2 Sep 2013

Mothers and Daughters… My Reflections

‘Mothers and daughters’ … What a statement. A reader asked me some time back for my thoughts on mothering daughters… I have been thinking about her question ever since… and so far, this is where I am…

Just writing those three words sends me into a frenzy of thoughts and emotions. How, as mothers, do we raise well balanced, happy and healthy girls? How do we equip them for a life in this troubled world? Growing up for me was simple… life was less complicated… I wasn’t… but life was. Digital media was pretty non existent and my thoughts never included such words as, ‘terrorism’ or ‘global financial crisis’. Life was less competitive… I grew up in a period of prosperity… I didn’t worry about finding jobs, finding love… finding my future… it happened… it was a given…

Raising daughters is different now. They grow up earlier and they are more sophisticated. They are exposed to so much that colours and influences their thoughts. They are ‘little women’ long before they should be. They live in a world of multiple choice… if only it were as easy as ticking the right boxes… but today, their options are infinite… I don’t envy them.  Finding their way and deciding on a path is an enormous stress. The world is their oyster but it is also a land mine; a navigational nightmare of decision making. Our daughters can try and have it all, they deserve it, but it won’t be without hardship and dilemma. Balancing a rich and full life today is a logistical challenge for even the most talented of women.

How do we prepare our daughters for their futures? How can we answer all their questions and solve all their problems? The truth is we can’t. We, as mothers, can only do what we can do. We can only do our best. Sometimes our best is better than best and sometimes it is not good enough… that is how mothering works. Mothering is a gamble… you hope and pray that your common sense and life experience will equip you to teach and nurture your children… Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. Raising children is the most difficult, strenuous and demanding job in the world… and we don’t even need a professional qualification for it… Mothers fall into this role willingly, lovingly and oftentimes with little thought… Mothering, the art of being a ‘good’ mother, takes time and can only be learnt on the job.

I believe the best way to teach our daughters is to be role models… to live our lives in a ways that they can respect and admire. Show them from the frontline… let them witness our self-confidence, our happiness and our commitment to a well balanced life. We must allow our daughters to be themselves, to be different… we must accept them for who they are and embrace their choices. We are not raising clones, we are raising individuals. Daughters must learn independence… Mothers need to understand how to ‘let go’. That must be one of the most excruciating parts of motherhood… the ‘letting go’. How many sleepless nights have you suffered because you have ‘let go’ ? I have lost count… Trusting our daughters is key… earning their trust and they ours. Sometimes the trust between a mother and a daughter is broken and it is an unpleasant place to come back from… but trust breeds security and personal security is the most soothing balm of all…

Listening to our daughters is key. I mean hearing them, really hearing them and making the time to understand what they are saying. Mothers often think that what their daughters say is ridiculous and silly, oftentimes it is, but if we don’t listen they will stop talking… and communication is paramount in relationships. As mothers we have to forgive our daughters their youthful mistakes, we need to embrace their naivety and accept that what might seem small to to us is monumental to them. Mothers need to remember that they were girls once… and that hindsight is not always helpful. As a mother, the-I-told-you-so-place is a trap… I have certainly fallen into that one… As a daughter I can honestly say that it is the most annoying response of all. I-told-you-so is a disastrous fall back position and one to be avoided at all times… We mothers are human after all… so we must allow ourselves some leeway…

Mothers and daughters need to be forgiving of each other. That does not sound obvious but it is so easy to hold invisible grudges with each other. Mothers would never admit to this, but in truth we can… and our daughters can. We women like things our own way and we don’t always get them exactly as we wish… which can lead to irritation. Mothers and daughters are no different. It is important to tell our daughters when we make mistakes or have not been as understanding as we should have been. Equally, our daughters need to recognise that we mothers don’t get it spot on every day, all day…

Daughters require patience… lots and lots of patience…Wouldn’t you agree? From the small to the large moments… Especially teenage girls…how they put us through the paces… Don’t they? Mothers have to be patient, sit back and wait. Mothers have to bite their tongues and wait for their daughters to ‘see the light’… and they do, they will…  We need to learn to pick our battles… to let the small indiscretions slide and to save our ‘powder’ for the major battles. Our daughters will figure it out for themselves… they might even tidy their bedrooms in time…

But most of all we must love them and make them feel secure in that love. We mothers must be approachable and available… and why wouldn’t we? Having a  daughter is one of the greatest joys in life… Having two… well I am just spoilt. xv

 

 

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111 Comments

Laura

This is such a beautiful post, Vicki. As a daughter, we have to remember that the relationship we have with our mother is also a ‘friendship’. I am now going through my university years and it’s amazing to still hear other daughters’ surprised reaction when I say that ‘I tell my mother everything.’ I thought that response was one I would only hear in highschool! My mother is my bestfriend. :)
It is so lovely to read your post and immediately emotionally respond to single every word. Thank you!!
Now we daughters must learn from this mother-daughter relationship! ;)

Laura

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Vicki

LIkewise for me Laura… I consider my girls my very best friends… Although I also am their mother first and foremost…

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Sandy

What a lovely post! I am fortunate to have my 23 year old daughter as one of my best friends and my 85 year old mother as another. The times we spend together are so special – I just wish both of them lived closer to me!

