My daughter, Lauren, joined me for the Mother’s Day edition of Straight Talk with Dr. Cheryl, on Blog Talk radio last Sunday, to talk about the relationship between mothers and adult daughters. We decided that the biggest problem was learning to see each other as real people.
Lauren sees me struggle recognize and respect that she IS an adult. She appreciates that I try not to give directions, but to ask questions, to listen instead of talk, saying “Why or How, instead of “Don’t, or Did you,” and she knows how hard that is for me.
Lauren said her struggle is that she still sees me as strong, supportive, reliable MOM, but she’s had to realize and accept that she is not my only priority. She also realizes that strong Mom has her own issues. Talking about her recent bout with depression, Lauren said she had to consider the impact it had on me, not as MOM, but as Cheryl.
I was proud and happy that my daughter is such an insightful and empathetic person, but that was a difficult line to walk. I had to work through feel of being fault, fear, and even anger, but Lauren’s not MY mom. I answered her question and accepted her compassion, but I CANNOT lean on her for support. That’s what my girlfriends are for. Lauren is becoming my friend, but she’s still my daughter.
Our babies smile up at us as if we make the sun rise. That can be intoxicating, especially when our other relationships don’t make us feel so great. It’s hard to let go of that magical mom role. Our own needs tempt us to keep trying to make the sun rise even after the kid is supposed to make the sun rise for herself. In the book, The Prophet, in the section “On Children,” Kahlil Gibran says that parents are the bow, bent in the Creator’s hand, to insure that children (the arrows) fly straight, far, and reach their target (paraphrasing.) Our job is to prepare them to leave us.
In my medical practice, I met so many young women who had no absolutely ability to parent, yet said they were pregnant for “emotional reasons.” How can a little baby stabilize a grown woman? Their lives are cry-eat-sleep-poop-repeat. How can we meet Gibran’s accurate description of parenting, if we are not whole?
My January blog on www.sepiawomenprime.com was about “Parenting Grown Folks.” Our job is to step back and let our children’s butts hit the floor, so they learn how to get up. The hardest part is not knowing whether a particular fall is a bounce, or a break. It’s more difficult to accept that either way, our children have to feel the consequences of their choices, or they become crippled. By always saving them, WE cripple them. We want to protect them, but quiet as it’s kept, we won’t be here forever. We don’t want to make our adult daughters, or sons dependent and vulnerable, latching on to any Tom, Dick, or Susan they encounter.
Listen to the episode www.blogtalkradio.com/bold-movers-radio/2015/05/10/straight-talk-with-dr-cheryl, and tell me how you walk the line between supporting and enabling the adults you parent.
Also please listen in tonight as I discuss the stages of a woman’s life and what men can do to support each stage on www.theglobaldriveradion.vpweb.com 80-10pm
Have coffee with me every Sunday Morning from 8-10, Straight Talk with Dr. Cheryl on www.blogtalkradio.com and Like Dr. Cheryl Woodson on Facebook. Hope to see you here next week.
BTW- I didn’t post Lauren’s picture because she didn’t give me permission to.