I’ve noticed a common theme in blogs recently- Moms upset that their teenage daughters are pulling away from them.  I guess it’s the season: it’s the second half of the school year, kids are getting closer to the next grade, the next school, the next milestone.  Moving up and moving on is right in the crosshairs…Mom’s are in the rearview mirror, waving and running towards the car, tears in their eyes….

What happened to my baby?  The words to “Sunrise, Sunset” purr through the mind.  When did I lose my daughter?

Well, to be fair, you started to lose your child pretty much after they were born.  From the moment they breathe air and the umbilical cord is cut, your daughter is striving for independence.  (This goes for non biological kids too, the umbilical cord is metaphorical)

I know this firsthand.  I have a daughter who is 16, and a Junior in High School.  She will be leaving the nest in August 2019, possibly forever. (It better be forever.  There is an elliptical trainer that is going to look great in that room)

I’m not a therapist, nor do I have any training in this area.  I’m just going to throw some common sense and logic out at you.

Everyone wants to forge their own identity.  Everyone wants to do things their way.

Is this bad?

No.  Of course not.  Your goal as a parent is to make your child into a fully functioning adult.

Your goal is to make sure they can survive on their own.

Your goal is to make sure they see the opportunities that lie before them, and to go for what they want.  A little bit of Carpe Diem.

Though as a parent, I get the whole thought, “Can’t you Carpe  that Diem tomorrow?  Can’t you just sit with me and be my baby just one more day?”

But ask yourself- am I being fair to my daughter?  Is this the best path for her?

Here’s the anecdote- I know you were sitting with baited breath, waiting to hear what actually happens in my house…

A few years ago, I would look at the weekend calendar and automatically include my daughter in the plans.  As of 9th grade- well, her being around just wasn’t an option anymore.  I had to say to her- “What’s on your agenda?”  I would ask, “can you fit in family/Mommy time?”  (I will also add that I have a strict 3 family meals per week rule- but this is actually more for my husband, and this has been a rule forever.  No one crosses me on this)

I would ask her.  I did not assume, nor force her to spend time with me on the weekends.  You can disagree with me- everyone has their own rules for how their household is run. But I felt that she was old enough to learn/know how to manage her own time.  I know how much homework she has.  I know how many activities she juggles, and how much time she devotes to these.

I’m OK with her figuring out her path.

I know she still loves me, even if we don’t have an activity planned.

But, I have found (and this is me- I can’t vouch for it working anywhere else) that my daughter tries to find a little bit of time for me.

She has been very crazed lately- burning the candle on three ends.  Last week I said to her “I feel like we’re ships passing in the night and I miss you.  Can we play this weekend?”

I asked.  I told her the truth about how I felt.  Her response?

“Sure Mommy.  We can get lunch after my SAT class on Sunday.”

Which we did.  I found a little French café that has this amazing hot chocolate selection, and yummy crepes.  The décor was porcelain tea cups and wrought iron tables, the display case showcasing opera cakes and lemon meringue tarts.  The air smelled like chocolate- did I forget to mention it’s also a chocolate shop?  I knew we had an hour- I wanted to make sure the event was special- because I can’t take for granted the time I get to spend with her.

I don’t have a great relationship with my Mom.  I am trying to forge a different path with my Daughter.  I saw the mistakes my Mother made, and I’m trying not to make the same ones with my kid.  It’s a very fine line, trying to have a nice relationship with your adult daughter.  Right now, I’m still the parent- I need to speak to her as a parent.  But, I’m also learning to speak to my daughter as a woman and as an almost adult. (FYI- this is where my Mother made her biggest mistake- she has still not learned to talk to me, not at me- but that’s a whole series of blogs)

So Moms- accept that your daughters are growing up and away from you.  Figure out how to make the new dynamic work for you.  Figure out how to maintain a positive relationship with you child, who isn’t really a child anymore.

Your daughter loves you.

They just need to find themselves and stand on their own.

 

 

72 thoughts on “Girl Talk

  1. The tween years show a bit of this…of what is coming, especially with girls. My girl is 10 and has one foot firmly planted in childhood, the other…boyohboy. There are some hormones brewing in that tiny girl… 🙂 There are days I really wish she could just pick one or the other…are you a kid? a tween, a teen…WHAT? lol

    But yes, it’s good to recall the days when I was 18 and off to University, and how much I wanted freedom, and this from a kid who was raised free-range, so to speak. My kids are much more helicoptered (chauffeured) due to all the sports they’re in, so it’s a bit different for them, but I know the day is coming, especially with my almost 13yo son.

    🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Your goal as a parent is to make your child into a fully functioning adult.”

    As I’ve mentioned before, I think we have the same mother. While she is happy that I’m an adult (I guess!), she still wants to act as if I’m 5 years old. I refuse to be that kind of mother to my girls. I don’t tell them what to do — I will give advice if asked, be there for support, etc., but they have to find their own way. Even when I travel 300 miles to visit them, I don’t expect to spend every waking moment with me. They have jobs. They have friends. They have their own lives. Do I sometimes wish they were still little? Only once in a while. I’m just proud of the women they are and are growing into.

    You’re doing EXACTLY the right thing, IMHO. Cherish all the times your daughter carves out for you. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree with you completely. It’s a rite of passage to pull away. We are the safe place against which our children can push to gain independence. Parents who tie their kids to them for life through guilt are doing a disservice to both parties. My empty nest syndrome was short-lived. I cried a tear or two when my kids went to college and then set about redecorating their rooms.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is so good. I was just having a conversation with a friend last night about her almost 24 year old son who still lives at home (he does work) but is eagerly desiring to move out and forge his own identity. My friend is having so much trouble with that. In her heart, she just can’t seem to let go. I try to tell her that he has to learn how to be an independent man and learn the skills that will be necessary to be a good husband and father one day. Granted, your daughter is much younger, but I think the principle is the same. Sounds like you are a good mom.

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  5. We are already telling our daughters that they have to go at least an hour away for college. And they are only 9 and 13. They have dreams of living in the big city someday. The oldest is fairly independent already, but does have fears that come with cooking…I tell her to move somewhere that has lots of restaurants that she can walk to. And that I won’t call her 3 times a day like my mother does with me (my mom only lives a mile down the road from me). My daughter had an unsure future when she was smaller, she was the sick kid, so while I will miss her terribly, I know that she has been given a second chance at life and while it’s always going to be scary for me and her dad to see her go…we want her to live.

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  6. I had to accept that after all the trials and tribulations, I did my job to the best of my ability and now the choices my kids(son and daughter) make are their own. I may not agree with them and quite frequently don’t but I gave them the tools it is up to them what to make with them. They still call, ask for advice or just to talk/rant and I am glad they feel okay with it. Yes, I miss the other times when they were little and I would sit with them reading their favorite book for the 100th time, but I treasure the adults they have become.

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  7. I too have always thought that as soon as the cord is cut, your children are slowly growing away from you. It is our job as parents to raise them to cope with life without us and if we’re lucky they grow closer to us the older they get. My daughters have all left home now yet they still want to spend time with me. We go out to lunch, shopping, cinema all sorts of things and we do it because we enjoy each other’s company. Christmas is always at my eldest daughter’s house as its large enough to hold us all (I also have grandchildren). I feel so blessed to have them in my life but that doesn’t mean their teenage years were all sweetness and light either, they were a complete nightmare at times, but now, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They sort of have to be a pain when they’re teenagers. They need to establish independence, and they can’t do that if they’re always doing exactly what we say and never forming their own opinions.

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  8. Guess what? They will never grow away from you. Not if you are lucky. They do become independent human beings, which was our goal as a parent. And most often that is harder for us to accept than for them. But, once they graduate college and start the work force, or have a family, you will see that Mom is always in their heart and suddenly they realize how wise and special we are.

    I can’t speak for raising daughters. I had two sons. But I am very close to my boys. ( I mean men.)
    I remember with the first one, looking into his bedroom some nights and thinking who the heck was that man sleeping in my little boy’s bed??? I cried like a baby when the first one left for college. He was self sufficient and amazing. But, at the time he was my only child and I had raised him as a single Mom and I was happy and heartbroken at the same time. I didn’t let him know that but I had a difficult time cutting the cord, even though he was following the path I set for him and he set for himself..

    I remarried and had another child at 40 and when he went off to college I felt less weepy but it still left a hole in my heart. He was so ready and it was a beautiful thing. It’s weird this motherhood thing. We nurture and raise children to gain all the skills they need to grow up to be wonderful adults , yet when it happens, a part of us feels proud and a part of us misses that little child who needed us.

