Friday, 4 September 2015

mother and daughter bonding time

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au
Nothing like spending time together (with the grandkitten) 
Mother and daughter bonding time is how my daughter and I refer to those hours (or days if I'm lucky) when we get to spend time together just hanging out and enjoying each other's company. We spent last weekend catching up on news and just sharing a laugh or a memory or two and that is really special to me - and to her too.

I've read many articles on mothers and daughters who are "best friends" and personally, I think that is a little bit sad. When your child is a teenager they don't need you to be their friend, they need you to be their mum - the person who is older and wiser and who encourages them to make good decisions and not go with the crowd. Why would I put all the pressure of being best buddies on her when there will be times when I'll make decisions she doesn't like? Why would I put pressure on myself to be some cool, hip teenage impersonator when I am a grown woman who has better things to do with my time? (Although that doesn't preclude moments of silliness which good parenting can still encompass - like stick on tattoos from Christmas crackers!)

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au
sharing fake tattoos for Christmas with 
Erin and my niece

Then there is a transition period when your daughter goes from being a relatively carefree teen to being a young woman and that is a time when she needs a mum to balance out all the stuff that is happening in her world. I remember Erin saying to me that she "was going to die alone with her cat" as she watched all her friends hooking up with boys while she had broken up with her boyfriend and didn't see anyone remotely hopeful on the horizon. That's where being the sane voice of reason is so much more valuable than being the best friend who suggests going out and partying to drown her sorrows. I know some mums would disagree, but this is my blog so I stand on the opinion that you can have fun and enjoy each other's company but you don't have to be her best friend to accomplish that.

Fast forward to now and Erin is 26, happily married to the young man who she thought would never come along (surprisingly her sane mother's advice to "hang in there and not give up hope" proved to be reliable.) There was never a moment when she felt guilty leaving me behind when she met and fell in love with Luke. There was no hand wringing on my part and no questioning how I was going to cope without her constant attention. Instead, she could focus on what was important - getting a good job, getting married, setting up a home, maintaining old friendships and starting new ones. We didn't need to reinvent our relationship because I was still her mother and she was still my daughter..... although I will admit to a little heartache as we adjusted the boundaries and I needed to step back a little and keep my advice to myself!

Now we have less frequent mother and daughter bonding times, but when they happen they are fun and relaxed and we "get each other" without having to try hard. Her world is so much larger than it used to be and it's nice to know that I am a part of it but not the most important part. We can shop together, go to a movie together, eat takeaway out of the box together and then go back to our own worlds knowing that we are secure in the relationship we have - no trying to stay young for me and no trying to include me in everything for her - just a happy medium - which is the way it should be (in my humble opinion!) And, maybe when I'm old she will still take me shopping but it might look a little different - perhaps like the mother and daughter in the picture below....

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au


29 comments:

  1. A lovely post Leanne, your daughter is lucky to have you and visa versa.
    Kathleen
    Fridays Blog Booster Party #22

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    1. thanks Kathleen - children can certainly be a blessing to us as we get older!

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  2. I'm with you on this. I was never my daughter's best friend, we were always mother and daughter, and our relationship grows every day, she is certainly a blessing in my life as are my 3 boys. :) Great post. Thanks for stopping by my place!

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    1. My pleasure - I definitely think daughters are a blessing to us as we grow older together. Boys are great but it's a different type of relationship.

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  3. Beautiful post, Leanne. And I second your thoughts. I am not best friends with my Mom. But she is my guide, someone who I look upto.

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    1. thanks so much - nice to hear it from the other side of the coin - I think it makes for strong young women when you are your own person and not your mum's clone.

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  4. Lovely post. I've never been my daughter's best friend but the times we share are beyond precious!

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    1. I so agree Jennifer - I think it's better than a best friends relationship in a lot of ways!

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  5. So much wisdom here. Great post. My daughter is 39. I'd say we are pretty darned good friends. But, we have our own worlds. I give advice, cautiously, when asked. There's so many more variables in play when adult children ask for advice. it's not as simple as "should I go to the prom alone?"

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    1. So true Adela - I love the word "cautiously" because you don't want it to come back to bite you. But it's nice that they respect our opinion enough to ask for it on occasion!

