Sally & Anna Meisenheimer
Being avid observers of life and having an innate curiosity of why people do what they do, we have decided to address general questions that help mothers and daughters, parents and children, and individuals grow together; to have strong and loving relationships, to support each other in life, and to maintain the roles that we have been assigned. As in all relationships, we may disagree on certain issues, but ultimately we agree on loving and communicating with each other. With that said, our first question is…
Dear MaD advice:
What do you see as mother and daughter roles once your daughter has reached adulthood?
I have always considered my role in my daughter’s life as to teach her how to fly, and no matter how old she gets, to maintain that role. There is so much to consider in the intentional raising of a fragile baby girl into an independent adult woman. There are times to hold close and times to let go, and these rhythms are constantly surprising, startling, challenging and ultimately joyous. My motto through my daughter’s life has been, “the right words at the right time”. Clarifying for myself what I am feeling, what I am concerned about, without speaking, has been the struggle and key to formulating and using those right words. I have had to defer to and acknowledge the roles of other important people in my daughter’s life without jealousy or worry that I was losing our relationship. Keeping current and relevant is what I find to be an all-important piece of any parent-adult child relationship.
I think all girls need a strong example from their mothers and other women in their life. My mother has always celebrated my spontaneity, strength, and strong-willed (sometimes stubborn) spirit all within the confines of a structured home and schooling environment. She has guided these traits in a direction that served me best – to learn and thrive. Most importantly, my mother led by example. She taught me grace in the face of adversity. That, above all, has shown me the power in failure - how to learn and recover from your mistakes and shortcomings, all with a smile on your face. It is beautiful. Our relationship continues to evolve; yet these values she taught me early have built a foundation of core principles that keep us connected. Without a doubt, there have been disagreements scattered along the way, and when my mother behaves “bigger” than me we have been able to resolve them with the least amount of damage. I have learned that “bigger” also means stronger, not weaker, and has been a role to which I aspire.
From Mother & Daughter:
Believe that we have made our great share of mistakes in this relationship, but have used a few general rules to get ourselves back to a loving place; no sarcasm, always listen before making a judgment, and even if we disagree, be respectful of what the other is saying. We try to celebrate each other’s strengths and accept and work on each other’s weaknesses. Saying we are sorry when we are wrong is one of the best ways of coming back together. Saying thank you and expressing love are other keys to maintaining our healthy relationship.
If your relationship is not where you’d like it to be, saying so is a first step in reconciliation. It may be as simple as saying, “I’d like to have a fresh start, as I feel I have made some mistakes along the way…and I am hoping that you feel the same.”
Putting these feelings out there without the expectation of an immediate response is the most heartfelt way to approach a broken relationship. Be patient and when they do come to you, use some of these thoughts and guidelines to open up your own ‘negotiations’.
If you have a question, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org