Who's the better man--you or your father? Who's the better woman--you or your mother

This may be better suited for IMHO than MPSIMS, mods, so feel free to move it without fear of complaint. As for responses, if possible I’d like to keep them sex-segregated: this is, daughter-to-mother or son-to-father comparisons only, as oppose to cross-gender. But if you have good reason to break that rule, fellow Dopers, feel free to go to town.

A very little background. Very recently, my best friend was – well, let’s just say she had a tragedy in her life. This friend, whom I shall arbitrarily call Valerie to protect her privacy, suffered a home invasion that ended as badly as possible as it could without her being dead or disfigured at the end of it.

Now Valerie is a member of my family in all but blood. She comes over for holidays. She sends my mother Mother’s Day cards. When there’s a wedding and we’re taking family pictures, she’s the one blond in the sea of blackness. So I’m more than a little upset by this.

A few moments ago we were talking about things, and I was trying to offer what feeble help I could–money to replace what she had lost and so forth. Valerie was resolutely being stoic about the issue, because she’s Valerie, and that’s how she deals with things. I do the same thing, actually, and during this conversation I realized why my mother and my biological sisters find me so frustrating to deal with when I’m upset. So I commented on the fact that we’ve known each other since 1985 and still neither of us can open up to the other without tons of hemming & hawing & gallons of tequila and beer.

“Mom’s right,” I said. “We’re emotionally constipated.”

She paused. “Don’t tell Mama Mary,” she said. “Some idiot already told my other mother and I don’t want them both upset.”

Now Valerie’s family is a disaster. She’d be the first to call them white trash. They’re petty, provincial, mean, stupid, unreliable, and a host of even less complimentary adjectives. Her mother, while not the worst of the lot, is up there, and it’s always been a wonder to me that Valerie shares any DNa whatsover with the rest of her clan.

“I won’t tell Mom,” I said. “But you know, even though she’s been sick, she could handle it. She’s strong.”

“I wish she was actually my mother,” Valerie replied.

“You’re ten times the woman your mother is,” I said.

Valerie shrugged, and took another drink, and didn’t reply, because part of being ten times the woman her mother is is not putting her mother down unnecessarily. But it hit me then that, while my statement, however tactless, was true, the reverse is true in my case.

By a few objective meaures, I’m “better” than my father. That is, I’m smarter, and better educated. But on many more objective measures, and endless subjective ones, my father is not just ten times the man I am; he’s a hundred times. When he was my age he had fathered seven children, all of whom he supported and none of whom had reason to doubt his love. My only foray into parenting consisted of years of cowardly denial followed by frantic and ultimately feckless attempts to make up for it. My father has stood behind my mother in her illness with grace and unshakeable devotion, while I’m pretty much incapable of keeping a girlfriend for more than a month (and typically just a weekend). Yes, my fathers a fundamentalist Christian, with unsophisticated and, I feel, basically flawed beliefs about the Bible; but he is also far kinder, far mroe giving and generous, to strangers and acquaintances as well as to friends and family, than I, the liberal Christian, ever manage to be.

So my father is a much better man than I am. My best friend is a much better woman than her mother.

How about you?

My father has been the picture model of what a man, husband, and father should be.

I can only hope that I grow into half the man my father is.

My mother is a thousand times the woman I am. She raised me alone from the time I wa six, working as a substitute teacher. I didn’t find out until years later that there were weeks when she was literally digging in between the car seat cushions for change to buy milk, yet every time we went to the bookstore, I got to pick out a book. She’s a fantastic cook, unbelievably organized, and a wonderful grandmother. She always knows what to do. Always. No matter what happens, she’s calm and clearheaded and knows what to do or who to call. She can still make everything all right in my life just by hearing her voice. She’s a fantastic teacher and leader at the school where she works, and she loves dogs.

She’s a more beautiful, sexy woman at 56 than I am at 30. My only sorrow on her behalf is that she never found another man to love after my father, as far as I know. I feel so sad that she doesn’t have another person to share the rest of her life with. Any single men want to date the most wonderful woman in the universe? She’s my mom.

