Few things are certain, courageous Mothers, but here is one: No matter what type of relationship you have with your daughter, she will always be seeking your approval, even if she never admits it and especially if she never receives it. Even if she is raised strong and independent, she will always look for you to be proud of her. She will always strive for you to be supportive. She may even subconsciously try to be you, and you may subconsciously wish she would attempt to be someone immensely different.
One thing surely hard to swallow is that the way you raise your daughter will certainly affect her for the rest of her life, and the level of confidence you choose to instill upon her may make or break her in the future. It is a bond that no man will ever fully understand. It is a role that no young daughter is capable of fully appreciating. It is a privilege that only God can give, and it is a challenge where only a mother can choose to rise to the occasion. Because guess what, ladies? There is no perfect formula for how to raise a daughter, nor only one successful way to do so. But Lord save us, it is one of life’s most comical and dramatic rides!
The challenge of molding a soul is a blessing that truly unlocks some of life’s secret meanings. For when your daughter is old enough to see you as a woman and you are brave enough to see her as one, too, that is when the real truth about mothers and daughters prevails.
Mom will always say with appreciative sarcasm, “Been there done that, but you go ahead and do what you want to.”
Mom will always say with sage pride, “I saw that one coming, but it is what it is.”
Mom will always say with a hint of self regret, “You are so young, why are you even worrying about that?”
Mom will never understand that we already decided we were going to do what we wanted and just secretly wished for her to climb aboard our decision-making security boat, regardless if we were right or wrong. Mom will never understand that, sure she saw it coming, but we know she didn’t when it happened to her, so we want her to humor us and empathize. Mom will never admit that the reason why we are always and forever going to be so young is because we are so much younger than her, and she can’t seem to remember what it was like.
If women are from Mars and men are from Venus, then it might be wise to say that our mothers actually relocate to the sun, the center of all living things. Here they spend the rest of their lives with a healthy rotation of needy spouses, sons, daughters, and pets, planets rotating around them, in dire need of hugs, kisses, direction and an occasional wipe of the ass. Ideally, the selfish lot of us is also hoping for an occasional solar eclipse when we feel like telling her to butt out. It’s quite a task-driven career for mom, don’t you think?
Some young daughters believe mothers really dwell on the moon—a perfect vacation home for Mom, which obviously rotates around us who have chosen wisely to live on planet earth. Again, we want your world to revolve around our needs but we, being stubborn and pseudo-independent, constantly pray for a lunar eclipse when we feel we are in the right, which often happens, but most of the time is just an illusion.
The maturation of a daughter’s relationship with her mother is quite simple. First we want to be you—wear your lipstick and oversized high heels. Then we want to be nothing like you and don’t care what you think. We want to paint our nails black, wear thigh-highs with miniskirts and twelve shades of eye shadow. Next we want you to accept us for who we are even though we have no idea who that is yet, but constantly assure you that he is the one and we are going to make it in Hollywood. Then we realize who we think we are and become insecure about whether or not that person is going to be accepted by you. Finally we start to realize who you are, and wonder how the hell you dealt with us for the last 27 years, while beginning to understand why you said and did the things you said and did. Like I said, it’s all quite simple.
However, what happens next is what all mothers and daughters go through, and it may be the hardest experience of a mother’s life, while it can be the most humbling in a daughter’s life. When we do realize Mom is human—she is a woman, and she is vulnerable and needy—when we realize she has been going through the same problems in life with men, marriage, romance, babies, career, money, and purpose, we learn the true reasons why she said and did the things she said and did. We also begin to understand why she still says and does them.
In addition to this epiphany of equality, it never fails that we, as daughters, start questioning the life decisions of our mothers. It is inevitable that moms will say that we will never understand, but when we are young and stupid enough to be honest to their face, they secretly know that we actually are beginning to figure them out. While it is terribly hard to be called out by your own blood, being exposed as a real woman with true emotions aside from just being Mom must be relieving. Finally someone understands what you went through and is grateful that you did. Just remember that daughters have walked a mile in your shoes, you were just the one wearing them.
The one thing you will learn as a daughter, if you’re one of the lucky ones, is the mother you now see as a woman really did give her life for the betterment of yours. And whether or not you agree with the way she did it, you will know that who you are now could have never happened without the courage it took her to tell you the truth—even when she knew, for a short time, it would crush your romantic illusions of reality.
Truth is brave. Truth is honest. Truth is freedom. Truth is motherhood. And truth seems to be the most difficult subject to learn growing up, even harder than physics. (Trust me. I took it three times, and that crap is hard.) But truth is harder. I can only imagine that telling your daughter the truth about the difficult times in life, knowing that there isn’t always a quick fix or fairytale ending, would exceed the difficulties of rocket science, especially when Mom is still grasping on to the hope of finding a fairytale ending herself.
It’s hard to be the bearer of negative outcome which is a common experience in the lives of many. For example, “My daughter isn’t the best on the team, the prettiest in the bunch, or the smartest in the class,” which makes it even harder to speak the truth our society has so branded as unfortunate. And guess what women? You are the only bearer of your own truth, and sometimes you have to teach your children this.
Truth is the hardest thing to accept. You can’t hide from it, you can’t run from it, and if you try, it will eventually eat you alive. But the truth lies within us, even if we are small. For a mother, learning to bite her tongue might be the most trying of all aspects of parenting. While a small sheltered girl, not knowing the truth could possibly affect her negatively in the long run. But just remember this: If anyone can gracefully get out when stuck between a rock and a hard place, her name must be Mom.
In a possibly naïve nutshell, as a 27-year-old daughter: If you want to be happy, learn to tell yourself and others the truth. I’m not saying run out to the bar and drink the truth out of you. I’m not saying to climb the mountains or enter the confessional box and scream your truth to the world, because these aren’t always the savviest of decisions. There is a time and place for everything. It’s hard enough to whisper the truth to yourself. But when you do it and you own it, you can turn the page. The book of life is too short to get stuck in the preface. And when a team of truth-tellers as connected as a mother and daughter come together and are mature enough to be completely honest and humbled, this is when the truth within prevails.
What’s even better is that when you finally both learn that only truth matters in your relationship or in any relationship, the National Enquirer by the toilet seat in which you currently star turns into the epic novel on the nightstand where people have no choice but to respect it no matter how honest and uniquely it is written.
My name is Lindsey Blair Hawkins, and I am blessed and thankful to have been taught to finally be honest with myself. As for who I am and what I stand for, I am still researching that character. But God bless my soul, I finally learned to tell myself the truth and have a voice from my heart and gut that will not let my brain and mouth talk back. This can sometimes still cause my mother dismay because, let’s face it, she does know more than me about most things; but she doesn’t tell me not to follow what’s in my soul. My mom has taught me to live and speak truth louder than a self-whisper, and for that, there is no better woman on this earth.
Butt cheeks are butt cheeks—everyone has them. Hearts are hearts—everyone’s needs mending. Truth is truth—no one can avoid it. Everyone has a dimple, a scar and a secret. Cellulite, break-ups and scandal, they are all a part of the life of a woman, and they are beautiful, sad and fixable. And man, do I love an honest and justified explanation