’t wait to tell my dad just to see the look on his face).
4. When you go through menopause.
Late or early menopause is yet another thing we can chalk up to genetics. A 2011 study carried out by UK’s Institute of Cancer Research actually discovered that women whose mothers and sisters went through menopause early or late are six times more likely to go through the same.
5. Whether you’ll be faithful to your partner or not.
Okay, I’m not too convinced about this, but there was a 2016 survey conducted among 1,000 adults, and 71 percent of those who confessed to having affairs on the side also revealed that their mothers had done the same thing.
Personally, though, I think that has more to do with inadvertently copying your parents’ behavioral patterns as you get older rather than a question of genetics, but I suppose anything’s possible.
So, the next time you find yourself admiring your baby-faced appearance in the mirror or reveling in finishing that complex Sudoku puzzle in two minutes flat, don’t just thank your lucky stars. Go thank your mum too. Whether you are a chip off the old block or look more like your old man, you probably have more in common with your mother than you think.
Something for you to ponder when you go out and celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, no?