My father was afflicted with war and starvation, immigrated to a new culture and language in his twenties, got a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, holds eight patents, raised three children to adulthood, stayed out of debt, spent nine years taking care of a fatally sick child, survived a massive heart attack in his fifties, and can whistle anything Mozart ever wrote.

I can’t compete. Not even at whistling.

(Note: much of the foregoing would not have been possible if my mother hadn’t been by his side the whole time. Forty-one years together and they’re still going strong.)

My father produced three children (that I know of). He never paid child support. He died without penny or property to his name, except for an old, beat-up truck. I understand he was a rather good artist, but the farthest he ever went with that skill was to do sale ads in the newspaper and sign painting. When he died, I was the only potential heir they could find, and I declined the invitation to his funeral.

I think he took me fishing once; that was the extent of his interaction with me.

Um, I’d like to think I’m a better man than he was.

My father was a physically & verbally abusive alcoholic. He drove my sisters (ages 14 & 16) and brother (age 17) away from home. He was a hateful, spiteful bigot who had no use for his children, but expects them to be there in his old age (and, unlike a fine wine, he has not gotten much better with age other than having stopped drinking). I learned nothing useful from him.

I’m a better man than he could ever hope to be.

My father was a neglectful alcoholic. He loved me and my brothers but he would give only as much as suited him at the time. He would just disappear while he was supposed to be keeping us and he would take what little household money we had and spend it on God knows what evil. He was a very charming man however and he never abused us actively.

I turned out to be an alcoholic too but I got sober after 10 years while he is still working on it after 40 years. I am a much better father too and I am more responsible.

There are only two things that my father is better than me at: shooting and picking up women. Picking up women has landed him and cost him some wives and shooting at one of them almost landed him in jail.

I think I am better.

My mother is completely dependant on other people-- and not because of an illness. It’s like she never had to grow up because there was always someone to take care of her. Now she is in her mid 40s, working temp work, driving my dad’s (her ex husband) old car, living with her friend (but not able to make rent each month), and calling family members every week for help.

She is a GREAT people person, but she has no drive, lacks an education, and can sustain herself.

My father is briliant, but not the best people person. I like to think I got both of their good qualities :smiley:

So, yeah, I am a better person than my mother. I may be 19, but I pay my bills, am going to college, I work hard and give 110% to everything I do. I don’t just go to school: I work, I coach debate teams (plural), I work on political campaigns, etc.

I love my mom and lord knows she made me the person I am, but I don’t want to be like her. I never want to worry about paying my rent or eating and I certainly don’t want to have to look to others for that.

*can’t sustain herself

I find this to be a difficult question. In short, the phrase “like father, like son” comes to mind.

In more detail: Most of the flaws and strengths that I see in my father are also present in myself. We’re both a little bit stubborn, and quite a bit impatient. We’re both also intelligent, and have a good sense of what I suppose would be considered duty (as in, things tht we don’t really want to do, and we could survive if we didn’t, but we do it anyway (like me when I went through all that hard work to become an eagle scout, and how he does a whole lot of upkeep an the boat)). Also we’re both very dissorganized (in terms of how we keep our physical work-spaces and kitchen counters), and have very scientific minds.

I suppose the biggest difference is that when he was about my age, he had already met my mother (and over 25 years later they’re still together), where as I haven’t had a steady girlfriend for a while.

My mother is a saint. She’s not annoying about it either, which is one of her best qualities. She’s perpetually good natured. She’s amazingly generous. I don’t know about most of the good works she’s done because she keeps them very low key, but sometimes I hear about them third hand.

I would be very pleased if I ended up being one-tenth of the woman my mother is.

My mother is a user. She uses people for whatever they have to offer, meanwhile trying to change them for the better - so she says - and doesn’t believe other people can have valid opinions.
She doesn’t believe in love.
She believes in detaching yourself from everyone and all material things. Yet she doesn’t practice what she preaches.

Sigh…I could go on for days, but I am a better woman than her, and growing more so every day.

My mother is a much better woman than I. She’s been through two failed marriages, she raised my sister and myself on her own. Her second marriage was to a worthless drunk who beat her all the time and when she got the guts to do it, she divorced him.
She’s got severe heart problems, had a major heart attack a few years ago, had a triple by-pass, just got a pacemaker/defibrilator, is diabetic, and has problems walking sometimes.

