Like Mother Like Daughter

Submitted into Contest #101 in response to: Write a story that involves a reflection in a mirror.... view prompt



I stagger over to Lexi’s bedroom, nearly tripping over my feet in the process. 

“Lexi!” I yell, “Wake up, honey. You’re going to be late for school.” 

Opening the bedroom door, I find my daughter standing motionless in front of the full body mirror installed in the wall, a frown plastered firmly on her face. She’s wearing a peachy pink summer dress that we’d bought for her last week on our trip to the mall. Her curly ivory black hair is in a series of intricate tangles atop her head. Haircut. I make a mental note. 

As I enter, her deep brown eyes meet mine, and her lips quiver slightly. She wraps her arms around herself and looks down to the ground, avoiding my gaze.

“Lexi, what’s wrong dear?” I ask her, crinkling my brows with worry. I pull her into a hug, “Tell Mommy what’s going on.”

Lexi sniffles a little, “A girl at school yesterday said I looked ugly.”

I recoil back, placing my hands firmly on her shoulders, “First, that is definitely not true. Second, why would anyone say that to you? You are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.”

“Well,” Lexi shrugs slightly, “I was wearing that bright yellow sundress Grandma bought me for my birthday.”

“Uh huh.” I nod.

“And one girl in my class came up to me and told me I looked like the ugly duckling from the book we were reading in class.” 

At first, I’m awestruck. Kindergarteners could be that brutal nowadays?  Then, I shake my head, “Don’t listen to that girl.” Turning Lexi towards the mirror, I crouch down beside her, squeeze her tight, and point to both our reflections.

“You should always love yourself no matter what. You are beautiful, Lexi. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

“Are you sure Mommy?” Lexi asks innocently. I wince at her words. Her self doubt and insecurity scares me. Had I not been a good enough mother? Had I not given her enough confidence? Even worse, had I influenced her in a negative way?

I look at her seriously, “Yes, honey. I am one hundred, no, a thousand percent sure that you are perfect just the way you are.”

Lexi smiles at me, “Thanks, Mommy. Love you.”


As Lexi comes down the stairs, I pour her favorite cereal, fruit loops, into a small plastic bowl that I’d grabbed from the kitchen cabinet. Opening the fridge, I grab a carton of two percent milk and add it to the cereal which floats to the top.

“Thanks, Mom.” she says as she sits down and takes her first bite of the fruity cereal. 

“Your welcome, dear.” I respond calmly. My eyes glance up at the clock hung on the kitchen wall. “You finish up your breakfast, Lexi. I’m going to go get ready.”

Lexi nods, too busy to respond as she slurps another spoonful of breakfast into her mouth.

I make my way up the stairs into my own bedroom where I open the dresser in search of something to wear. After scanning all of my options, I opt for a freshly ironed blazer and a pair of  jet black dress pants. 

Taking off my nightgown, I slip into the new clothes and brush my straight black hair behind my shoulders as I stare into the full body mirror in my own room. 

Looking myself up and down, the thoughts flood into my head. Immediately, I register every imperfection that I can find, not letting a single flaw escape my critique.

I noticed the faded circles under my eyes, shaded a dark hue, dark enough someone might have mistaken it for eyeshadow. Then, I noted how the suit I wore stuck tight to my body, tighter than it had a week ago when I last wore it. Turning my attention back to my face, I discerned the minute wrinkles that begin to make their way underneath my skin, ruining the young and youthful appearance I had once possessed. 

“Old, aged, and out of shape.” is all I manage to say to myself before I turn away from the mirror with a sigh. To my surprise, I find Lexi standing quietly at the front of my door, once again looking down at the ground. 

I freeze, unsure of what to do, what to say. Did she hear me? Did she see me staring at my own reflection in the mirror, critiquing my own appearance and body when I had just told her to love hers? What a hypocritical mother, I think.

“Lexi!” I exclaim, “When did you get here? I thought you were eating breakfast.”

She doesn’t meet my gaze, and her eyes remain glued to the carpet beneath her feet.

“I finished, Mommy. Can we go to school now? Today’s Fun Friday at school and Mrs.Lambert promised she would teach us origami in class.” Lexi says, looking up at me for a second before turning towards the stairs.

“Lexi,” I call, but she’s already down the stairs, putting her neon pink skechers on in a hurry.

I’m a terrible mother.


“What’s wrong, Jennifer?” My coworker, Alice, peeks over my cubicle as I type aggressively into my desktop, hitting the keys with twice the force. 

I glance up from my work with a sigh and look towards her. She’s wearing a casual blue blouse and a loose beige colored poncho over her shoulders. As usual, her hair is tied back in a neat ponytail, and her skin glows, cheeks a rosy shade of red. She wears almost no makeup at all, and yet I can’t detect a single flaw on her face. There are no wrinkles, no warts, no pimples. Nothing. 

What a lucky girl.

“Jennifer?” Alice asks again, leaning over the walls of the cubicle to put a hand on my shoulder. “Are you okay?”

I snap back into reality and give her a warm smile, “Yeah, I’m fine. Thank you for asking.”

Alice’s brows crinkle with worry, “Are you sure? You can tell me you know. I can help?”

Agh. She was so nice. She was just that kind of person you could tell all your secrets to. She was the kind of girl you could spill all your worries and troubles out to her and would still feel completely comfortable. She was just that kind of person, and I wasn’t. Figures. 

In the next second, I decide to invite her into my “office”, pulling a spare chair from under my desk. Setting aside my work, I take my own seat across from her and take a sip of the tea I’d left on the table, handing Alice a bottle of water in the process. 

“Thanks!” she says, crossing her right leg over her left, “So, what’s up?”

I hesitate at first, vacillating between whether I should tell her everything or not. 

