Which brings me to Mothers and Daughters. Its an old joke in books, movies and any other medium how fathers never see their daughters as grown up enough to be married, yet Moms have just no problems with that. Perhaps to a mother, it is satisfying to see a daughter grow up. Though much importance is laid on the sons and the paternal line, eventually, it is the woman who usually ends up running the house.
In olden days, with a joint family, it was the new wife who was the outsider, the one who had to mould herself to the traditions in the new place. The boy of the family, thus, was important. He & his family would be the one carrying on the traditions and views of the family. He would bring in his mate, and they would do what His parents had always done, as had his grandparents. The food, the family traditions, etc would continue with the male sire because it was a big joint family where the man's family lived.
Today (as in for the past decade or more), the families are usually nuclear. And till date in most cases, most of the housework is done by the woman. The in-laws (bride or groom) come to stay only when they are old and infirm. In this case it is the lady who brings home the customs. The housekeeping, the food, everything is as it is in her home. As she has grown up. The husband only gives his touches in his choices or in the small chores he does. Not in the daily running. The new family is moulded as per the mother, even though the surname remains of the father - in most cases.
As a mother sees her son grow up, it is a man she looks at, someone who would perhaps be like her husband later. Someone who would be nice, kind, helpful, dashing, energetic - whatever you can think of - but as a man. When a man looks at his son, its probably as his scion. But, as a boy. He definitely does not see him as a grown man, until perhaps the father himself is old. Till then, his son is still his 'boy'. One that needs to be taken care of till he is independent. To him he passes on character, but not traditions.
With daughters too, a father would usually think of her as a young fragile thing who is to be taken care of (ref: the link above) rather than a grown woman who is to battle out her life. He would rather not have her battle on. To her he passes on the will to battle, and yes, character.
To a mother however, a daughter is a reflection of herself. With time she sees in her daughter what she did when she grew up. The social changes and how her daughter saw it all better. And her traditions. And her cooking.
The housework is passed on to daughter from mother. As is the cooking. When a mother sees her daughter grow up, she sees her emulating the only other source of housework - her mom. So the daughter (adding in her own character) continues the tradition of the family. When a man talks about 'Moms Food' he is not talking of food his father's family endorsed - he is acknowledging the food that his mother (and her mother before that) have made. The wife may serve that to him once in a while, but she definitely is going to prefer her 'family' food - it is what she knows, it is what she cooks, and ultimately, it is what she likes. Eventually, her children like that too. The tradition carries on.
In the world of Patriarchy, almost every man is living in a world created by his mother or his wife. The Mother echoes her mother and the wife, hers. Though lines remain patriarchal, traditions flow matriarchally.
- In mixed religion marriages, it is assumed or often noticed that the child tends to follow the mothers religion. If the mother is vegetarian, the chances of the child being vegetarian is higher. It is because it is her who eventually does the banal every day tasks, and hence spends more time with the child.
- Dont ask me why I had the thought, I just had it. And no, none of this is influenced by my family.