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Vicki

Mine too… I consider them the best of friends and always enjoy their thoughts and advice… As for living close to each other… as someone who has moved far away from family, I consider every day I have my girls around me as a bonus.. :)

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Louise Percy

Vicki, your post has truly touched me. My daughter has just turned 30…we are very close emotionally and I think mutually respectful. I am in Perth, she in Sydney now, and so successful in her chosen career I am in awe of her achievements. She, her partner and his son are “coming home” this weekend. And I just know that at some stage she and I will share a morning cup of tea sitting up in my bed…and I will share your post with her. Many thanks, Louise

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Vicki

Don’t our girls surprise us? I am in awe of mine everyday… Enjoy your time together Louise…

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Mary

Fabulous! You hit the nail on the head here Vicki. One of the hardest jobs in the world. Parenting in all its guises…….raising our modern girls probably the most difficult. I’m seeing it still with the granddaughters! I will ensure my daughter reads your great post.

Mary X

P.S. Catching up with your posts now I’m back from your beautiful Australia – the Kimberley region was awesome!

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Vicki

Glad you had a wonderful time Mary… I am embarrassed to admit I haven’t been to the Kimberley region…

As for being ‘one of the hardest jobs’… nothing else comes close…:)

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simone

I feel though I need to print this out, put it in my pocket & learn it off by heart Vicki….such a brilliantly written & wise post.

I do not have a good relationship with my own mother so I know exactly how tricky it can be – and I never want it to be like that with my children.

And I am heading fast towards those teenage years with my own 11 year old daughter. My daughter is my greatest gift and we have a wonderful relationship but I know at times it will be more challenging!!

I think you make such a great point about life & the world in general being much more challenging for our children than it was for us, that’s so true.

And yes, pick your battles – I think that applies to husbands too doesn’t it?! ;) XX

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Vicki

We have to learn from the relationships we have had in order to improve the ones we are making… that is how I see it… Sometimes they become ‘tricky’ without us even knowing why… the complexities of human beings… Not easy to figure out… :)

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Mary-Jill

Hello Vicki, I have just shared what I consider one of THE most beautiful, completely unexpected, moments with my eldest daughter by helping to deliver her second child – a daughter, Oceana Lily -last Sunday morning on the Gold Coast in Australia. I had travelled up from Canberra the day before to help out when the baby “arrived” but we were just about to leave for the birth centre to have a ‘natural’ birth when her contractions suddenly sped up and she was delivered, on the bedroom floor, with the help of 000 Emergency, by her partner, his sister, and myself. I doubt I could top that for bonding! Mary-Jill xo

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Vicki

Congratulations Mary-Jill… what timing!
I am sure that will be one very special grand-daughter…

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A Gift Wrapped Life

Though I am still somewhat surprised I don’t have a daughter (lol) I can imagine it is a wonderful relationship. I treat my nieces like daughters and they tease me a great deal about all the “life Lessons” I try to pass along. I think sometimes they even listen to me. I can only imagine how lovely it is to have two daughters Vicki………….I bet they both feel like they have been spoilt too and have won the “mommy lottery”. I can’t think of a better role model than you as a strong, talented, and generous woman. Much love and you can adopt me as your eldest daughter any time you want. xx

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Lynne

Your words are wise and hold my heart today.
I will print this post for my journal.
Thank you, Vicki.
~Lynne
w/L.

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Vicki

I have learned that the wisest ways are often the most practical and the most simple… with children anyway…

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Pamela RG

Wow, Vicki, truly from the heart. As a daughter, my mother and I are very close. Yes, we are best friends too. There must be respect, trust, unconditional love, honesty, generosity and as you wrote the “letting go.” Then mothers must not forget to have fun and laughter with your children too. Have a good day!

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Vicki

The fun is so important and it is the fun and the happy times that make the memories…

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Jeanne McKay Hartmann

Such wise words, Vicki! One of the things I most appreciate about my mother is the example she set for me. Her life and background were so different that mine has been (thanks in great part to the kind of person she is), while she grew up in poverty with very little parental guidance, she gave me a comfortable life with every advantage and has always been there for me. In spite of our different backgrounds, her wisdom and skill as a role model came through loud and clear as I grew up and is still with me today in the decisions I make. I’m sure the same will always be true for your girls! XO

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Vicki

The beauty is in our differences… as I get older I appreciate my mother so much more… and understand her better…

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Amy Kortuem

What a beautiful essay, Vicki! My mother and I were just having a talk (with wine and a fire flickering in her fire pit) about the “letting go” part. I was telling her about how hard it’s been for me to feel comfortable with my fragile and dear 94-year-old neighbor Ethel taking risks – like going outside and raking her own leaves and deciding not to take her walker when she goes somewhere. I was telling her how I couldn’t imagine having to do that kind of letting go with a child (I don’t have children, and mourn that fact, and tend to “over-mother” those around me…).

