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.