I recently had a conversation with another mom about about her daughter, who’s somewhat wild ways are giving her mother stress.
Apparently, her daughter is going through what sounds like a destructive phase, in which she’s testing her limits, and her mom’s limits as well.
In this conversation, ‘Mom’ was telling me that she’d reached her limit with her daughter. To the point where she packed her up and sent her to live with her father.
My friend’s daughter is 18 years old.
When my daughter was 18, she packed herself up and moved out. I thought it was because our financial situation was just shitty, and she’d gotten tired of living “hand to mouth” with me. So she and her dad came up with a plan to move her out. Just so happens that it benefited her father in that he wouldn’t have to pay me support for her anymore.
I was devastated. I felt like a complete failure, and I felt like I’d been abandoned.
But I couldn’t let it sidetrack me then. My thought was, “he talked her into moving out, he can worry about her”.
So I tucked the emotion away in a little ‘box’, and I left it there.
In hindsight, I feel like I should have done a better job of dealing with it emotionally when it happened, because I’m actually dealing with it now.
Every time I think about it, it still makes me cry, and it happened 8 years ago.
Don’t get me wrong, my daughter is great now. And back then, she didn’t get into anything that one might consider “hardcore”; no drugs, no real “ratchetness” to speak of. She was just very “social”. She was never home. If there was a party within a 20 mile radius of where we lived, she was there. Everyone knew her. Not in a bad way, she’s just a memorable person 🙂
I wished back then that we were closer. I felt like I was her absolute last concern.
We never really talked back then. I was too busy trying to figure shit out, working my ass off to keep our heads above water financially, and she was busy being a teenager.
She had to. And I had to understand that.
I completely understand it now.
Her, doing what she needed to do as someone who needed to ‘test’ her own limits, had nothing to do with me or how I felt about it. She needed to hang out with her friends, go to work, experience what she needed to experience, regardless of how I felt about it.
It had nothing to do with me.
Now…my daughter is a completely different person.
She’s pretty much done everything she needed to do in those years. Now, she’s very level-headed, calm, and reasonable. She was what I used to call my “social butterfly” because she was never home, and now she’s almost the opposite. She loves being at home, just enjoying her life, being who she is, doing what she wants to do.
I love hanging out with her, more so I think because we don’t live in the same city anymore.
Anywho…back to my friend who is dealing with her own daughter’s issues.
She told me about how she stresses over her daughter’s actions, and everything she said reminded me of my own daughter. It also reminded me of how I was as a teenager, stressing my OWN mother.
I told her that her daughter HAS TO go through this stuff. We did! I asked her to remember all of the shit she probably did when she was her daughter’s age. I reminded her of all the dumb shit we did when we were her age.
It’s a minor miracle that we’re still here!
I told her that her daughter NEEDS to do some of the stuff that she’s doing. She needs to test her limits, she needs to have stories to tell her own daughter.
Will she get into drugs and alcohol?
But if she does, all we can do is pray to God and Her Universe that we raise our daughters (and our sons) well enough that if / when they try those things, they don’t “like” them enough for them to become a problem in their lives.
Of COURSE she’s got no fucking sense…NOW.
We didn’t either when we were 18.
But we’re here. And we have those experiences to think back on, and howl about over a glass of wine with friends.
We have our stories.
Your job is to keep an open ear, just to be sure that she doesn’t get herself into anything that she absolutely cannot handle. And even if she DOES, there’s only so much you can do.
I love my children. I’d take a bullet for any one of them.
But I love ME more.
I told my friend, now that her daughter is living with her father, let HIM stress about her.
As a mother, she needs to take this time to take care of herself. Mentally, emotionally, physically.
Her daughter will eventually become her best friend. Living with her dad will give her the distance she needs to see that her mom isn’t her enemy, and that distance will actually bring them closer. Given who my friend says her daughter’s father is, she needs to experience her dad, to really appreciate her mom.
She needs the time and space to mature, because she’s dumb as fuck now.
We think we know everything, but we’re ALL dumb as fuck at 18.
But if she needs to spend time crying in the bathroom over it, she should do that. If she needs to talk to someone (which I guess she did with me), she should do that too.
She says that our conversation has actually made her feel much better 🙂
And I felt better being able to help another mom get through what we all go through, with how we raise our daughters.