She’s a wonderful grandmother and she is a wonderful mother. I’d do anything for her, just as I know that she would do (and has done!) anything for me. She’s 65 years old and still works at the same job as she always did, for the last 36 years, working the front desk at our local hospital, paging doctors, admitting patients, fielding calls, etc. Full-time. She does NOT look her age, nor does she act her age! She’s beautiful inside and out. Plus, she loves animals.

She can make anything better, just by talking with me, no matter what it is. She is the first person I run to with good news, bad news or questions. She always knows what to say or do to make things better. She always has time for me, my daughter and my husband. She’s such a strong person! She has unyeilding faith, she’s got a strict work ethic, she still is quite active and she NEVER gives up. If I had gone through what she has been through in her life, I’d have either given up and died or ended up in prison. I do NOT know how she did it…and still, she keeps going.
The time I spend with her is wonderful. She’s my best friend and partner in crime. :smiley:

Yes. My mother is much more the better person than I could ever dream of being!

My dad was an abusive alcoholic whom I’ve only seen twice that I can remember. It’s not exactly hard to be a better man than he is.

For the record, I’m smarter than my dad. I’m nicer. I’m a much better father. I’m relatively mild in temperment. I’m a hell of a cook. I can hold down a job. I’ve never been arrested. I’m even sober. Yeah. I think I’m a better man than he is.

Mixed bag really. My father was a very accomplished Dr. and did charitable work. He pulled himself up from nothing to be what he was. He loved me and I never felt deprived,but…I spend more time with my kids than he did, and I’m not going to divorce their mother. I get along better with people and perhaps am more well-rounded than my dad. Other than that, though, I got nothin’…

My mom is definitely better, but that may be a function of having had more time on this earth. We’re really quite alike, although she’s better at it.

She’s crazy in the same way I am, but more so.

She’s also brilliant and extremely driven. She’s worked full-time in a career that really and truly makes a difference since I was very young, after getting two bachelor’s and a master’s before I was born and a MBA in just four years (while working full time) when I was 8 and my brother was 6. She ALWAYS has a homecooked, healthy dinner on the table at 6:00 pm, even if it means she needs to cook it on the weekend and freeze it so she can warm it up when she gets home from work at 5:30. She sees goals and goes for them. She’s extremely smart and educated.

I have the same impulses, but less ability to carry them through.

My father was a nasty, abusive bastard. He taught us three sons that we were pathetic failures. Before I weighed 90 pounds, he was quoting Charles Atlas, calling me a “98 pound weakling.” I don’t remember him telling any of us that he loved us. I was in my twenties before I forced myself to learn how to hug those close to me. I peeled most of that negative crap off for a few years, but it came back to engulf me. I’m seeing a therapist now, and I hope I can learn to live without carrying around a lifetime of shame.

I’m not a great man, or a wealthy man, but I’m sure as hell a better man than my father.

My father was physically and emotionally abusive to me and my brother. He used his ethnic background to land a cushy government job where he does as little work as possible. He’s extremely materialistic, having acquired a Porsche and a sailboat the nanosecond he could afford them. This while he paid child support to my mother only irregularly, and paid not a penny of my college tuition despite being on the hook for half in the separation agreement. He grew pot in the garage. Last time I talked to him, fifteen years ago, he was on his third wife.

I consider myself a better man than he, and I don’t feel guilty at all.

Wow, a lot of bastards described in this thread. Here’s another. My father was an alcoholic who abandoned his wife and three kids when the youngest (me) was about two years old. He left his wife without a job to support her children and sent no money to help out. He never acknowledged his youngest child and never returned to see any of us. . .ever. He died pretty much penniless at the age of 53. Fuck him. I’m a better man, person and father than he was on his best day.

My father was a very, very good man and a great dad.

I’m not the man he was, and that’s both good and bad. I’m not as patient with my kids as he was with me. But I’m more patient with my wife and my staff than he was with my mom and his staff. I am more demonstrative to my family, showing affection and saying that I love them, than he initially was, but he was much better at it as he got older. He said he learned that from me.

So, I’m not as good in some areas, but better in a few other important ones. Overall though, I’d still give him the edge and I hope that I can be as good a man as he was.