Last year, my oldest daughter and I were asked to be a part of a workshop at our church, speaking about adult daughters and their mother’s relationships. We had made a list and examined our strengths as well as our, ahem, weaknesses. I knew from experience that mother-daughter relationships can be both complex and diverse.
There are many ups and downs, no matter how positive, or complicated and trying the relationship. Psychologists say daughter’s primary complaints are that mothers try to baby them being overly critical and demanding. From mom’s perspective, daughters don’t listen to them, make poor choices and have zero time for them.
I did not find this teaching comfortable or an easy topic. There are many challenges in parenting and this thing called “motherhood” hit me between the eyes at an early age. My mom raised me pretty much as a single mom, as she never married after she and my dad split. She had common law relationships–I can think of three–and I was pretty much left on my own. So yeah, I was neglected and raised myself. Matter of fact, our roles were reversed and so, I’ve always felt that my childhood was taken from me!
I left home early and married very young. I had my first child at the age of 17, and by the time I was 22, I had my 4th. Ironically enough, I did a lot of the same mistakes in parenting as my own mother. I wrote about my personal journey as a daughter, wife and mother. You can say I was a real hot mess back then. In retrospect, I thank God that He rescued me from myself! Now that my children are adults – I can think of a lot of things that I did wrong and regret in my own role. But nothing worthwhile comes easy; at least it never did for me!
In every challenge there are defeats and triumphs – and all of us have some scars along the way.
Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
I am familiar with the power struggles, the pet peeves, and the miscommunications.
What I see in my daughter(s), the good, the bad, and the ugly – I sometimes see a reflection of myself. Oh! Those flaws! Clearly, I may not always liked what I see … or hear. But you know what? We’re on the same team – we love each other, and we are there for one another.
Jer 31:16: Thus says the LORD, “Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD, “And they will return from the land of the enemy.”
I can’t stress how I prayed, interceded and wept for my wayward child (children). But as a mother – that’s what we do! We don’t give up and we don’t let up until we have God’s peace. Know that it’ll be in His time frame, not necessarily in ours. And when God does it, it’ll be a sure work. He’ll leave nothing undone.
HOW CAN WE BE STRONGER TOGETHER?
Here are a few golden nuggets from my own firstborn’s perspective:
Everybody knows that TWO heads are better than ONE. In Girl scouts and in the 4H Club, you learn that three strands of string make a strong rope. To play harmony on a piano, you play with two or more notes. And as you know, you won’t find a giant redwood tree standing alone!
- Teaching by example, learning by experience, in values and in skills – all help us become stronger together.
- Spending quality time with one another binds us stronger together as a family; i.e., meal times and outings.
- Appreciating each other – showing love and affection.
- Sharing a laugh builds us up – laughter is good medicine.
- Sharing in responsibilities, accomplishing tasks together.
- Stand by each other in times of trouble, uniting and pulling together when things get tough… when we encourage each other, we are stronger together.
Most importantly … when we learn to forgive each other, being opened and honest, yet KIND, we become stronger. Remember: attack the problem, not each other.
We encourage each other, consult with each other, spend time with each other, learn and grow from each other. No matter what the circumstances, despite feelings, perspectives, weaknesses and “bumps” along the way, when we face life together, find God together, pray together … all of these acts and then some, we can get through it and be stronger together!
My daughter(s) and I have come a long way.
Ps 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Here are my own acronyms for MOTHER & DAUGHTER:
M ake the first move
O mit malice
T hink before responding
H ave realistic expectations
E xtend grace
R epair damage quickly
D are to forgive offenses
A gree to disagree
U nity is better than division
G ather your words with prayer
H old unto hope
T alk about ways to communicate
E mbrace change for the better
R espect each other
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
And by the way, I also have an adorable son close to my hip! God is good!