As Mother’s Day approaches and my story was recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul’s My Amazing Mom Mother’s Day book, I am contemplating what kind of mother I want to be for my daughter.
As with any relationship, the mother-daughter connection ebbs and flows throughout life. There are mountains… and valleys.
Looking back on my relationship with my mother throughout my life, there were times when we spent every spare moment together. We went to concerts, traveled, and hung out together often.
Right now, I am a mother of two myself. Between cooking, cleaning, and caring for two little ones, my time is stretched thin. I hardly have time for a text or phone call, let along face-to-face interaction. I’m finding it difficult to keep up with friends (and family!). As much as I want to, there just isn’t that much time left over to spend with my own mother.
We are sort of in a valley.
It’s ok to be in the valley. Because I know that someday my kids will be older, life will slow down, and I will find myself with more time on my hands. And, I will be able to re-connect with my mother.
As moms, we understand how it is with young kids. I’m sure my mother smiles when I quickly hang the phone up on her because my toddler is dumping bathwater all over the bathroom floor or has decided to open all of the markers and color all over her body right before we’re about to leave the house.
She smiles because she remembers those moments with me. It’s funny how life comes full circle.
When my daughter was born. I often cried (and sometimes still do) because I wanted something special for our mother-daughter relationship. I wanted something that would last a lifetime.
The intense love and special connection you feel with a daughter are unmatched. A daughter is your best friend forever.
Mother’s Day is coming up and, as a new mom, this time of year makes me think about what kind of mother I want to be for my daughter. Both now and as she grows into the beautiful woman she will become.
They say that it’s easier to focus on who you want to become rather than what you don’t want to do. So, here’s the kind of mother that I want to be.
I want to listen
Listening involves hearing a person’s heart, not just their words. I don’t want to mindlessly respond when my daughter is talking. Nor do I want to interrupt her to get my point across.
I want to be able to have heartfelt conversations with her where we talk about our dreams, hopes, opinions, and likes or dislikes. Without getting angry when we disagree.
Communication can be hard, and we may face challenges, but I hope that we can forgive quickly, keep no record of wrongs, and love. Always love.
I want to be a safe place.
I see this often in parents of adult children—offering unsolicited advice. When your little baby suddenly becomes your peer, you move from the authority figure to a friend. And sometimes the lines get blurred.
Parents who can no longer tell their kid what not to do suddenly try to control their adult child’s behavior through manipulation. It’s not pretty. And it can distance your child.
You wouldn’t manipulate your friend, so why try to manipulate your adult child? It doesn’t work.
Instead, I want to be a safe place for my children as they become adults. A place where they can come to me and talk about their problems, and I’ll simply listen.
I’m sure once I reach that phase of life it will be difficult to listen without offering advice unless it’s requested. But I will try.
I don’t claim to know it all, so why try to fix problems that my children need to learn how to solve on their own? When they solve problems on their own, they become empowered and feel proud of themselves which develops their emotional intelligence. All good things that we want for our kids.
I want her to know she is free to be herself.
I do not want to manipulate or control her. I don’t want her to think exactly the way that I think. Or to be exactly how I am. I see in her some similarities in my personality, but I often tell her
“You don’t have to be like Mom. You are your own person!”
My whole life I felt like I grew up in my mother’s shadow. This was my own perception and not my mother’s fault. She probably couldn’t have done anything to help me feel any different.
But I don’t want my daughter to feel like she has to be me. She is so beautiful and unique. I wouldn’t want her any other way.
I want to be real with her.
Perfection is a mirage. Nobody’s perfect. And, everyone messes up and has regrets. I hope that I can be real with my daughter as she grows up, apologize when I’ve done wrong, and show her that you can be authentic with the world around you. Part of being your beautiful self is being vulnerable. It can be hard, but it’s so worth it.
I want to have fun with her.
Right now, my daughter will waltz into my room and say “Mom let’s play! Come on! Together!” As we play dollhouse or talk and make silly faces together, she will giggle and laugh at the best things. She has the best belly laugh! I love her sense of humor.
When she is older, I hope that we can still find fun things to do with each other and laugh at things together. Sure, she’ll outgrow the dollhouse. We all grow and change over time. But I hope that as she gets older that we can find fun things to do together that we both enjoy. I’m excited to see how her interests develop.
This Mom Life
Life as a mom can be hard. We’re exhausted trying to keep our little ones alive and healthy and on top of that, we want to raise them to be good people with kind hearts, make good choices, and play and have fun with them.
Let’s face it, the mother-daughter dynamic can be difficult to navigate. But, I hope to keep this list in front of me and on my mind as I’m in the trenches of motherhood every day. Sure, I’ll mess up, but I hope that my kids can forgive me and that we can work towards connection and maintaining good relationships throughout our lives.
As for my relationship with my mom, I have hope. There is always hope. I believe that we can someday start a brand new (and improved) relationship.
We won’t be in the valley forever.
While I am spending less time with my mother, it is fun to watch her spend time playing and connecting with her grandkids. There are new relationships in our family, and it’s a challenge. But it’s also a learning opportunity.
As our family grows, I’m sure that we will figure out new and different ways to connect and show love to one another. It is going to look different, but it is also beautiful.
Ok here comes the shameless plug. This is NOT an affiliate link and I will not be reimbursed if you buy this book.
But, my story was published in this book and it really is a great read (the entire book, not just my story). I started reading this book and maybe it was the postpartum hormones raging in my body or the exhaustion I live with every day, but I couldn’t stop crying for fifteen minutes.
The stories in this book are so moving and so well written. I am honored that my story is a part of this community of Chicken Soup for the Soul writers who wanted to honor the Mothers in their lives.
My story, “Clarity in the Fog,” is about my grandma (my “granny” as I called her) who passed away eight years ago. Before she died, I had a moment with her that forever changed the course of my life and saved me from making a disastrous decision. Even though she had Alzheimer’s, she was able to give me advice in a way that no one else could. I am forever grateful and am happy that her memory will live on through this story.
If you’re like me and your relationship with your mom is in a valley, then skip the insincere card. Perhaps this book will make the perfect Mother’s Day Gift this year.
What are you getting the momma in your life for Mother’s Day this year?