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Raising Your Growing Daughter {A Mother/Daughter Relationship Untold}

I laid in my bed as tears streamed down my face after coming home from the ultra-sound.  A daughter.  I was having a daughter.  I didn't want one.  I wanted a boy.  Coming from a family of 7 brothers, I knew what to do with them.  I knew how to play with them.  I new how to talk to them.  A daughter was what I didn't know.  Really, in truth, I was afraid she would be just like me.  Afraid that my mother's curse when I was being difficult that "you'll have a daughter just like you," would come true. 

But then she came-- and my life was forever changed for the better.  Princesses and vivid fairy imaginations dotted my world, and I now have a nine-year old beauty with a gentle heart.  She is my daughter, and I am her mother, but our relationship still  manages to prick at my soul.  It often brings to the front all my wants and desires and hopes and fears. II wonder... am I doing this right?  Am I building her self-esteem enough?  Am I molding her into a woman with courage and charity? Am I making her better than me?

I hope I hope I hope I hope.

But despite my feelings of inadequacy and through some serious trial and error, I have come to some basic conclusions and ideas on how to help mold a mother-daughter relationship into one that can both survive and thrive.
  • Mommy-daughter date nights.  My husband and I do this with both our children and although I think she treasures the times out with him more, there is something to be said about that one-on-one time that I have with her.  We talk, we window shop, we laugh and we buy chocolate to share.  It is during these moments that I find out about the bad day at school, and how I can then comfort and lift up her spirits by knowing. It gives us the opportunity of a time-out to really talk and listen, which helps tremendously when life is rushed with easy distractions.
  • Physical touch (aka snuggling).  This was much MUCH easier to do when she was younger.  It is a natural instict of mine to wrap my arms around babies and toddlers, but I have found as they get older that sometimes snuggling together can be well...awkward.  My daughter is tall and growing and hard for me to hold or feel that need to hold.  But she desires it, and as hard as it can be sometimes, I make sure she receives lots of hugs and snuggle time to ensure that the affection between us does not fade regardless of her age.
  • Building her self-esteem the right way.  I have mentally and spiritually moaned and groaned about this one over the years, but I always come back to one point.  Children (and I believe girls in particular) learn through example.  If I am a mother who complains about my body image or my lack-ofs, then she will do the same.  However, if she instead sees me as a woman who exercises and eats well to be healthy rather than skinny (and says it that way), then she will desire the same thing.  There is a poem that I heard which reflects perfectly on this.  The end of the poem talks about how she will never call her daughter "pretty" because that word cannot even begin to describe all that she is.  Instead she will tell her daughter that she is pretty amazing, pretty creative, pretty intelligent.
  • Remember. 
  • Oh-- one last thing-- I try to tell her often, "One day, I hope you have a daughter just like you."
The older she gets, the harder my job as her mother seems to become.  But by remembering who I am and who SHE is--both daughters of God-- I continue to learn and grow as I raise her lively spirit.

~ iamwoman

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