Mother and Daughter Relationships
“We’re either best friends or worst enemies. There’s no in between. Sometimes we can discuss the future in civilized and intimate ways. We connect and hug and laugh so hard; we’re in perfect sync. Then, other times, we can’t even be in the same room without insulting each other. She’s controlling, bossy, and constantly in my face, never listening or respecting what I have to say.”
Sound familiar? Without a doubt, mother and daughter relationships are the most intense, often turning their home into a battleground during adolescence. Whether the reasons for intense mother and daughter relationships are physical (some believe the dueling hormones of menstruation and menopause contribute to the strife) or societal (just when girls need independence, their moms need connection), the troubled bond is too important to ignore.
The good news is, according to Psychology Today, despite conflicts and complicated emotions, the mother and daughter relationships bond is so strong that 92% of adult women report positive mother and daughter relationships. What can you do today to improve the state of your union? Here are a few suggestions.
Choose your battles carefully, and wait to find a good time to speak about what’s troubling you. You might say, “Mum, there’s something really important I need to discuss with you. When would be a good time for us to talk?” Use a respectful tone and listen carefully, even if what you’re hearing is not making you happy. No eye rolling. Just because you come from different generations and have different outlooks, doesn’t mean mother and daughter relationships can’t be heard and understood.
Make time for each other. Mum and me classes should continue throughout your lives. Join a book club. Take a cooking class. Start a fitness regimen. Try out for a play together. Friendship and learning with mother and daughter relationships go hand in hand.
Volunteer together. Helping others often brings out the best in people, making us thankful for what we have and for those in our lives we love.
Write to each other. If there is something you find difficult to say, send a thoughtfully constructed written message to clear the air.
Show appreciation for mother and daughter relationships. When Mother’s Day or your mum’s birthday is near, you have the perfect opportunity. Don’t be afraid to go the sentimental route. Spend time choosing the perfect card, and then think about what you want to say on this once-a-year occasion. Include yourself and your relationship with your mom in the gift you pick out. Picture frames filled with a shared tradition or memory always works. What about a motherhood box: a chest for her to fill with her favourite keepsakes with compartments and pouches for everything from a lock of hair to your first report card. At your local print center, you can make personalized placemats, mouse pads, or travel mugs with photocopied birth certificates and favourite snapshots. Of course you can never go wrong with the old standbys: flowers, breakfast in bed, or a piece of jewellery!