My Mom told me that letting me go off into my life to experience love and hurt and success and failure without hovering to protect me was the hardest thing she’s ever done in her life – even harder than giving birth to me, which was terribly difficult for her.

Thanks for this post, Vicki. You’re an inspiration.

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Laurie Lyon

Dear Vicki,
Thank you for writing such a truthful post about raising daughters, becoming and being women in a troubled world. No easy task, and thanks for saying so!

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Vicki

I guess even though my focus was on the relationships between mothers and daughters… many features are true for all women… :)

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Caramel et Fleur de sel

Absolutely beautiful post! Mothers and daughters …. it’s such a beautiful bond. I have an 11 year old daughter and an 8 year old son. I adore my son but I feel very fortunate and lucky to have a daughter. There is such a precious bond, friendship, love and trust between us …. I am very lucky to have her in my life.
Unfortunately, I lost my own mother 6 months ago … she was my best friend, my confidant and above all my mother. The bond we had I will never have with another woman… to this day, I always ask myself what she would have told me to do in some situation, because I trusted and believed in her opinion.
Mothers and daughters fight, have different opinions, and are different … but at the end the love they share is magical.
x

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Vicki

It is magical… and impossible to define… Mothers and daughters do have incredible highs and desperate lows sometimes… but that’s what makes the relationship one of a kind…

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Katherine

I am blessed to have strong and emotion filled relationships with both of my children.
I think I’m closest to my Son because he was the first born and is my rock to this day. And …..I’m closest to my Daughter because she is my baby and we share the bond only women can share. Now my Daughter and I share the bonds of Motherhood with the arrival of her Daughter.

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Vicki

Sons are ‘rocks’… and so different… I am so fortunate to have one of those too… i can’t even begin to imagine mine having their own children… but I do look forward to that… :)

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BARNALI GUHA

I am blessed with two daughters and yes, you are so right, communication is key no matter their age. We have to love them, listen to them and expose them to various choices in life. This will hopefully help them make the right choices through their life.

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Vicki

And they won’t always make the right choices… but we have to let them try… as hard as that is… Sitting by while they choose a path that is not one we would recommend is pure torture… but necessary…

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Jo Dennis

Your thoughts on being a mother are so true. I lost my mother very suddenly a couple of months ago and I now find I spend so much time remembering the special moments. My mum was always there for me and we spent a lot of our time together, for which I am grateful. She was there when my children were born and now I have an amazing relationship with my 13 year old daughter, I’m sure because of my mums influence on my life. A mother daughter relationship is such a gift and my teenager is constantly surprising me and keeping me smiling.

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Missi

I love your thoughts today on mothers and daughters. My mom is my best friend. I talk with her every day and see her frequently. She understands me like no other. I have a son and a lot of what you wrote applies to our boys as well. I worried that with having a boy I wouldn’t have as much in common with him. But, we share so many of the same interests. I have friends with daughters and nieces so I get my “girly” fix there. Thank you for a lovely post.

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Suzanne de Cornelia

I have a darling son who has been the greatest gift of my life–am very proud of him.

I’d like being young today in San Francisco or Paris. Love technology and with the right education, setting, personality and look the world is yours. As your daughters (and my son) have …and what fun to share in that!

I adored my mother and grandmother and miss them so much. Although can clearly hear their voices…’Chin up and get on with it. We miss and love you too.’ I guess that’s the most important thing to me…that my son will feel my love for eternity and be stronger for it.

Lovely, thoughtful post as always, VIcki. Thank you.

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Vicki

I still believe it is the right attitude Suzanne… being capable and energised are the greatest characteristics… ‘chin up’… says so much, doesn’t it?…:)

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pve

All I can say is “Thank heavens for little boys” as my twins were far easier to parent than my teen age daughter whom I adore. I step more lively and realize with her beauty how fleeting it is….
Like a filly, she runs wild and I feel like her fence.
pve

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Pamela

Dear Vicki

What a wise and wonderful post. You are at a great point in your life, having successfully raised 3 beautiful children. You’re able to step back a little and watch with love and a little trepidation as they follow their paths in life.

