I recently held an event for mothers and daughters entitled The Power of Two. The event was created for girls from 9 to 12 in order to help them navigate their entrance into adolescence and help to avoid the common conflicts that arise between moms and their daughters of this age. We did a group sharing and private sharing. We sculpted the metaphor of our relationship and did a blind communication exercise. Mainly we opened up and talked about what was hard, what was scary, and what we needed. We expressed a lot of love.
Yet truthfully, this is a difficult workshop for me. Mainly because while I am helping other mothers and daughters, I am a mother to a 12 year old girl. I think about this relationship often and I wonder why our communication changes, why there are more hurt feelings (on both sides), how I got into the beginning of a power struggle, and where the sad overall sense that you start to lose your daughter comes from.
I remember holding my daughter in my arms in the hospital and feeling a bit sad that at one point we were going to have conflict. I was prepared for her becoming a tween in many ways but was not prepared for her to become her own person. I have known her as my daughter her whole life but at this age where she is branching out into the world, with all of the strength of who she is, I realize that in many areas I don't know even know her. She is becoming her own person and is asserting herself into her life and into her relationship with me. Everything from clothes to food, movies to music, and how she decides to handle relationships with her friends is her way and not mine at all.
I realize that it is just the relationship that needs adjusting. I believe that when we cannot adjust the relationship with mutual respect and understanding, that there lies the conflict. As I say to all the mothers I work with, there is not a right and wrong anything if it is coming with love, pure intent, and authenticity. Your daughters were chosen to be your daughters for the main reason to experience the authenticity of who you are as a mother. Yes we will make mistakes, but we will come back and apologize. Yes, we will misunderstand, but we will come back to listen. This very act is the creation of resiliency in your daughters. If they can do this with us, they can do this with friends, teachers, bosses, and partners. We can guide them as women and love them as mothers as long as we give them a chunk of space to become. This is their emergence from the cocoon and they need to struggle to build their strength. We will hold them and sit in that struggle with them balancing the line of protecting and preparing.
As my daughter continues to show me who she is, I am starting to allow her space to simply become. I am not taking a back seat yet I am not in control. I am watching, observing, complimenting, and trusting. Trusting in her and trusting in me, but mainly trusting in the Power of Two.