    I guess that’s the circle of life ladies. And now I have my grandchildren who think Grandma is a total rock star right now. They are in first and second grade so coming to grandma’s house is the coolest. They too will one day grow up and I’ll have to deal with that too. Life is pretty great. And watching our children reach maturity is wonderful. But don’t kid yourself. It hurts too. Empty nest syndrome is real. It’s easier with the second child. But it is a mixed bowl of emotions. They grow up and we get to find ourselves again. And that is pretty awesome!!! Great post 50!!!

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  9. It’s the same with sons. Mine are grown now. but when they were growing, I always saw my job as “to make myself obsolete.” But to make sure that they still enjoy having me around. It worked pretty well. They grew up competent and as adults, they both seem to enjoy time with the old folks. I’m grateful.

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  10. Great post! Our youngest is just 21 and in May she will be coming back to live with us after being away at college for four years. She was only 1-1/2 hours away and we saw each other pretty regularly while she was studying but I know that she/we will need some adjusting to our new relationship once she moves back. I’m hoping we can pull back enough to let her have her own space without worrying too much when she decides at 10 o’clock at night that she wants to go out with friends! I think we made our goal of raising a fully functional adult for the most part.

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    1. That’s my biggest worry when they’re home …how do you adjust to kids that have lived by their own rules? The whole thing about when they go out,when they come home!! Crazy!

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  11. My favorite quote about being a parent is from W. Hodding Carter II: “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings.” Back when it seemed to be all “roots” I thought they might choke me to death. Then they spread their wings and I used up a truckload of Kleenex! We often think that it’s just our children who need to go through all those tumultuous changes, but we do too. You said it well!!

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  12. Brava!
    You are dead on this! It’s a tricky relationship to navigate no matter what. I love and admire the fact you’re fostering her independence and you’re not afraid to be honest with her. You were missing her and shared your feeling honestly, and without blame. And she met you where you were! Surely she’s experienced that from you.
    I miss those days of having my girls at home, but I’m also so amazed and proud of the women they’ve become. I wish you that same feeling in the times after August of 2019.
    I adored this post and thank you for sharing!

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  13. Excellent!! So well said, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. My daughter is 28, and she’s very independent. But she texts and calls me regularly, and doesn’t mind connecting with mom and dad. But much of the time she’s living her life. Doing her thing. Sometimes I miss her, but I realize that it’s better that she knows how to survive without me because she will need to one day.
    That chocolate/tea shop sounds incredible!!

    Oh…and my mom wasn’t the nurturing type AT ALL. Not even now. But when I consider how she was raised I can understand why. ) :

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thx!!

        Poor mom. My mom actually means well, but I don’t think she really knows how to be nurturing or loving, although I know she loves me. Her mom was really something. My grandmother. She had many wonderful qualities like compassion and empathy, etc. But nurturer? Nope.

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      2. It is tough. Sometimes I wonder how I survived it. But I’m so different. I’m all hugs and kisses. Very affectionate. But it wasn’t automatic. I had to learn it.

        I looked up MarieBelle. It looks FABULOUS! Reminds me a little of a place we have here in NC called Amelie’s. It’s a French bakery. I wish I’d known about MarieBelle. We just went to NY in December. 😔

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I know what you mean. I lived there all my life, born and raised, until 2003 and I didn’t know about a host of places. There’s just so much there. And honestly, when you live in a place sometimes you don’t realize how special it is until you leave it.

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  14. I agree with every word! And personally, I found that while my daughter grew up and became more independent, I never did actually “lose” her. Our relationship simply changed as she became an adult. We are more like equals now, most of the time anyway. There are still times she needs me to be the mom, and I’m happy to do that. But only when she lets me know that is what she needs from me. I tell friends who daughters are heading off to college that their relationship will be different, but not necessarily worse. In some says, it’s actually better!

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    1. I agree! We have to give our kids the room to figure out who they are….and I hope that I have a good relationship with her as she gets older. I have a fractured relationship with my mom, so I’m trying!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I think the fact that our daughters can stand and be independent shows they feel strong and have a solid foundation. I feel the hardest thing is watching them make mistakes but they have to learn life rules themselves. I also let my children manage their time, it works, mostly. Great post with comforting advice.

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  16. My 18-year-old niece asked me if I wanted to join her and my 16-year-old daughter for dinner the other night. I didn’t go, but I was thrilled to be invited. I give my children space, but sometimes it’s nice to be included. Your time with your daughter sounds like it was very special, and just what you both needed.

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    1. It is nice to be included, but you also have to understand when you’re not. It’s tough, because you’ve been the sun to a kid for years, and now you’re Pluto……

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