I had a closer and better relationship with my father as a teenager than my mother. I adored him, he was kind, generous and so supportive and ambitious for me. But sadly he’d been seriously injured as a soldier during WWII and he was told he’d never reach 50. He didn’t. He died suddenly in his forties while I was still a teenager. A devastation for my poor beautiful mother who’d depended on him completely despite his poor health. Suddenly I found I was thrust into the mother role, both to my own Mum and my younger brother. My mother lived a long life and always cared very much about me but she was more like my child – she’d had a sad childhood during the depression. An unwanted second child, conceived only three months after the birth of her older sister when her parents were struggling financially. Her mother had always made her feel unwanted and she searched desperately for mother figures all her life as I could never give her all she needed.
I now enjoy being a Nonna to my two beautiful sweet natured granddaughters. The’re almost 8 and 6 and we have a lovely bond. I feel my most important task is to give them unconditional love (so easy) and to help them feel they can talk about anything with me and they will never be judged. We have wonderful conversations. I’m so proud of my son and DIL that they’re bringing them up to be kind, well mannered, thoughtful and confident children – and helping them develop their special talents. But with all the complications of the modern world you wrote about, I do fear for them. They have so many difficult things to face as they grow older. Life was so much easier for my generation in Australia. With best wishes, Pamela

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Vicki

I can’t begin to imagine how wonderful it is to have grandchildren… that relationship is so important … another level of family, another generation for them to be close to..

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Pamela

You will be over the moon Vicki! In many ways, probably because we don’t have the responsibility for them, one can enjoy grandchildren even more than our own children. Watching them grow and develop into such fascinating lovely little people is so thrilling and will fill your heart with joy. As such a wise and loving mother to your children you will have a wonderful relationship with your grandchildren when the time comes. Best wishes, Pamela

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Nancye Visser

Oh so blessed with a beautiful daughter. She is artistic,intelligent and oh so feminine. I have made all the wrong turns but hopefully a few right ones along the way. My son,my rock! Are they born with logic and common sense? How different they are,how wonderful…I’m lucky to be a mum. Thank you for your sensitive honest words,I’ve only recently experienced “letting go”. And yes,”most of all we must love them”…

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Vicki

I remember your beautiful ‘babies’ so well Nancye… and I feel the same about my son… i think that is true… the logic and common sense… :)

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emily

What a beautifully written post. I too am going to print it out and put it in my journal. I am blessed to have two little girls 9 and 2. I feel they are my greatest accomplishment to date. I used to think I was so complete in having a career and a life outside the home. I hate to admit it but I thought my mother had wasted some of her life by being a stay at home Mom. Well, I have put my career on hold and am a stay at home Mom with my second child because I do not want to lose/miss any of that precious Mother and Daughter time. My children have taught me how to love in a way I did not know I was capable of. My heart grew and grew like the “Grench who Stole Christmas!” The person I was before I had children and the one I am now are two different people. The smallest accomplishments of my 11 year old make me “weep” with joy. I hope I will be able to walk the thin line of first being their mother and then their friend when they get older!

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cathi

Wow, Vicki – this is such a timely post for me as I am in the letting go stage of this mother/daughter relationship as my own daughter left for university last month and it’s been an emotional roller coaster to say the least! Mother/daughter relationships are intensely complicated at times, heartbreaking, magical, beautiful moments filled with love and friendship. I have a wonderful relationship with my own mother, but in my teen years I was a terror to my poor mother (and she was looking forward to karma getting back at me when my own daughter was born….haha..) Much the same with my daughter and I – we are very close, but there have been those moments where each of us wanted to pull our hair out. I can now see the positive side of having my daughter living away from home, she appreciates the relationship we have more now than ever and I am so very thankful for our frienship. As usual, a very thought provoking post, dear Vicki!

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Vicki

The letting go is so difficult… how I remember the drive back when I would drop my girls at university after the holidays… I hated it… especially in winter, it was all the more depressing for some reason… I always asked myself… why?? Why they had to be away.. but of course, it was brilliant for them and the best for me… I wouldn’t be doing this probably…:)

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Rena

Even I’m a mother of a son when I read your thoughts I can’t see no difference. Raising up children is always a challenge for both and only mothers can understand it.

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Anita Rivera

Good heavens, how am I so late?

Oh dear Vicki, this is a topic that has been woven into my life, not as a mother (I do not have children), but as a daughter.

I struggled for a good part of my young adulthood, trying to figure out I was going to “present” myself to the world of graduate school and the work force. My mother, the only role model I had, was illiterate, a stay at home mom and though I grew up wanting exactly what she WAS, was not what the world was showing me how to be. I had to LEARN going against the grain of the woven patterns in my being, made by my mother.

Finally, I came to peace with myself, with my mother’s image in me. I have gone to school, I have and still TEACH and work in a highly stressful environment, VERY UNLIKE what she ever had to face, but now I know better. I can still be like her, for I am. And it makes a huge difference to be who she made me to be in this harsh world. No matter what, we ARE OUR MOTHERS’ DAUGHTERS and I love it.