“Well,” I rub my index finger along the rims of my mug, “You know I have a daughter right? She’s a kindergartener, rather petite. I brought her over to the office a couple of times.”

Alice nods, “Mhm, I remember. She was the cutest little thing.” 

This girl sure knows how to talk.

“Yeah, well today I caught her looking at her reflection in this full body mirror I installed in her wall a few weeks ago.” I continue, “I noticed that she was upset and asked what was wrong.”

When I pause, Alice asks, “What did she say?”

I sigh, “She told me some kids in school had called her ugly.”

Alice looks at me empathetically.

“I told her it wasn’t true. I told her that she was beautiful and that she should love herself for who she was.” 

“Well, I think you handled that perfectly Jennifer. You’re a great mother.” 

I shake my head, putting my head in both hands, “No, no, you don’t understand. I told her to love herself, but…” I groan.

Alice places a hand on my shoulder. “You don’t have to say if you don’t feel comfortable.” she says.

Taking a deep breath, I explain to her what happened. I tell her how Lexi caught me criticizing my own body and appearance. I tell her how disheartened Lexi had looked at me afterwards and how guilty I felt for being such a hypocritical mother.

“I told her that she was beautiful. I told her that she should love herself unconditionally, and yet, in the next second, I go and begin critiquing myself!” I run my hands through my hair, trying to clear my mind, “How can I expect my daughter to go out into the world feeling confident if I, as her mother, don’t even feel that way myself. Agh, I’m a horrible mother.”

Alice pats me on the back, as if soothing a distressed baby, “You’re not a horrible mother. We all have those moments, Jennifer. You can’t blame yourself for things like that.” 

“I just feel so awful inside. I’ve never had that sort of esteem that I wanted Lexi to build up, but that was so unfair of me. How can I expect her, a five year old, to do something, to be someone, I can’t even be.” I sigh, “I just wish I could be a better ro model for her.”

“You’ve done great. You’ve shown Lexi how much you love her and that’s what matters. A mother’s love can do great things. Not everyone has that infallible confidence and esteem and that’s totally okay. My mother is one of the most timid and reserved woman I know but that doesn’t mean she’s a horrible mother. She loves me, and I love her. That’s what counts.”

I smile at Alice. “Thanks. You sure know how to cheer people up.”

“Anytime.” she says, returning my smile with a warm grin.


I pull over the curbside, stopping slowly besides the bright neon orange cone placed on the concrete.

Lexi smiles and waves at me from the sidewalk and walks towards my car door. Her teacher stands besides her as usual, and I roll down the window to greet her.

“I hope you and Lexi have a wonderful rest of your day, Mrs.Wylie.” Mrs.Lambert says warmly, her voice like sweet smooth honey on my ears.

I unlock the back door of the cars and Lexi pulls it open, hoping in.

“Thank you, you too.” I say, trying my best to sound as welcoming as Mrs.Lambert had.

Lexi grins wide and holds what appears to be a folded paper crane in the air, “Origami was so fun today, Mrs.Lambert! I can’t wait for next Fun Friday!”

Lexi’s teacher returns her smile, “Me too, Lexi. You have a great weekend.”

Lexi nods as I start the car and begin driving away from the carpool stop. Once we’re a couple of blocks away from the school, Lexi sits back in her seat and puts on her seatbelt, listening to the click of the metal on the buckle.

My eyes glance at her in the rearview mirror, and I can’t find a trace of frustration or discomfort from earlier this morning. Noticing my eyes on her, she waves her paper crane in the air pridefully.

“Mommy! Mommy, look! We did origami in class today, and I made this paper crane all by myself.” her eyes are bright, and she smiles from ear to ear.

I can’t help but feel happy too, her giddiness rubbing off on me. “Well you seem really happy today. I guess origami did the trick.”

Lexi sets the paper bird on the seat next to her and shakes her head. “No, Mommy. It wasn’t really just the origami.”

I look up at the rearview mirror in surprise, “What do you mean, Lexi?”

“It was something Mrs.Lambert said. She’s the best teacher ever!” Lexi squeals.

I chuckle, “What did she say dear?”

“She told me I looked just like my mother.”

“Oh.” my eyes are glued on the road now, not daring to look in the mirror, at the reflection. “That’s nice of her, I guess.”

Lexi nods vigorously, “Yep. All those mean girls were definitely wrong.”

My eyebrows crinkle in slight confusion, “What do you mean?”

“Well you're the most beautiful Mommy ever. If I look just like you, there’s no way I’m ugly.”

My heart skips a beat, and a smile creeps up on my lips. 

“Mommy loves you so much. You know that?”

“I love you more.”

July 09, 2021 16:30

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Pahani Wijeratne
17:46 Jul 15, 2021

Hey there! 🌼 Oh my goodness. This is seriously the sweetest story ever. First of all, I love love the inseparable bond between the mother, and the daughter. When the adorable daughter said, “Well you're the most beautiful Mommy ever. If I look just like you, there’s no way I’m ugly.” My heart really skipped a beat; how delightful and pleasant can a story truly get! I just want to tell you that this story is really amazing and heartwarming. Thank you very much, and I hope you have a splendid day! Cheerios ✨🌷


Eve Y
19:58 Jul 15, 2021

Thank you!! I had so much fun writing and developing the story, so I'm really glad you like it! I hope to write more, and I hope you do the same! Have a great day! Can't wait to read more of your stories as well.


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Eve Y
14:01 Jul 15, 2021

This one took me a while to write, but I managed to finish it. I tried to incorporate the prompt in a more subtle way. Hope you enjoy!


Pahani Wijeratne
17:49 Jul 15, 2021

I really appreciate this wonderful story! Thank you for the time and effort you took to write this incredible read 😊. It is a really lovely story. 🌺


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