Today I’m pouring my heart into this online journal I call WordPress about mothers and daughters and about raising confident secure young women.
I also want to preface this post by saying I speak from my own personal experiences. I always had said I wished there was a handbook on how to be the perfect parent. There is no “perfect parent”. All we do is the best we can do with what we know. I get asked all the time about my relationship with my daughter, her success with her company, how she does what she does, so I thought I’d address it. I also want to preface this with this is MY story. I’m not an expert in parenting, but only know what I’ve experienced. Here is my story of mothers and daughters and how to create that healthy relationship that I’m so blessed to have.
Being an only child, I didn’t know what it was like to grow up in a house with multiple children. And being the daughter of immigrants means having extra strict parents that loved me and I loved back, but our relationship blossomed only as I became an adult. You remember the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding? It’s not TOTALLY like that (my dad didn’t bring men home for me to marry, however my grandfather DID do that for my mother!), but it has that level of old-fashioned-ness to it. I’m beyond close to my parents now, but in a different way than I am with my daughter.
I use that hashtag lots on my Instagram. In case you see
pictures selfies of us on social media, this will help give you an understanding in the background of our relationship.
It’s something I always admired and wanted growing up. When I looked at photos of mothers and daughters in magazines and how beautiful they looked together, one a younger version of the elder, I thought it was nothing more beautiful than that. Coupled with the strong bond, friendship, relationship, I knew that THAT was what I always wanted if I had a girl. (Boys are a completely different kind of lovie!) Thankful for some amazing cousins of mine who were beautiful role models for me, I always said to myself, when I grow up, I want my daughter and me to be like her and her daughter.
So, unknowingly, I made that dream a reality. I made that come true.
How did I create this (
mini me, monster of a child with a passion for fashion and the finer things) relationship? For one, my core and my soul always wanted this. It wasn’t something I made a list of what I needed to do, I just DID what I knew INSTINCTIVELY I HAD to do to make this happen. It would only be now, looking back retrospectively that I can see that this has been cultivated.
Looking back at my relationship with her, I think there are some key elements that helped foster and develop what we have today.
7 Parts to a Healthy Mother Daughter Relationship:
- I let her know from day one her value to me. When I was pregnant with my son, who came into this world three years after her, I wanted to let her know I could NOT have this baby without her help. I celebrated HER before I had him because after he’d show his little face, all the attention goes to the new cute baby. So I had a big sister party you can check out HERE. I let her know that she was invaluable to me. I’d need her to help me wash the baby, feed the baby, hold the baby, and of course nurture and love the baby. And I could NEVER do it without her. Right from the very beginning I wanted her to know that she wasn’t going to be any less to me nor have her place taken because of our new addition to the family. Being an only child, that was one thing I struggled with way before parent hood. How do I let the babies know they’re equally loved? I wanted to make sure there were no issues whatsoever. And I believe to this day, I’m over blessed to see my daughter and son love each other the way that they do and fight as little as they do. They have such a care for each other and thoughtfulness for each other I can’t explain.
- I let her know her opportunities and her dreams should be limitless. I also fed my belief in her INTO her so that she’d instill belief in herself. I also let her know that it takes hard work to get what you want. You can dream all you want. Blinking your eyes like a genie isn’t going to make things happen. But, anything CAN happen if you work hard and pursue your dreams, goals and passions.
- Our relationship is the judgement free zone. It’s not discipline free, it’s judgment free. Meaning I will love her unconditionally no matter what. She can ask me anything. Tell me anything. I won’t judge her. I will discipline her, and I’ll talk to her about what she does right and wrong, her experience, was it worth it or not, consequences, but judging I don’t. Grounded for things she shouldn’t do? Absolutely! HA! But the judgement is the thing that causes shame, and I don’t ever want her to feel shameful for anything she does. Her or my son.
- There are consequences for your choices. Your room smells? Hmmmm… I wonder why as you have all your stuff thrown everywhere and the door is always closed! HA! Sound familiar? Well, she knows she has consequences in all of her choices, and for that I let her make her mistakes she makes. I do so knowing that she will learn from her experiences which will empower her to make smarter and different choices the next time. I’ll guide her and tell her what I think she should or shouldn’t do. We have rules, some even more strict than most of her friends, but I don’t care. (I’m thinking curfew here! What could a 16 year old possibly do out SUPER late, after 11 11:30 that is OK? Not much!)
- We have fun together. Simple. That’s what makes our relationship so great. She definitely brings out the kid in me and we have a ball in everything we do. We enjoy each other, I let loose, which let’s her feel even more carefree. Do you know what we probably do the most of together? Dance! Yup. We dance all the time here at home. Isn’t that so silly crazy? But the result? A sister-hood that has the beauty of the love a mother and daughter share, which is like no other. We’re truly best friends, mother / daughter, even business partners. Who would’ve ever thought that!
- I encourage her, and at the same time she encourages me in ways I can’t even explain. And with that comes the utter truth, that I tell her straight up how everything is, I don’t sugar coat anything, and I let her know what’s what. Period.
- Bottom line, she knows I’m on her side. I think sometimes, especially when we say NO or in those great teen years, our kids think we’re against them. But truly isn’t it our goal to raise them to be kind, honorable, respectable humans to set free into the world as adults? Humans that are confident, secure and empowered and that have compassion and love for others and a sense of responsibility. For every NO I tell her, I let her know there’s a REASON why. Maybe NO she can’t go drive to this place because I am looking out for her safety. AHHHHH… ok mom is trying to PROTECT me. Do I owe her an explanation? No. I’m her mom. No means no. Period. No questions asked. However, when she hears my logic behind why no means no, she’ll understand. “Ok mom doesn’t want me to go jogging alone because there are some really shady people out there, and not long ago an adult woman was almost hit by a van while trying to be abducted… not far from us. Ok. She’s TRULY trying to protect me!” I don’t owe her an explanation. However giving one to her, 1. eliminates the fight, 2. gives her clarity so she sees my logic behind it. I’ve got her back. Meaning if I didn’t care about her, she would be able to come and go as she pleased without any protection and guidance. Our roles as parents are to protect and guide them. No one will have her back like myself and her dad. Unconditional love like no other.
Is this a complete list of how I parent? No. I don’t know if I can package it up in a concise blog post. But I can tell you this. I never knew how great this love could be, how close and fun and unimaginable this relationship of ours could be, and how thankful I am to be given this gift.