Right now, it is easy to be both mother and friend to my daughter. I love this stage so much, yet I live in fear that it will change. I’ve always been able to be pretty good at “enjoying the moment” while not longing for the past. Sure, I have occasions where I get a little nostalgic looking through old photos. Typically though, I’m content watching my children grow up. I embrace each new stage and look forward to their next milestone.
Things are different now that my daughter is seven-years-old and in this incredible sweet spot. She is old enough to have more sophisticated conversations yet young enough to take my advice … I am enjoying this stage more than I thought possible, but I worry every day that it will pass in the blink of an eye and we will never be this close again.
Growing up with a single mom, she and I were incredibly close. She was always there for me in the best ways she could be, and for years I recall it being mostly just me and my mom. Until, for several reasons I can’t get into at this time, we weren’t close anymore.
My mother shattered our relationship, and I fear I will do the same to my daughter.
Yesterday, she asked me “What do you think will look good with this shirt, mom?” And I gave her a suggestion. She then came out with exactly what I suggested. One day, I worry she will no longer ask my opinion, and if I dare give it, I will be met with a snarky attitude.
I fear that I won’t be the one she turns to when she has questions about what to wear, or who to date, or what to study. I fear that one day she will not turn to me if she is going through a major struggle or heartache.
How do I hold on to this closeness? How can I strike a perfect balance between friend and mom where she trusts me, enjoys being around me AND respects me? Both my own past and society tells me it is not possible. “You are her mother, not her friend,” they say. But teenagers are guided so much by their friends. I do want her to see me like a friend, at least kind of. I don’t want to spend 6-8 years battling my daughter.
I want to sit and watch cute TV shows like we do now. I want to bake with her and talk to her about her struggles. I want her to ask me for fashion advice. I want her to trust and value my opinion. Despite all the “I’m your mom, not your friend” articles, which are quite valid, I WANT to be her friend. I want her to confide in me. I want her to trust me and my opinion. I want to be her mother and her friend.