A Message For Moms From Their Daughters

 

 

Exposed Shutter Photography


Over the years, as I have worked with high school students in a variety of roles, I have become a sounding board and listening ear for many young women. I’ve always had a heart for kids, especially those going through hard times and in need of someone to listen, support and encourage them. As I listen, I am often disheartened and occasionally outraged at the stories many tell. Sadly, yet understandably, these girls do not feel comfortable sharing their feelings with their mothers. As a way to get their message out, I am sharing what they have told me they wish their mothers understood, from their point of view.

Photo courtesy of JChessma

I want to be the sister, not the sitter.

We are Not Your On-Call Babysitters: Don’t get us wrong, we love our brothers and sisters. We understand that being a family means working together and helping out, and for the most part we are happy to take care of our siblings from time to time. However it is not our job to feed, dress, bathe and otherwise parent our brothers and sisters while you are out partying with friends or caught up in your own interests. Saying you are going to “run a few errands” and then disappearing until two in the morning is not okay. We are young. This is our time to get to try out clubs, hobbies and activities instead of always having to be the mom. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of babysitting, we aren’t YOUR babysitter either. Do you know how embarrassing it is to be with friends and get a call that you have to pick up your mom because she went out with friends and got too drunk to drive home, again? It’s tough enough taking care of children all the time, let alone taking care of a grown woman who is acting like a child.

We are Not Your Best Friend/Confidante: We get it. We’ve seen Gilmore Girls reruns. We love that Lorelai and Rory have this cool friendish dynamic to their relationship. In real life, it isn’t that cool to hear all about your mom’s personal life. For our moms who are married, we don’t want to hear all about your fights with our dads, or worse, about the private time you and dad spend together. Gross. It’s called oversharing. Same goes for our single moms. We don’t need to hear about how our dads are deadbeats or jerks. Whatever they may have done to you, they are still our dads.   If you’ve decided to go out into the dating world and open yourself up to new experiences, that’s your prerogative, but we don’t need to hear about it, and we aren’t the ones to go to for relationship advice. You have friends for that, and if you don’t you need to find some. Also, we don’t need to meet every guy you go out with. Some of you have a revolving-door thing going on and it is not a fun surprise to wake up to yet another random guy sitting at the breakfast table, or worse, sneaking out of your room in the morning. We need boundaries.

Photo courtesy of Mike Baird

What do we want? We want our moms to be moms. Meaning, we want to be able to lean on you when we are feeling stressed, instead of having to be your rock every time you fall apart. We want to spend time with our brothers and sisters, but still have freedom to go out and have fun and be kids ourselves. We want to know that when we are talking to you, you are really listening, not just nodding and offering platitudes while checking your text messages or updating your Facebook status. As much as we tell you we want our freedom and independence, we still want to know that you care about us enough to put down boundaries and consequences when we need them. Giving us free reign isn’t really as cool as you might think. Finally, we want to know that you love us unconditionally, not just for what we can do for you. Having you be present in our lives in a real way, instead of managing us while you go off doing your own thing, is one of the best gifts you can give us.

Fortunately, most moms are not like this. However, over the years, I have heard from more and more young ladies going through these or other experiences with their moms. As a mom myself, I know it is important for us to have our own identities beyond ‘wife’ or ‘mother’. We do need to have some friends, hobbies, interests and passions of our own that extend beyond our children. If we make our children our sole focus and purpose for being, we are in for a world of pain when they grow up and leave home. However, we need to find a balance, and keep in mind that we only have our children for a short time. All too soon they will grow up and go out into the world and we will have all sorts of time to do our own thing. While they are still young enough to listen to us and seek out our advice, we need to make sure that the message we give our daughters is one we want them to receive.