Great post. Anita

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Vicki

I was a very different generation to my mother also Anita… and I agree… we learn to accept the differences and accept, as you say, that we are our mothers’ daughters… Sometimes it is surprising… but there is no hiding it. I wrote this from the point of view of mother… next time I need to think it through from the other side… :)

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Teresa @ Splendid Sass

Vicki-
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on mothers and daughters. There is nothing more precious, and I completely agree with you, putting role model and listening at he top of the list. We can’t very well ask them to be something we weren’t.
I hope that all is well with you.
Happy Thursday.
Teresa
xoxo

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Cynthia

My mother was my best friend. When I lost her I lost a part of my heart that will never be filled. She was a great Mom. I still love her dearly eventhough she is no longer with me.

Cynthia

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Vicki

The relationship is unique… mother and daughter… more than friendship and more than parenting..

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Kim Kleimann

Thank you for your beautifully written words about mothers and our precious daughters. I have a 25 year old and a 16 year old who is so worried about finding her path. I try to help and guide her, but I am reminded my example is the most important thing I can do for her.

Thank you for the wonderful post. Kim

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Vicki

I think our girls do worry more than we did… mine do too… I try and lead by example but sometimes we make mistakes… and I think we have to, otherwise how will we learn? …:)

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Heather in Arles

Like Anita, I am just seeing this now but am grateful to be late to the party for I have been able to enjoy all of the amazing responses as well.

Of course, I teared up just reading the title–I did! I think that you know that my Mom means the world to me and that being far from her is one of the biggest challenges in my life. I will be forever grateful to how she raised me and my Sister, allowing us to make our mistakes because she trusted that we would learn from them (we did and lived in fear of ‘disappointing’ her above all else). She encouraged us to express ourselves and fanned the flames of our budding confidence. Even when I most certainly had embarrassed her in my teen years on days when I would wear ripped up 1950s prom dresses and men’s shoes (together!) in a very conservative region, she stood by me. Her love is so strong and it has lifted me up more times than I can count.

Thank you for this, Vicki. I haven’t met your girls yet but know they are lovely from the bits and pieces that I have heard about them. You are all lucky to have each other!
Gros bisous,
H

PS. I would love to see this post as an article in a magazine so that it would reach and even wider audience than you have here…just a thought.

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Angela

Hi Vicki,

This is very beautifully written and so relevant. Tomorrow my husband and I will drive our 17 year old daughter to London, Manchester and Surrey and over the next 5 days we will look at her chosen universities, where next year she will begin the journey into adulthood and quickly visit our respective parents who live in the UK. The trust that we share is always present and the fact that my daughter can come to me and talk about everything I think has always made our bond even more special. How terrible it must be to be afraid to speak with your own flesh and blood. Sometimes the conversations are delicate and are not easy to hear as a mother, but by taking a deep breath, thinking before speaking and choosing our words wisely, then our daughters will hopefully respect our replies, whether it is the one that they hoped they would hear or not.

This next step in our family will be a difficult one, but I am assured that by communication and trust that we have in one another we will survive, I’m just not sure that I am ready to let go of my little girl and having only one child makes this an ever bigger challenge!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts today Vicki, to repeat an old BT advertisement “it’s good to talk!”

Hugs
Angela x

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Vicki

I think our paths with daughters are always full of surprises… not only good ones…
Enjoy your travels… and as one who has watched her ‘chicks’ fly… be assured, they do come back… and often… :)

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annechovie

What a beautiful way to articulate something so complex and meaningful, Vicki. I will remember your words and tuck them away for when I (hopefully) have a daughter of my own one day. Thank you for your sweet comment on my blog as well! I truly appreciate your kindness and support. Have a lovely day. xo

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Vicki

Mothers and daughters are so complex… I am alwasy trying to figure it out… the problem is I wish I knew what I knew now… 20 years ago!

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Gina

now that my daughters are grown? they are MY teachers and they teach me kindly and gently and lovingly every day…I am so lucky. I wish I could have been more like them!

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Vicki

That is the loveliest way of looking at it… a reversal of roles… I look forward to that…

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peggy braswell

So lovely-my daughter (and son) are the love of my life. Funny, Smart, loving, kind the adjectives go on and on, wasn’t always this way but is now! Stunning piece of writing,VA xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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Vicki

It does change doesn’t it… every year my children surprise me… as they grow and develop…
Thanks Peggy…

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Vicki

She is probably a lot wiser and more experienced than me…:) How wonderful that she is your best friend… I hope my girls say that about me one day…

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Vicki

Thank you Pam… I don’t know about that but I do know that I always try and write from the heart… and when it comes to my children… It is very easy…:)

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Annalisa C

Thank you for this post! As a single parent with one daughter I’ve spent my entire life trying to make sure she had a better example than I did. She’s now off to college in her first semester at Purdue and letting her go was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in years! But seeing just how strong she is standing on her own for the first time has helped me with the separation as we redefine our relationship as not just Mother and Daughter, but as two adult friends – she’s always quick to remind me I am her best friend and I take consolation in knowing I’ve done something right to earn that praise! Being a mother is the most fulfilling job we can have!

