The Challenges of Raising Daughters

When my girls were little, I was under the foolish mistaken belief that parenting got easier as they got older. I used to dream about the days when changing diapers, nursing, and severe sleep deprivation were a thing of the past. I imagined how much better life would be when they were finally able to manage their own basic needs; when I no longer had to fight with a three year old over wearing underpants under her dresses in public, or endlessly tie shoes. Moms, you know what I’m talking about.

The older my girls get, however, the more I realize how much more complicated parenting is now, compared to when they were little. Sure, I haven’t wiped a bum in many years but I’ve been wiping more than my fair share of tears as they learn to navigate the complicated waters that is pre-teen life. And I know that as they get older, life is only going to get more complicated.

More than once in the last year I’ve found myself in the middle of a conversation I would prefer to not be having. I’ve already found myself dealing with issues about sex and sexuality, how to deal with “mean girls”, what motivates men and boys and sexism in our society. You name it, I’m pretty sure it’s come up as a topic in the last 12 months. My policy is that if you’re old enough to ask a question, then you’re definitely old enough to hear the (age appropriate) answer. And while I might sometimes be a bit uncomfortable, and I may not always have the “right” answer, my aim is to always be available for anything they want to discuss. That’s part of my job as a mom, right? The good news in all of this, of course, is that they do actually ask these things. The bad news is that it means I have to answer all their questions.

But quite frankly, given the choice, some days I think I’d prefer to go back to wiping butts. 😉

 

2 Responses

  1. SERIOUSLY.

    In the past month or so, my 13 year old is retreating more and more to her bedroom with the door closed. I really am not happy about this but I know she needs her private time.

    *sigh* Talk about a helpless feeling.

    Here’s to wiping bums!

    • I think that part of the key is respecting their need for privacy while still being available for when they DO want to open up. It’s tough not pushing them, but I think that approach only backfires in the long run.

      My older sister (whose children are all grown now) has assured me that while they will pull away for a while, if you’re a good parent (and patient!), they will find their way back to you. 🙂

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