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  6. I agree Leanne! So many parents do this to their children and I don't think it's fair at all. My daughter and I are very close, but I am mom. I'm not her buddy or her friend. I am someone she can always come to to ask for help or advice or to just be a shoulder to cry on. She has enough friends.

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    1. My sentiments exactly Rena - the mother/daughter bond is such a special one, why would you want to dumb it down to a girly friendship only? And I never want to compete with her either - that's never healthy.

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  7. I have two daughters also and enjoy the rare times when we three can be together. I agree that you can be close, but not best friends. Your job is to be a Mom.

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    1. Yes! they only have one mum and why would you swap that for anything?

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  8. Love these words so much. You are exactly right, I didn't need a mum to be my best friend. I needed a mum to guide me & be the same voice. I'm in my mid 30's & I still talk to my mommy almost every day. I'm still learning from her. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful honest piece!

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    1. My pleasure Rachel - my daughter often rings me while she drives home from work (I love blue tooth and modern cars!) and it is so special to be close - thanks for giving the daughter's side of the story :)

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  9. I'm the mother of 2 sons, but I'm one of my mother's 3 daughters. She's now 90. When ever I confide to her that I'm worried about one of my adult sons, she says, "You know, you never stop being the mother." Even though there are some situations now when I feel as though our roles are reversed, that I'm taking care of her, instead of the other way around, I know where to go when I need unconditional positive regard----because, you know, she never stops being my mother.

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    1. That's so true Suzanne - friendships come and go, but if you do it right then the mother/daughter bond lasts a lifetime :)

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  10. Lovely post-Leanne and good that you have a lovely relationship with your mom. I realized my mom's importance better when i had kids. This is the stage when I really needed her advice.

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    1. thanks Mahathi - I think mothers and daughters and their relationships are very special.

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  11. Lovely post Leanne...made me miss my mum a bit. :) I do agree that as teens/kids, mums and daughters can't be friends. I think there are lots of issues if they say they are...it kinda means the kid is not being parented. Lovely to see the relationship between you and your daughter. And such a cute kitten! :D

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    1. Thanks Sanch - I agree that being friends too early with your child deprives them of the chance to be carefree and to know they have someone looking over them. It's nice to gradually change the relationship as you get older, but to still have the mum/daughter role at its heart.

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  12. How lovely, Leanne. I agree with you that mothers and daughters aren't friends - I think people get confused at times! I have a strange relationship with my own mother - I thought we were closer than we really are. I've had some healing to do with regards to our relationship and I find that I'm not alone in this. Many mothers and daughters have a hard time working out this relationsihp and it's perfectly fine for me to say mine has not been great. TMI?

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    1. I totally agree Corinne, my mum and I have spent a lot of time finding some balance in our relationship. There was quite a bit of underlying resentment from my teens that I've had to deal with (and her selfishness) but you gradually work through it and I make every effort not to pass that same mess on to my own children!

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  13. Dear Leanne,
    It's been a while since I paid you a visit (I'm about to finally lunch that all-consuming app:) and am happy to discover that nothing has changed. You still write amazing, inspirational stuff, have tones of comments under each of your posts (something I aspire too but I guess it doesn't happen overnight), all these ladies loving your writing and sharing their stories! But yes, back to the article, I agree with you on the idea that sometimes we just have to be moms without being BFFs. I already see it with my 9year old daughter. As much as I don't want it sometimes I have to be the mom in the relationship. Hopefully it's all for good. Loved the article!!!!
    Abby

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  14. Hi Abby - you are a joy and I'm so impressed with you making an app (I'm just way behind in that level of technical expertise!) Keep being a mum to your 9yr old and before you know it she'll be the same age as my girl and you'll have a bond that is amazing! Glad you're back in the blogosphere again xx

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  15. Thanks for the visit to my site Leann. I can so relate to your thoughts here. What a thought provoking and heartfelt post. I know the dynamic can be different with mother and son. I am very close with my mother. We have difficulties at time with the boundaries. Being the oldest; I believe we have a special bond. I was just telling her last week that I miss our mother/son lunches and we need to do it again soon! My mother is truly a special woman of God. I am thankful to be her son! Thank you again for sharing. Have a blessed week!

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    1. thanks for stopping by Horace - your mum is very lucky to have you. Sons often maintain distance from their mothers, so it's nice to see someone who appreciates and cares for their mum.

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  16. Thank you for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!

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