Asking if motherhood is relevant is like asking a human body, “Do you need a brain?” Every mom wants to feel needed. But isn’t that relative?
If you consider one definition of the word relative, then the answer would seem to be “Yes.” Your daughter is connected to and (in the early stages) is dependent on you.
However, if you pause to consider the definition of the word relevant (having significant or demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand), then you just might wonder if the two words are actually saying the same thing.
As you consider your New Year SMART Goals, bear in mind that the “R” stands for your (mothering) goals being Relevant.
Something That’s Relative Does Not Mean It’s Relevant.
Just because you are doing something for your daughter doesn’t mean that it is relevant to her.
From the time my daughter, Jasmine, was a toddler, I noticed that she was very creative. She liked to tear of up her dolls’ clothes and “repurpose” them into other types of garments for them. So, I began buying her small things–sewing kits, fabric, etc.– to help her along with her fashion sense. I did this all through middle school…and she gladly welcomed the gifts.
As she got older, we even religiously watch Project Runway together every week!
Jasmine is also gifted at dancing and choreography and had been taking dance class at different points in time between kindergarten and middle school.
When she got to high school, she signed up for a fashion design class. One day, I got her a sewing cutting board. She responded to my gift my saying that I didn’t need to do that because she wasn’t “into” fashion anymore.
You could’ve knocked me over with a feather.
When did that switch happen?
Bottom line, fashion wasn’t relevant to her anymore…and I didn’t see the signs of it.
Because I was busy on the treadmill of doing mothering things—schedules, car pool, activities, dinner, work, homework, etc.
And what happened?
Unknowingly, I had become like a lab mouse hitting the lever (e.g. getting her fashion-related things) and getting the pellet (her positive reception), thinking everything was fine.
I got lulled into the realm of assumption.
Assumptions can cloud your vision
as you move towards your goals.
So your goals need to be relevant–having significant bearing on the matter at hand.
Know The Pulse To Know The Relevance
The matter at hand is not the status of your mother-daughter relationship. (e.g. “we’re close” or not)
The real matter at hand is the state of your mother-daughter relationship. (e.g. the “same page”-ness, “in-the-know”-ness)
Is your mothering relevant to–on the “same page” with–your daughter right now?
It’s been said that if you’re not relevant you’re outdated.
When it comes to mothering, especially amidst all that you’re juggling as a mom, it’s easy to get lulled into thinking (assuming) you know what’s going on with your daughter. However, things can change without your knowledge.
And by change I mean the things you thought were indicators of how your daughter is doing might be different because her circumstances or situations are different, even in subtle ways that neither of you may (consciously) know.
Or, things may be outdated because of the way you both are seeing situations and circumstances in your own lives, but may not be able to clearly communicate.
If your mothering is not relevant to where your daughter is in life then you’re not giving her life.
And how do you check if something is alive?
You take its pulse.
How To Take The P.U.L.S.E.™ Of Your Mothering.
The key to making your motherhood relevant is to make sure that your finger is on the pulse of what’s going on in your life and the life of your daughter.
How do you keep your finger on the P.U.L.S.E.™?
Preparation for motherhood is important so that you will be responsive and not reactionary to situations that will arise.
Getting prepared is a powerful proactive step you can take to ensure that you have the resources that you will need to address those situations.
Understanding is what will furnish the type of relationship you are building with your daughter. This takes work.
Developing understanding in your mother-daughter relationship is similar to furnishing a home. You first need to know the layout of the house (of your relationship) and the function/purpose of each room (in your daughter’s life).
Only when you know that will you then know what furniture to put in it (that is, if she wants it in there!).
So it is important to understand the context of what is going on in her life.
Learn has to do with being open to learning new things. Both you and your daughter are undergoing changes. So, who you both were at one point in time won’t (always) be the same at another point in time.
So, don’t assume. Learn.
See has to do with making sure that you see your daughter for who she really is and not who you think she is.
Seeing—clearing your eyesight so that you can see—can be really hard to do sometimes.
Because we all wear glasses of some kind that are stain-colored from past experiences.
Engage has to do with being willing to engage with your daughter in a way that it might be new and uncomfortable for you but might be the very thing that she needs for you to do.
Remember to try engaging her in and/or on her own turf. Be willing. Be engaged.
Take some time today to pause to consider taking the P.U.L.S.E.™ of your mother-daughter relationship.
If you find it difficult to do, download my FREE PDF (https://bit.ly/GetHer2Talk) for 5 Tips on how to jump start this aspect of your relational conversation.
Copyright 2020 Dr. Michelle Deering