Let me start by assuring you that I get it. We all get it. There isn’t a female on this planet who hasn’t felt what you’re feeling toward your mother in some form or fashion.
I don’t know the story behind your argument, but it doesn’t matter. What does matters is that you and a very important woman in your life have locked horns, and the tension may not subside without work from both of you.
I once learned in a college psychology class that being in a certain state of mind jogs memories of other times you were in that same state of mind. So when you’re happy, you recall other times you were happy. And when you’re mad at your mother…well, it probably calls to mind every fight you’ve ever had.
Maybe you feel this way. Maybe your mind has blocked every good memory of your mom – the nice things she’s done, the fun you’ve had, the sacrifices she’s made – and all you feel is anger or distrust. If so, remember the good moments too. Don’t be deceived into thinking your mom is your biggest enemy.
Clearly I can’t speak for your mom, but I assume that if she has shared this article with you (ideally on a good day, to save for when it’s needed), she is similar to me. I adore my four daughters, and it bothers me when we argue. I never feel good even if I believe I’m doing the right thing. I know that a mom is supposed to be calm, but sometimes I lose my temper. Sometimes I say things I later regret and wish I could take back.
And while I may appear fine on the outside – driving carpool, folding laundry, doing typical moms things – my heart is heavy. I worry that the very thing I want most with my daughter, a good relationship, is hanging by a thread.
My daughter and I once had a screaming match that came on the heels of several arguments. We both said hurtful things and agreed that our normally close relationship had started to feel rocky.
After she left for school, my husband found me curled up in my closet crying. I told him I just couldn’t figure out the right balance between loving her and still being her parent, correcting the attitudes and behavior that I don’t like (and know might hurt her long-term) while keeping a strong relationship.
Maybe your mom has never cried in her closet, but chances are, she’s struggled too. Even if you see her cooking dinner, talking to your brother, and acting like she is fine, her heart is probably restless. That argument she had with you is eating away at her, and she’s not sure how to fix it.
The truth is, you may have a solid reason to be mad at your mom. You may justifiably feel hurt, angry, or disappointed.
Maybe your mom pushes your buttons. Maybe she is overbearing. Maybe she is critical and rarely mentions anything you do right. Maybe your mom has checked out, or maybe she puts too much pressure on you, setting expectations that feel crippling.
Whatever the case, your mom is far from perfect. And deep down, she knows this better than anyone. One reason that moms are notoriously hard on their daughters is because we’re notoriously hard on ourselves. We tend to project our personal insecurities onto the girls we’re raising, and if we stay blind to this, we’ll push you away.
But remember this: Your mom is not your punching bag. She is human, and she has feelings just like you. She cares deeply about your opinion of her, and that gives you the power to break her heart. Please don’t abuse that power. Don’t think that your words can’t cut her straight to the bone, or that she’s any different than you in wanting to be loved, understood, and forgiven.
I get emails all the time from moms who tell me about their daughters. Usually their daughters have an issue, and they need advice. Our society stereotypes teenage girls as drama queens, but the parents I hear from sing a different tune. They love their daughters fiercely and notice every detail of their personality. They see their daughters as a gift.
So what is the next step after you and your mom argue? Reconciliation. Or as my friend Nicole says, you circle back around.
Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t let an argument come between you and your mom. Once you’ve both had time to cool down and think, talk it out. Apologize and admit where you went wrong, and then discuss the lessons learned so that your next disagreement doesn’t blow up too.
And then? Give your mom a tight hug. Tell her you love her and you’re glad she’s your mom. I promise it will make her week…maybe even her month!
A few weeks after my crying-on-the-closet-floor incident, my daughter handed me a book that she’d made in her 7th grade creative writing class. Her teacher had them write about their families, and my heart stopped when I saw she’d written this:
“I can’t wait until I can be a mother, and I hope my children love me
as much as I love my mom.”
The fact is, you need your mom, and your mom needs you. Especially at this stage of life you’re in – where every day is unpredictable, the pressures are intense, and your peers are mostly looking out for themselves – you need someone who has your back with no secret agenda or ulterior motives except wanting what is best for you long-term.
Right now your mom is making some hard decisions you may not agree with or understand until you’re older. She is trying to protect you while letting you grow up, doing the best she can with what she knows at the moment.
The mother-daughter bond holds a treasure trove of potential, and my hope is that you and your mom can enjoy the fun parts of sisterhood – like laughing, dancing, having deep conversations, and shopping – as you journey through life together. I hope your mom becomes your safe place and your go-to when you need advice on friends, boys, school, life choices, or how to help your dad understand that you’re no longer 6 years old.
So make amends and consider a mother-daughter movie night with a classic like Steel Magnolias. Actually, that one’s painfully sad, so maybe a chick flick like Legally Blonde or The Devil Wears Prada would be better. The point is to laugh, escape reality, and enjoy the nuances and secret joys that come with being female.
Your mom is for you, and when tensions start to divide you, I pray you overcome them. I pray that once apologies are made and hugs are exchanged, you and your mom are closer than before and better equipped to handle any future disagreements.
I’m rooting for you both. Take care of each other, and be good to your mom because she loves you more than you know. She’d walk through fire to keep you safe, and one day, when you’re a mom or mentor yourself, you’ll understand the depth of a mother’s love and the gift of being on the receiving end.
With love from Birmingham,
Thanks for reading this message today. Please share it on social media, or click over to the Girl Mom podcast to listen to “God’s Grace is Bigger Than Any Parent Fail”, my interview with Alice Churnock that offers hope for mothers and daughters.
My new book Love Her Well: 10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter is getting fantastic word-of-mouth as moms read it and tell their best friends to get it. It’s available everywhere books are sold, including Amazon and Audible. What a privilege it’s been to narrate my first book for moms!
My two books for teen girls, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know and Liked, have been used widely across the U.S. for group studies. For more posts, subscribe to this blog or join me on Facebook, Instagram and the Girl Mom podcast.
Posted by Kari on September 27, 2020