When my daughter moved away and began to build her own family, we had a talk.
I told her how new this was for me. I hadn’t ever had an adult child before and I wasn’t sure what to do. I asked her to be patient with me as I figured it out and show me grace when I got it wrong.
We both had to figure out what it looked like to move out of mother and daughter as a power structure and into mother and daughter as peers — as two adults adulting together.
It was through this process I realized my teaching was far from done, but it looked different. No longer was I teaching her how to tie her shoes or bake cookies (that took an infamously long time causing us to eat a lot of awful cookies), I was now teaching her how to navigate her adult self, her relationships with her husband, and herself as a mother.
I knew it had taken me too long to become a parent I was proud to be. I wanted to teach her how to be a better parent than I had been.
Rather than follow my family’s tradition of lies and lack of accountability, I decided to be as honest and accountable as I could with her. I decided to say things like ‘I really fucked that up’.
I decided I wanted to teach her how to be a better mother than I had been. I decided to admit where I had gotten things terribly wrong and be proud of where I had gotten things right.
A shockingly large part of this process is me keeping my mouth shut about what I think she should be doing, or how she should be doing it. Because, I am not teaching her to do things as I think they should be done. I’m teaching her to be far better than I ever was.
And that means when she does things I disagree with, I champion her anyway. When she fails as I figured she would, I don’t say I told you so, I tell her I believe in her ability to figure things out. I tell her to fuck things up is part of the process and we are all here in it.
All this uncertainty, heartache, and stress? Yeah, that’s adulting. Welcome. You’re not abnormal, none of us have it figured out, but we are figuring it out.
Adults have long tricked kids into believing if they follow a certain track or set of rules all will be well. We say this while we down our Xanax and drink ourselves to sleep. We say this while we hate our job, resent our spouse, feel like failures as mothers, and lie through our teeth about it all.
This is adulting as we know it kiddo. I want to be transparent with my mistakes and support you in changing the world. And that begins with you becoming a better mother than me.
I love you and believe in your ability to figure this out. ❤️