There is something sacred about mother-daughter relationship that leave many women feeling empty and less whole when a mother is absent from their life.
Face it. You don’t always bond with your daughter. She might be busy on the computer, the phone, with her friends, or with schoolwork. When you try to talk to her, she doesn’t listen, or just leaves the room. She thinks that you are embarrassing, and you don’t know how to change that. You may be busy as well, with work, family, money, and so much more. Do either of these situations sound like you? If so, you need to improve your mother-daughter relationship and overall bond. It might sound hard, but after a while, you’ll realize that it isn’t as hard as you thought. After all, she is your daughter. If, though, you still don’t know how to have fun with her and find a common bond, don’t worry. Below, I provide tips on how to repair a broken or strained relationship between adult daughters and their mothers, which serves to preserve or improve the emotional health of the individual, the entire family, and female bonds.
Set Up the Meeting
Schedule in advance a time and date to meet. Inform your mother in advance what the meeting will be about. Decide if it will take place in a private place, like your living room, or in a public place, such as a coffee shop. Weigh the pros and cons of a public versus private meet-up. Also, you should know in advance what it is you want to say to your mother and the message you would like to convey. Only involve the two individuals involved and primarily responsible for any past disagreements and repairing the relationship. The point is to avoid family members from siding with or teaming up against mother or daughter. Of course, after the initial reconciliation talk, other family members can come together and discuss the renewal of the relationship or how to help support the relationship.
I know this isn’t going to sit well with some moms out there, but you need to respect your daughter. I am very different from my mom. I am an artistic, free-spirited soul and she is an organized math-loving human. Respecting those differences and choosing to celebrate them and encourage them goes a long way. Do not put each other down, even if your daughter has done something wrong. Make sure she knows it was her action that was wrong, and that she herself as a human being is not a mistake. Daughters, even when you feel misunderstood or put down, voice your hurts in a kind tone. The best way for me to respect my mother is to open up to her and be honest about my hurt. It helps to put a stop to miscommunication before a big wall is built for no good reason.
Have patience; everything will not be “fixed” in one day.
Do not try to “fix” everything in one day; it is not possible. My mom and I used to go around and around in circles, going back to my seven-year-old hatred and my teenage angst; it was exhausting and didn’t solve anything. It only caused more pain. You can’t take back what has been said or done in the past. Part of moving forward is realizing that what has happened doesn’t have to define what your relationship is going to be in the future. Forgive the past while examining the roots of hurt feelings and mother-daughter drama will help build a stronger foundation, and that takes time. My words matter and knowing that root has helped me control my tongue and step back when I am feeling hot-headed. Take on one root at a time, and embrace the time it takes to go on the journey of healing your relationship.
Move forward from the conflict and toward healing. I suggest that mother and daughter plan time to spend together alone. It is best to start out with a short time period together, like at lunch, dinner, theater performance, or a movie. This time should be spent without siblings, partners, or children. I have found that when two people spend quality time together without responsibility to each other, they are actually more likely to enjoy each other’s company. After a few short periods of time together, then mother and daughter can work on spending longer time together, like at overnight events or family vacations.
Have the hard conversations.
Don’t be afraid of the hard conversations. Just because everything will not be “fixed” in one day, doesn’t mean you get a free pass on having hard conversations. Dig deep to the roots and have those hard conversations. Cry. Allow each other to share and don’t interrupt each other. When I am in a mood, I’m the queen of interrupting my mom and it makes her mad, which doesn’t help anything. Listen to each other completely, even if that means not saying anything at all and just letting the other person say what they need to say. It can be hard to hear, but in the long run, it helps each of you grow together and know how to move forward.
Have fun together!
This is awkward at first but start doing things together. Go shopping. Hit the movies. Craft together. Take on a house project. Start doing things together. A big moment for me and my mom was going on a mission trip together. My dad actually told us to go and “fix” our problems. While the trip didn’t “fix” us, it was a seed that bloomed years after it was planted. Years later, we painted my room together. A couple of years ago we went and got our nails done every month. Find something to do together and start to enjoy each other’s company. You can start building a stronger relationship today one discussion, act of respect, and fun activity at a time. Your mother-daughter relationship can be healed and made new as you start to prune away the dead branches and make way for the new fruit. Your relationship is worth the time it takes to heal mutually and build a firm foundation. Time together is fleeting; the time to heal and strengthen your relationship is now. Don’t wait.