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Taryn walker

It’s 2.50am, and I’ve just gotten back into bed after finally getting my 7 month old little sick little boy back to sleep. As always I undertook my usual nightly ritual of going from bedroom to bedroom to check on my three darling daughters, aged 6,5 and 3. Your post was so true, I look at my beautiful 6 year old and wonder how life got so serious for her so early. I worry so much about them now, I don’t even want to imagine what it will he like when they go out into the world on their own. I pray that I will have equipped them with the courage, self esteem and self respect to help them stay true to themselves. Thanks for your beautiful post.

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Garden, Home and Party

Vicki,
What a wonderful piece. I will print this and share it with my daughter-in-law, mother to my granddaughter. I am the mother of son’s and some of your advice resonates with me, in fact parenting either a son or daughter has similarities. Thank you for this.
Karen

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francoise coadou-porter

Vicky this article is the one which touched my heart the most so far, your very best,siincere and deepest writing in my eyes.
Gives us more .Thank you

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francoise coadou-porter

at 24 i left my mother to go and live in Sydney -trying time, pionneer time..now I left my daughter strong and secure enough in Sydney and made a return to France (actually St Remy)for one year and thank you for Skype, it helps keeping the bonding with a beautiful daughter

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Cheryl Buttner

A highly relevant post Vicki, and a timely one for me as I prepare for my elder daughter’s wedding in beautiful Noosa….I will be giving a speech at the reception, and this has given me much food for thought as I try to write something meaningful for her as a much loved daughter entering a new era in her life as a wife.

She has always been my rock, a highly intelligent high achiever (as a first born) and so different to my younger daughter who pushes the boundaries at every step. Only now in her mid twenties is my wild daughter starting to look before she leaps – how different thw two of them are!

I would love to know what message you would write to your girls on the eve of their wedding….perhaps a seed for another post?
Thank you for a wonderful blog.

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marja

Good morning Vicki, I have raised 2 boys who are now wonderful young men, much of what you say can be echoed in the raising of boys. I often wonder as to how I would have raised a daughter and some time wish I had been given the opportunity. Thank you for your wonderful insights into your life and the world around you.
Cheers Marja

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The Enchanted Home

Hi Vicki, beautiful and poignant post. I being the mother of 3 boys cannot offer any advice on raising girls today but know as with boys, raising kids today in our fast paced world that seems to move at breakneck speed is a daunting task even under the best circumstances. I think we just need to talk, talk talk and even when they pretend they are not listening, even when they roll their eyes and even when they talk back telling us we live in a time warp and have no idea what we are talking about….EVEN THEN, I can almost guarantee (and know from experience) that in fact they ARE listening and when push comes to shove, their hear our voices, our words of wisdom and our advice learned from experience and they really do remember it. I did it and now my kids do it:)

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Pamela

Dear Enchanted Home
This is a very late comment but your words on talking to your sons have troubled me. As a mother and grandmother I have come to realise that one of the most important things is to listen, really listen to your children, listening with love, intelligence and attention – not forever talking yourself or jumping up to turn on the washing machine or taking something out of the oven. Allow them to feel that they can talk about their feelings and just what they did at school or with their friends. But I don’t mean cross-examine or make them uncomfortable or embarassed. If your relationship is good and open and supportive, children will really get into the habit of talking to their mums and dads and grandparents. It’s so amazing how much they will communicate and how they will indicate areas where they will welcome guidance. When my grand daughters talk to me about how someone laughed at them at school, or how they feel failures because they can’t turn cart wheels. I listen carefully and mention how I was upset or embarassed at school sometimes or how their Dad felt about something similar and how we dealt with it. They’re so surprised to find they’re not the only ones who’ve experienced these things and they welcome suggestons for how to deal with their fears, embarassments, mean girls etc. But it’s not me telling them they must do a certain thing. Solutions arise out of discussions of the issue. Somtimes, with further thought on their part they come up with their own ideas that are far better than an adult’s. Sometimes they just feel better for having talked it through.
So, if you’re not already doing a lot of listening, try it and see. I wish I had done more when my son was much younger. Best wishes, Pamela

