Yesterday, while having a heart to heart conversation with my adult daughter, I realized something. It was time to let go of the steering wheel and sit in the back seat of her vehicle, and watch and guide her (when she asks) as she drives. Our conversation started as, ” Brit, I really didn’t appreciate how you handled that situation.” Her answer was, ” mom, it’s how I feel, and there is nothing you can say to change my feelings about the matter.” It was at that moment, I realized that I was transferring all of my fears, doubt and past failures onto her. Further, if she was going to learn by what I deemed a mistake, she will have to be allowed to take full ownership over them.
As we agreed to disagree, I became teary eyed as I thought about all that I have done for her to avoid making my past mistakes. Or, any mistakes period! However, I was quickly reminded that although I too am close to my mom, and valued what she has taught me, I made my own decisions in my early twenties that was both rewarding and painful.
As parents, we tend to create a space of transference with our children (adults now lol) that, ultimately, can hinder their progress. While I have always taught, and lectured my children about being independent, a leader, loving, kind, non-judgemental, self sufficient, God fearing etc, I tend to take the steering wheel as soon as I think they are heading towards a mistake. Well, what last night showed me was, as a supportive parent, I have to trust that I have equipped my daughter with the necessary tools to survive in life.
Although I do not agree with her stance on the matter, I will respect her decision. Her life journey is her life journey, not mines. As she explores this journey called life, I will remember that part of who I am today, is as a result of making many mistakes.
The hardest part about parenthood, is watching our children’s journey from the back seat of their vehicle; praying and waiting for them to ask us for guidance. Mistake or not, we want to be a part of every journey (over bearing is what my daughter calls it. LOL).
One day, she too, will display transference towards her children. Only then, will she understand and truly appreciate what I was trying to save her from.
Being a parent does not warrant us the right to transfer our fears, doubts and past failure over to our children. Respecting their decisions, whether we believe, right or wrong, is all a part of building and maintaining a healthy relationship.
Back Seat Mom