Do you remember the year you turned nine? How about twelve? I remember. I remember playing outside with my friend Erin. I remember my Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. I remember my mom’s chocolate cake and watching Auburn games with my dad and roller skating in the street. I remember when my brother was born and thinking I had the best life ever. And then something started shifting. A transition.
I remember walking a friend down the big hill in our neighborhood—I even remember which house we were in front of. She began explaining to me how gross it would be on the first day I got my period. And I was horrified. It was like my childhood of fairies and dolls and glitter went right down the storm drain as we passed it.
The reality of growing into a woman with actual problems stared me straight in the face. And I was not a fan.
On that day, the transition from girlhood to womanhood was something I viewed with fear, dread, and confusion.
Luckily, I had a mom and a big sister who didn’t let me walk that transition alone. I moved from little girl to teen with many more conversations that led to excitement empowerment. I had a safe place to go when I had questions. And I found out that growing up wasn’t so bad. Ultimately, I had the blessing of an intentional connection with my mom that is priceless for every growing girl.
Fast forward, and I’m the mom of two girls. They are both in this same phase of transition. And, they are straddling two worlds. They still play and wonder and imagine and enjoy the innocence of childhood. However, they are also learning and growing about what’s ahead. We are leaning into new topics together about their changing bodies, friendships, emotions, technology, and more.
As a mother, this new phase may give you your own feelings of uncertainty and doubt. But I encourage you to lead with confidence. This is a new opportunity for necessary connection with your daughter. Every tween girl needs her mom or a mom-figure in her life. From a mentor to big sis or special aunt–a mom-figure provides a safe place to ask questions now, and in years to come.
I want to remind you that’s it’s not all on you. And you are not alone. Here are a few things my mentors have taught me that I’d love to pass along to you.
1. Listen more than you talk. As a girl who loves to talk, this one is hard. But my girls need me to talk less. They need me to listen and learn how to let them share. I don’t always have to fix it. In fact, if I over-fix, freak out, and always solve, they will come to me less often.
2. Ask questions often. I have found my girls are way smarter than I realize. Asking questions keeps them talking. And not always about serious topics. Ask them about their interests. Get to know them as unique girls. Be fascinated by them. Learn about their friends and fears and dreams through great questions. There is one guarantee about raising kids—you are going to mess up. And emotions get heated with moms and daughters. Lead by example and apologize first. Take ownership for your part and she will learn to do the same.
3. Ask for wisdom. When I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself to return to the One who made my girls. And that all of this is not on me. This practice of reading God’s word, prayer, and seeking wise counsel allows me to gain a higher perspective on the pressing situation. I want my girls dependent on their perfect Heavenly Father and never on their imperfect mother. As my late friend Wynter Pitts said to me, “Our job as moms is to walk our girls through their problems, not around them.”Let’s go to the Lord for wisdom and teach our girls to do the same.
4. Enjoy them. The busyness of life often crowds out the fun. Don’t forget to enjoy your girls. Find something you can do together to connect. They just want to be around you. Find a new adventure or hobby. Take a walk. There are 20 suggestions you can try over at TreasuredGirlz.com.
Take a deep breath, Mama. God chose you to mother your girls. If they needed another mama, they’d have one. They have you. And you are enough!