Mama is your ally.
For me, this was the single most important message I have wanted to send to my daughter throughout her life: I am your ally. Does it mean I don’t get mad? No. Does it mean I won’t disappoint you? No. There are times I get mad at my daughter. There are times I disappoint her with my reaction to things. However, because we have always had open communication, she knows, deep down, that even though I might get upset about something she does or something she tells me, I will calm down and help her find a solution. She is 19 now…only about eight more months in her teens…and somehow, I feel like I have been successful in the area of communication with her.
When she was growing up, as far back as I can possibly remember, I answered questions honestly. When she was a little girl, if she asked a question, I didn’t sugarcoat it or present some fairytale (like a stork dropping a baby on the front porch); I answered honestly and in an age-appropriate way. Did I always answer perfectly? No. I am the first to say I am an imperfect mother, but that’s part of it. Motherhood is a position in which we learn on the job, so we are going to make mistakes, but we learn as we go.
I follow an Instagram account called Raising Teens Today. It’s not run by a psychologist. It’s run by a mom who also happens to be a public relations professional, and that’s one reason I love it. Her posts are real life posts, not some psycho-babble. Today, she reposted something that said “I hope my daughter grows up thinking ‘I have to tell Mom; she will know what to do’ instead of ‘I’m scared to tell Mom, because she won’t understand.'” Yes. Yes. Yes. Just like that post, I have always wanted my daughter to know she can come to me with anything. Not only that, but she should come to me…and come to me first! ***Raising Teens Today also has a website. You can see it here.***
Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there are things I don’t know about my daughter. I’m not supposed to know everything, just like she isn’t supposed to know everything about me, but if she has a problem, I want to be the first ally she seeks out. Why? Well, I actually have her best interest at heart. Other teenage girls aren’t always looking out for their friends’ best interests. Another reason? I’m going to offer up 55-yr-old wisdom instead of the wisdom of another 19-yr-old. Come on. Do 19-yr-olds really have answers to real life problems? They don’t have enough life experience, and frankly, the frontal lobes of their brains are not fully developed. I have told her the last person to consult for a real problem is another teenager. Yet another reason? Unlike teenage friends, I’m not going to share her private business.
The main reason I want her to come to me, though, is that I want to help her grow into a happy, healthy, productive member of society who knows she is loved…just like she knew she was loved when she was a little girl. We all remember when our college-aged kids were younger. They came to us with everything. Skinned knee? Mama can fix it. Broken bone? Mama will get me to the doctor. Hungry? Mama will feed me. Tired? I can fall asleep in Mama’s lap. Difficulty in school? Mama will help or find me a tutor. Friend problems? I can talk to Mama. Where to go to college? Mama will talk it out with me.
Yes, my daughter’s problems become more serious as she gets older, but it’s every bit as important…maybe more so…that she knows Mama is there for her. As long as I’m alive, I will be her ally. Even after I’m gone, she’ll likely hear my voice in her ear, just like I hear my mother’s regularly. My mother has been gone for five years, but many times, when I have been trying to find an answer to a problem, I remember things she told me.
Mama wisdom is the gift that keeps on giving.