Hello, my sweet sisters!
I just finished reading a book by Cheri Fuller and Ali Plum entitled Mother-Daughter Duet: Getting to the Relationship You Want with Your Adult Daughter, and there are few books on my shelves that have more highlighting and notes written in the margins than this one. This book has changed me, and honest to goodness, it better because I have NO non-adult daughters in my home any longer. I needed this book for each of these precious relationships that I have with my girls. But to tell you the truth, I am sometimes my own worst enemy because of what Cheri Fuller calls my "mother monster thing," or also known as the mother bear heart. She states in her book that it is this very thing that moves a mother to lift cars off their children, but also moves us to the unhealthy and the crazy. I can tell you that my "mother monster thing" has reacted out of fear and insecurity in ways that are down right ridiculous, often hurtful and even at times embarrassing...not to mention stupid and just flat-out coo-koo.
Let me say this in my defense...I am WAY better than I used to be. God has been "shutting me up" for awhile now and this book was another of His ways to let me know that , "Yes, indeed, it is His voice speaking and leading in the relationships with my girls." Every once in awhile I wonder..."Would God REALLY tell me to 'shut my mouth?'" Yep, yep, yep, He would...because I have asked Him to guide me through this uncharted territory in my life, and He knows it's this mouth of mine that gets me in most of my troubles!
One my friends messaged me on Facebook and said, "I heard you read a book about mother/daughter relationships that is kicking your butt...could you let me know the title, I think I need my butt kicked." So many of us struggle in the one relationship that you would think would be the easiest, after all, they are women like us and even more astonishing is the fact that we raised them...you'd think the relating to each other would be as easy as breathing in and out. But that just isn't so because there are a zillion dynamics that enter the picture. Things we said, or didn't say...things we did, or didn't do, things others said, or didn't say, things others did or didn't do, traumatic moments came and were out of our control...so, so many variables. We honestly didn't stand a chance. We live in this fallen, fallen world...and it hurts us and the girls we love with all the "mother monster thing" within us. Truly, "my mother monster thing" needed a good butt kicking, and Cheri and Ali graciously obliged.
So let me give you a few teasers. These are just a handful of the bits of wisdom I gleaned from this book. Some of them were revelatory to me, others I knew but needed some encouragement in the right direction.
1. There is nothing more healing or building for a relationship then having fun together. Here's the tricky part: "Having fun" for your daughter may not be "fun" for you; HOWEVER, I bet all of you who have adult daughters would agree with me that You'd be willing to enjoy just about anything to laugh and smile with your girl.
2. My daughters' spiritual journeys are THEIR spiritual journeys and should be respected. It is time to let them walk out their faith. We have taught them, prayed for them, advised them, encouraged them all through their growing years...now it is time to let the seeds we have sown be watered by the Holy Spirit as He walks with them through their adult lives. One of the profound moments I had in this book was when Ali spoke about mothers of faith who when it comes to their daughters dissolve into women of little faith fretting, nagging and even trying to manipulate their daughters to the spiritual journey they see as ideal.
3. Constantly telling your daughter you are "praying for her" can make your daughter feel like you think she is such a mess that she needs your continual prayers. I thought about this a lot and came to the conclusion that this is an area where discernment is really needed. In some cases it may give your daughter comfort to know you are praying for her, in others, it may come across as manipulation and maybe even a little bit a condemnation and judgement. I will try to check my motives before I say anything about prayer to my girls. I do know this...prayer is a powerful way to be "present" in your daughter's life and it doesn't have to be talked about in order to have a positive impact on them.
4. When we are wrong, apologize without any excuses. No "but" or "because."
5. Be open and not overly sensitive. This reminded me of the lesson I learned as I read the book, The Bait of Satan, which was about how offense causes so many problems in our relationships with each other and with God. As moms we really do need tougher skin as our children grow into adulthood.
I am going to end this post with a quote from Harriet Lerner:
"One great gift a mother can give to her daughter is to live her own life as well as possible."
And that, my dear fellow moms of daughters and sisters of the heart, is the bottom line to it all, isn't it?
Have a lovely Mother's Day and may you and your family be blessed!