This post: My Daughter, Someday You’ll Realize I’ve Always Been on Your Side
When my daughter was 16, like so many other parents of teen girls, we hit a rough patch in our relationship…
I was (or at least I felt like I was) the enemy. She fought me on everything.
Every boundary. Every “No, I’m sorry, you can’t stay out past midnight.” Every put your phone down and study. Every “Can you please clean your room?” And every consequence I had to put in place was met with full-on resistance and a big attitude. It was all so exhausting…
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No one told me it would be this hard. I heard about other parent’s experiences with their teens, but surely my experience would be different. My daughter and I were buddies. We went everywhere together and she shared her life with me. She actually liked me!
But something snapped when she turned 15 (enter the brunt of the teen years…) and by the time she was 16 I didn’t fully recognize the girl standing in front of me. I was prepared for the physical changes she was going through. I was even prepared for the unpredictable hormonal swings and a bit of defiance as she pushed for independence.
What I wasn’t prepared for was feeling as though I lost my girl.
Oh parents, I know how hard it can be. If you’re going through this right now, I feel your heartache with everything I’ve got. I understand your confusion and pain and the loneliness you sometimes feel and mostly, the “Where did I go wrong?” conversations you have with yourself late at night when the house is quiet.
When I found myself in what felt like the middle of a battleground with my daughter, I realized somehow, in some way, I needed to let her know how I felt and try my best to express to her what my heart was going through.
I also wanted her to know that I remembered what it felt like to be a teenager and how I came out on the other side of my young adult years realizing how important my mom was to me, how much I really needed her in my life, and how my mom was the only one in my life who really ever had my back… even though it didn’t feel that way, at times.
So, I asked my girl to lunch at a quiet cafe we both loved and I asked her to just listen… No retorts and no “But, Mom!” No trying to defend herself… I asked her to just listen. I knew it would be hard for her since she always seemed to need the last word on everything, but much to my surprise, she sat there with her iced vanilla latte’ and listened to me.
Here’s what I said…
My daughter, here’s what I want you to know…
Someday, you’re going to realize that I’ve always been on your side.
Someday, you’re going to realize that my goal in life isn’t to control you, it’s to protect you.
Someday, you’re going to realize that I ride every storm with resilience because I know you’re counting on me to raise you right… even if you don’t realize it yet.
Someday, you’re going to realize that putting those consequences in place to teach you important life lessons hurts me far more than they hurt you.
Someday, you’re going to realize that I cry more often than you know because making those hard decisions and feeling as though you hate me, at times, is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.
Someday, you’re going to realize that no matter how strained things become between us, my love for you is and always will be steadfast and unconditional.
Someday, I hope you realize that no matter what’s happening in your life, no matter what mistakes you might have made or what challenges you face, you can always come to me, lean on me, and count on me to stand beside you.
Someday, it’s going to hit you that when the world seemed to be against you, I was always there for you, supporting you and loving you through it all.
Someday, you’re going to look back at these challenging days and realize that I’ve been your truest and most trusted friend and will be until I take my last breath.
Someday, you’re going to realize that my heart beats for you, that you’re truly my world and nothing matters more to me than your happiness, well-being, and safety.
Someday, you’re going to realize that I love you with ALL my heart – today, tomorrow, and always.
After a long and silent pause…
I could see the tears welling up in my daughter’s eyes as she looked into mine. I could feel her defensive heart melting just a bit. And, when she finally spoke, I could hear the softness in her voice… she understood – maybe not fully, but perhaps just enough to make her realize my side, my feelings, my challenges, and my desire to be the mom she needed – even if it meant being the bad guy over and over again.
Lisa D’Amour, one of my all-time favorite authors (of books like Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Stages into Adulthood) has often said that teen girls will take their harshest meanness out on the one person in the world who they know will love them unconditionally – their mothers.
Our girls need us. And, as hard as it is at times and no matter how many lonely tears we cry wondering why, we have to stay strong for our daughters. Because I promise… if we do, if we keep doing what’s in their best interest, if we keep showing our love no matter how much they push away, fight us, or act like they don’t care, they will come around one day.
My daughter is older now and she’s often thanked me for sticking it out with her, for being strong even though it was hard, and for loving her with everything I had when she wasn’t quite so loveable. Let my daughter’s words remind you in your toughest moments with your own daughter that your day will come.
Stay strong, mamas… one day your daughter will realize. Until then… just keep loving her with everything you’ve got.
If you enjoyed, reading, “My Daughter, Someday I Hope You Realize That I’ve Always Been On Your Side,” here are a few other posts you might enjoy:
I Miss My Daughter and She Sleeps Right Down the Hall
A Letter to My Daughter Who’s So Anxious to Grow Up: You’re Going to Miss This
55 Best Quotes for Moms of Teen Daughters