All children are born loving their mother. Somewhere between birth and high school every mother will fall off that pedestal. It is inevitable. We will make mistakes. We will have “uh-oh” moments and “oopsies” along the way.
So when did I fall from grace?
Girls want to know the details. “What was your first date like with daddy?” “When did you have your first boyfriend?” ”Did you graduate from college?” ”When was your first kiss?” “Did you have fights with your friends in school?” and list goes on and on….
For example, I remember when my daughters began to realize I was a teenage mother. Once they learned to add and subtract, I knew it was coming so what did I do? I had to talk about how having a child changed me. And then there is the reality of sex. My daughters know that I was a sexually active teen. So then there are additional questions and talks that came with that reality also.
This is the mistake I made.
When my daughters began to ask questions and probe into my obstacles, I felt hurt. I thought they were judging me. I felt attacked and sometimes criticized. But now, I realize that it was none of those things. My daughters were trying to renegotiate our relationship. They were trying to get to know me. They were asking how I got over my poor choices and continued to live my life. They were looking for me to comfort them through their mistakes.
For my “girls”, as I call them, I am a women teaching them to be women in a very “real world”. I see things that a father can’t see. I make sure to teach and train. But in those times of teaching and training I forgot to tell them how I overcame and “kept my life moving” after I made a bad choice or hit a stumbling block. They needed to see me as a women and not a perfect mother.
When you make mistakes in life, and I have made some big ones, you have to keep living. The same is true for parenting. When I make mistakes, say so but keep it moving. You may have to apologize and have a few discussions on the topic. That is just life. Is that not the goal- to teach and train?
I have to open the door for my daughters to be honest with me by being more open with them about my life’s experiences. I don’t share all the details but I do talk more openly than before.
For some people, it may be addiction or abuse. The list of obstacles can go on for miles but the need to understand who our mothers are is the same for every girl.
What did I learn?
I have not fallen from grace. I am still and always will be their mother. I am a human being and not perfect. I had to get over myself and all the fear, hurt and anxiety that comes with falling from my own pedestal. Once I forgave myself, I could really open up and talk about how I moved forward.
Talking about your obstacles allows your daughter to not expect to be perfect, permission to be human and make mistakes.