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Kerry

Gosh! What a response to this post. I am glad so many have good relationships. This is the most complex of relationships and you are so lucky to have a positive one. Because ,as a daughter, i know if it isn’t it is heartbreaking. I have sons so perhaps I am not qualified to say this but I amazed people say their daughters are their best friends.I always find this comment hard to understand. My sons are so much more than friends and the special place they have my best of friends will never have! As you say Vicki, I am a mother to them first and foremost. They can have lots of best friends but only one mother! And sometimes being their mother can be so much harder than being their friend. And more joyous! I think your post is really about mothering…girls or boys! How blessed we are to be mothers.
And what a journey from our school days

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Deidre Groundwater

What a beautiful, moving post. As a Mum of two girls it brought back memories of those tumultuous teenage years. They made one almost reach for the gin bottle. Now they are mothers of teenage girls and I sit back and be quiet (very difficult for me!) My heart goes out to my beautiful girls having to raise children in these times. As you so rightly said, life was so much easier in our youth. Oh dear I am beginning to sound OLD!

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Jean Wethmar

Aah Vicki.. thank you for putting words to the feeling I have in my heart.. and how very adequately you did that. I was blessed with three very beautiful daughters (one now in heaven, my youngest) and two in Sydney.. I’m in Brisbane, its so important not to strangle the love we want to/need to share with them, but give them the freedom to grow beyond our wildest expectations.. this is true motherly love.. oh how proud I am of daughters, all they’ve done, and all they stand for, in their lives.. x thanks for this beautiful post Vicki.. I’ve shared your blog with Kim and Toni x a very proud mom and Nonna to precious Willow granddaughter..

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Mary

Thank you so much for such an honest piece of wise writing. I have forwarded it on to my two daughters. Mothering is not always easy and I found reading this has made me step back and take a “breather”.

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mary

Hi Vicki, Once again, I am speechless. Yes, again I must echo your words. Mothers and daughters–such a complex and always expanding relationship. As mothers, we are commanded to be the best roles models that we can imagine being. Thank you.
xoxo,
Mary

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Alexa

Hi Vicki,
yes you are right. its a tough world right now in which to raise daughters. Very different than when we were girls ourselves. I still wait for when my daughter will be a teenager… lots of hurdles still to cross…;)

But its easy to say what our role as mothers is. In general, our generation probably does it better than our parents generation who were not into the psychology of parenting.

But unfortunately our daughters will never understand this until she is a mother herself… and even then, we will always be their “mother”, and not entirely a real human being with mistakes in their eyes :)

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trish Murphy

Vicki a beautiful thought provoking post.I think being a mother is such an incredibly wonderful and challenging role.It is so important
to get it right and we do not always do so.We have to wear so many
hats in our role as mother.I am the mother of a beautiful daughter and two lovely sons and there have been fabulous and not so fabulous times.
They are all well grounded and beautiful adults now but I think how will it be for them when they have their own children.We were raised in such a different era and I found as most parents the teenage years very challenging to say the least. We all just want the very best for our kids and only which I say so often
to them, it will only be when they have their kids will they realise what we were about. I live in hope of my daughter not having a floordrobe!!!!!!!! Clothes strewn all over the floor.
Thank you for such a lovely post.We are so lucky to be mothers.

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miss b

This was such an honest, touching and thought provoking post with many wise words and great advice too. I agree with so many of your observations and I do believe that the hardest thing for a mum is the letting go. When I read ‘they might tidy their bedrooms in time’ I couldn’t help but smile!

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Jeanne @ Collage of Life

Vicki…I have been thinking on your post these past few days, so well said and even more so as I miss my girls more than ever. I never thought I would miss their bickering…but I miss even that. I treasure them more than ever…it is cliche…but letting go is so very hard to do!

Jeanne xx

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Kaaren

Thank you Vicki for a beautiful post. It says so much. I will pass on to my daughter and my friends for their daughters too.

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Playing With Scarves

Dear Vicki,
what a moving post! You have such a talent to express these subtle and sometimes contradictory feelings we, mothers, have with our children. Though I am the mother of two boys (the only girl we have is our lab – absolutey spoilt) I can relate to each of your words. Boys or girls are equally difficult to raise today simply because our world is rough to both genders. They equally need us to be models, supports, assistants, nurses. And they equally need to be proud of us. Being a mother and a parent in general is more than a duty. It’s an art. It’s always about finding the right words, the right attitude, the right balance. Tough and discouraging sometimes.
Most of us certainly do our best to help and raise our children properly and I truly think that one day or another most children will acknowledge their parents did their best (OK… for some children it takes longer than for others). But this day of pure happiness always come. No matter what.
Thanks for this beautiful post.
Cheers,
Anne

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Bronnie

Lovely words read with tears in my eyes. I have two beautiful daughters and am truly blessed. I have fears as they grow and find support in your words! “Letting go” is and will be truly hard but they need to be the people that they are meant to be and I look forward to sharing and supporting their journeys.

