Like Mother, Like Daughter: Culture

by Josannah Birman and Hamsa Ramesha

Three cultures. Two generations. One bond. This Shift series delves into the lives of mothers who came to the United States from other countries and the daughters they have raised here.

From Agatha dreading Polish school to Dorina balancing her Mexican traditions with her husband’s, second generation daughters often walk a fine line between staying connected to their heritage and  mainstream American culture. 

Dorina and her husband

Dorina and her husband

But the daughters aren’t the only ones finding a balance. Immigrating to the U.S. presented a host of challenges to their mothers. Margaret, Maria, and Lucia all talked about how the language barrier made the transition especially difficult.

While they probably could have guessed there would be some linguistic hiccups, they were caught off guard by the American culture that their daughters so quickly absorbed. Make-up, Sleepovers. The tooth fairy. Oh my!

And that’s just when they were kids. Now all grown up theses women are starting to think about how they will raise their own children one day.


Links to other parts of the series:

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Intro

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Family

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Career

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Pride


About the series:

We interviewed three pairs of mothers and daughters from three different ethnicities about family, culture and career and found that while views differ slightly between generations there wasn’t much of an overall gap. For their part, mother and daughter Margaret and Agatha Wieczorek gave intriguing insights on balancing American culture with their Polish heritage. Lucia Stef and her daughter Christine are united by their faith and strong ties to the Romanian community. And Maria Aguilar and Dorina Aguilar Rasmussen may be a generation apart but Mexican traditions are important to both. If Dorina has children, she plans to instill Mexican values in them.

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