Dear tired and weary mom of that challenging little girl,
Do you remember the first time you held that tiny little girl in your arms? Do you remember the kind of fierce love that flooded and exploded your heart when you first met this amazing little creation? I bet you do. The truth is, that sweet little girl that you held was tiny, but she was never weak. She possessed an inherent strength that you may not have seen right away, but it was there.
This little girl, although possibly not so little anymore, is to be treasured, nourished, protected, and loved. Don’t be afraid of her strength, for with the right nourishment and discipline, she will undoubtedly change the world in ways you can not imagine.
Her confidence comes from you, dear mom. You hold the keys to her heart, and therefore her strength and confidence as well.
Nothing but her belief in herself will hold her back.
At her worst, her strength will come out as unbridled anger, proudness, and arguing. At her best, it will flow in like shimmering waves of beautiful grace, self confidence, and empathy for others. Sometimes, sadly, this strength may lie below and the scuffs and scars of her world will make her strength seem dull, weak and pitiful. Her confidence may be hidden.
Some may prey on this perceived weakness. But those who love her will know that this strength is there and they will work to respect, nourish, and refine it.
Dear tired and weary mother, I see your tired heart and your feelings of pulsating love, pitted against your sharp and cutting feelings of inadequacy as her mom. Read: 6 Reasons why You are a Better Mom Than You Think
I see you watch her struggle to find her voice, and her confidence, or watch her spew too much power and control from her young mouth. I see your frustration and fatigue. I also see her bringing you so much love and so much purpose that your heart swells, and you remember that no matter the struggles, you would fiercely defend her with your life.
“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come” -Proverbs 31:25
Here are 10 ways you can help her grow in her strength and confidence, and in turn, strengthen your mother-daughter relationship.
1. Be present with her
This may seem obvious, but often we take it for granted. Being present means you are there with her when life is lovely and easy, and you are there when life is gut-wrenching and messy. Her strength will come from watching you handling life and giving her a sense of determination about her own struggles in life.
2. Believe in her
This child has strength and power inside her, and a little belief will bring this out beautifully. Talk to her as if she is smart- she is! Ask and value her opinion like it matters- it does!
3. Teach Her to be Strong by Showing Her How to Fail
Let her try and fail at things. Let her feel some defeat. Let her see you fail, and let her see you keep trying. Tell her she can do it, but also expect her to. If she believes that you think she can, then she will believe it too.
4. Discipline her
5. Teach her that strength is a gift to be used responsibly
Speak kindly and respectfully to her. Teach her that her words have the power to lift up of tear down. Teach her to use her growing power for good.
6. Laugh with Her
Life gets rough. Do your best to manage your own anxiety so that you can laugh and play with her, no matter what age. It shows her that problems in life can and should be put aside for moments of laughter. In stressful times this is hard to do; do it anyway. Laughter is great for you both.
7. Teach Her that Strength is Humility
Strength can be found in those who do not need to boast or belittle others.
8. Raise Her to be Confident
Confidence is different that being proud. Pride leads to failure, whereas confidence leads to respect. Confidence in herself will take her to places she dreams of, and will give her courage to try the things she is scared of.
9. Show Her Grace
In this life she will mess up, and get things wrong, she will lose her cool and handle things poorly- show her grace. This motherhood thing is not about controlling our kids and making them behave well. Its about raising them to be good adults. So don’t focus so much on her actions, focus on her heart.
10. Tell Her She is Special
She is unique, and has her own special strengths. She will do things at different times, and in different ways than others, that is OK. Someday, she will change the world, by not being the same as everyone else.
Dear tired mom, the refining of this strength and the growing of her confidence is one of your greatest jobs as her mom. Through the tantrums and the arguments, the eye rolls, and the nights of drama, the stressful tiresome days of long work hours and little free time; she sees how you react. She sees your strength and your tenderness, you anxiety and fears, your frustration and tears, you smiles and laughter, your grace and resilience.
Please also know that you are ENOUGH as her mom. You will not be perfect, and she will grow to do some things better than you in life. But you are what she needs.
Because in the end, the strength of your daughter is made up of all these things: love, empathy, grace, and the knowing of her worth.
“As for my girls, I’ll raise them to believe they breath fire”
– Jessica Kirkland