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Nancye

I decided to revisit my favorite,mothers and daughters. I relect over the past year and your words were soothing and helpful,daughters are so special,they need a friend but most of all their mum… Happy New Year and look forward to another year of inspiration and beauty with French Essence…xx

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Josephine

This is one of those posts that I will return to. As others said motherhood is the hardest job in the world and daughters in particular. I have one who is equal to ten really and there are days I think lion-taming would be an easier way to spend the day. It is the letting go of motherhood that I think is so poignant and yet so necessary. And our girls do have it so much tougher these days with the media pressure and the celebrity and skank culture. I remember growing up that our career role models were teachers or flight attendants. Nowadays it seems every young girl I talk to wants to be famous. Thanks for your musings on this topic Vicki. xx

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david terry

Well, I hope this observation doesn’t seem overly academic or tangential, but?…..

One of the aspects of mother/daughter relationships (particularly when the daughters are past early adolescence, and in contrast to most father/son relationships) that has always struck me (at least in the last decade or so) is how often mothers say “Oh, I love my daughter’s friends….they’re so fun to hang out with” or “My daughter has the most wonderful friends”.

Fathers hardly ever (at least in my experience, and, at my age, I know a lot of latter-middle-aged fathers)say this of their sons’ friends.

Once again, and as ever (and as exemplified in the world of blogging) women seem more intent (as in doing it ON PURPOSE) building communities, rather than fostering needless competition.

I’m sure there are some fathers who enjoy their son’s friends and make a point of taking pleasure from knowing them (my own father would be among those), but the majority seem, unfortunately, to follow the competitive, who’s-still-big-top-dog(?) model.

Vicki’s quite right about mothers/daughters…..the best thing you can do is to set a good example, and to be “patient” and, most importantly, “available”.

But isn’t that what the best of friends do for each other?…regardless of whether they’re biologically related? (that’s meant to be a compliment to you, Vicki)

Level Best as ever,

David Terry

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La Contessa

In haste as I am up way too early for me and heading out to sell at an ANTIQUE FAIRE but just had to say!BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN!
I have two SONS………..so not the same,but I agree with everything you said!I too agree with HEATHER a magazine article this should be!
XXX

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Anita Rivera

Good morning Vicki! I hope your stay in Africa is splendid!

I am not a mother; I am a teacher. And I agree with you here, that in any era, a mother or a teacher for that matter must be THE ROLE MODEL and to LISTEN. I even believe that at a certain point of development, we cannot PROTECT our children, but we MUST prepare them to handle themselves in this very strange world.

I have friends however, that are great mothers, and of many children. One friend has five, another, three, and both of them have home-schooled their kids. But they have gone beyond the walls of the home to teach. These mothers have had the fortunate experience to take their kids on trips to Europe or India or elsewhere, to give their kids an opportunity to not only practice the academic tools handed to them, but to develop their character. It’s all in the practice and genuine listening and role modeling.

A wonderful topic to wake up to today chez toi; I wish you a marvelous vacation! Anita

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Garden, Home and Party

Vicki,
What a beautiful post! As the mother of sons, I will forward this to my daughter-in-law, mother of our granddaughter. But much of your wisdom applies so well to mothers in general. Thank you for such an inspiring piece.
Enjoy your week.
Karen

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MJH Design Arts

Hi Vicki,
Another wonderful post. You have stated this complex relationship so perfectly. I also think that mothers (and daughters) need to learn the gifts of what I call constructive silence–which involves constructive listening and learning when (which is often) to keep my D___mouth tightly shut. Thank you for all of your words of wisdom regarding our DD’s over the past years. Hope that you are having a wonderful adventure.
xoxoxo
Mary

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lisa thomson

What a beautiful post, Vicki. I missed this the first time. I have a daughter and son so I can certainly experience the difference in mothering each gender. One thing I would add to the joys of having a daughter is they can understand you in ways a son simply cannot. Of course, sons offer up some special gifts but when our daughters become young women, they are (somewhat) familiar with our challenges. I’m looking forward to reading the comments and how other women relate to their daughters.

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Anne

a very poignant post.. I have two sons and would not swap them at all. My life growing up has not been easy , ever since my dad passed when I was 10 , and my mum is still alive age 80 something .. and what a struggle we have been through and when my younger sister passed away about 6 years ago , it is worse. I also have a brother who gets on with mum so well .. there is only about 4 and half years between me and brother and sister was in the middle .. could be that not sure.

Now sometimes I struggle with my grandaughters ,
but with the boys I am different , I think they are softer and more cuddling . But yours is a great post and brings out feelings deep within.

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pve

I am blessed to have one daughter to Mother and love. She is a teenager and of course “putting me through the paces” – I try to lead by example and try to relate to her and the world she lives in. Like you have so eloquently said, the world is different. I always wonder if they came with an instruction manual, that any of us would actually read it.
pve

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