Our family has a cherished digital picture frame we received as a gift. Watching the evolving photos is like taking a daily trip down memory lane. Events that feel like yesterday.... actually occurred years ago. I didn’t realize how much I’d love it. When I see all the streaming photos though, time feels fleeting.
The days are long but the years are short. Occasionally, I’ll feel a sense of panic that time is moving too quickly. My kids are growing up too fast. My type-A personality likes to have control and it’s something I don’t have control over... this thing called time. I often feels like it’s spiraling, like it’s something I want to stop, savor and hang on to.
The digital picture frame is a real-life-breathing-family-memory box. It’s also a huge reminder to be present, mindful and live in the moment each day as it occurs. Because one day, in the not so distant future, they won’t be here anymore.
In the work I do, recognizing female rivalry and overcoming it, I’m often asked for advice by moms regarding their teen daughters. There are typical things like girl drama, puberty and adolescent behaviors. Sometimes though, the girls drama escalates. I’ve seen first-hand how hard it is to watch your daughter experience exclusion and mean girl behaviors. You want to dive in, fix it and make it all better.
Is that, however, the best thing to do to help her grow, learn, and mature, to be a self-advocate and accelerate into her own adulthood path? Sure an intervention from a parent is absolutely, often warranted. But typically, on a daily basis? Nope, not so much. It’s the right path mama, if you don’t want her to have her own voice. I’ve seen this happen first-hand, and there are no winners in this equation.
So what’s the best thing to do to help your daughter steer this obstacle course of life, yet at the same time, give her the ability to find her own voice? There is of course no ‘one-size fits all occurrences.’ But there are definitely some things you can do to help. (Forgive me for not giving credit where credit’s due but someone said something, that totally resonated with me about this particular topic...).
Be like a plant.
Stand in the corner. Observe. Be still. Listen. Breathe. Be available and present but not so available that you’re smothering. Be a good role model. But don’t always solicit advice. Let her know you’re always there but also read the cues to know when she’s open (or not) to talk. Pick your battles knowing not every battle is worth a fight. In the stillness of just being there, she knows you’re there.
Have an open mindset to also learn from her.
One minute my daughter can be angsty and wants nothing to do with me. 10 minutes later she’s happy as a clam and showing me a cute outfit or asking my opinion about something. She doesn’t hold a grudge. Using her an example, I could be better at this.
Don’t get overly involved with teenage girl drama, especially with other moms. Often the girls forget and move on, but the moms... Yep, they always remember. I’ve seen more adult friendships changed by the actions of being-over-involved moms than I can count on one hand.
Your daughter is growing and changing, daily. This tumultuous time where she’s no longer a child and not quite an adult, is difficult to maneuver. Making decisions for her versus her making her own may seem helpful, because sometimes it just feels easier to take care of everything. But in the long run, trust me dear mama, that doesn’t help or empower her to be her own best person.
“The Process of Growing Up: I see children as kites. You spend years trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you’re both breathless.... they crash... they hit the rooftop.... you patch, comfort, and assure them that someday they will fly.
Finally they’re airborne: They need more string and you keep letting it out, but with each twist of the ball of twine, there’s a sadness that goes with the job. The kite becomes more distant and you know it won’t be long before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that binds you together and will soar as it’s meant to soar free and alone. Only then do you know that you did your job.” -Birth Record, June 1987
Millions of families will celebrate their mom’s this weekend. The upcoming holiday has me reflecting about the process and stages of life... How every corner and turn means embracing growth and change. Sometimes too, it involves letting go.
Fully entrenched in the Middle School years, we’re not quite there yet in my house... But I can see it. I see two kites fluttering and beginning to soar in the wind. Their beautiful colors vibrant, full of life and ready to fly. It’s not always easy, but it’s as it’s should be.
An ode to motherhood, means embracing the process of growing. Not just for my children, but for me too.
You already are. It’s time TO BE.♥️
P.S. Stay tuned for my next blog out in later this month about.