As mothers our struggles can unintentionally echo throughout our children's lives.
Daughters ages 13,10, and 2
"I honestly think we are patterned to repeat the things that we hear. Growing up those echoes would linger in my thoughts and sometimes they felt believable. But I would remember how I felt looking at my mother with all the love in my heart and seeing her worthiness and I would remind myself that sometimes our thoughts are not true." ~Amanda
As mothers, we want our children to witness us having hard times, making it through, and growing from the struggle. But what happens when our own struggles become a burden to our children? Amanda learned the importance of detaching her mother's struggles from her own.
Welcome to her Kweendom.
Hello Beau2ful's Philosophy is, "Who we are as a daughter, influences who we are as a woman, and impacts who we are as a mother. I call this cycle our Kweendom. Tell me about your Kweendom.
My relationship with my mother was based on some caretaking. That's something that I try to be aware of as a mother. I try my best to help my daughters feel like they don't necessarily have to care for me like ... I'm the grown up, they're the kids, not the other way around. My mother suffered from a lot of things that affected her self esteem and self worth. I can remember siting with her during those times listening to her struggle with her worth and value. It was confusing because the words I heard did not match how I felt about her. The love that I felt for her made me feel like she was worthy of all things. Yet, her words would echo in my thoughts. I honestly think we are patterned to repeat the things that we hear. Growing up those echoes would linger in my thoughts and sometimes they felt believable. To combat those thoughts, I would have to remind myself how I felt looking at my mother with all the love in my heart and seeing her worthiness despite what she felt or would say about herself. By remembering those moments I learned to constantly remind myself that sometimes our thoughts are not true.
Im grateful that I have been able to witness the progression and growth of my relationship with my mother. It amazes me to hear the stories of my mom and her mother together. I feel like each generation heals a little more from the echoes of past family wounds and therefore I am blessed to see my daughters thriving a little more as the next generation. I try my best to be very conscious of what I speak out loud about myself. I think it's perfectly ok for our children to see us struggle with certain things, I just make sure those things aren't tied to my self worth or value. It takes a longtime to build self worth especially if you didn't have the foundation in your childhood. I wanted to ensure that my girls have a strong foundation from the start. Mothering fills up my life. Sometimes I feel so fulfilled by it and other times can feel so overwhelmed. Mothering daughters in particular can feel so full of emotions. Each of their emotions plus my emotions means that there can quite possibly be four roller coasters of emotions happening simultaneously. (LOL) Currently I'm trying to focus on modeling healthy coping skills for managing my emotions and hope that will be enough to help support them as they grow and echoes positivity into their lives.
What society deems as worthy or valuable leaves echoes in our minds as well. I am very conscious of this with my girls. We are now a blended family and my youngest daughter has a different father than my older two and will be raised in the Islamic faith. When I was pregnant one of my daughters looked up at me with those beautiful big innocent eyes and asked " Mommy how will the baby know which one to choose... you know how will the baby decided between white or black." (LOL) Her innocence was so precious. Unfortunately, I've encountered strangers who questions were not so innocent.
I've encountered strangers asking me how long I've had my daughter assuming I adopted her because her complexion is different than mine. I've encountered people reaching out and trying to touch her hair or compliment her skin, which at first seems positive but at the same time gives me an uneasy feeling. That feeling in my gut is knowing they would not dare do that with my other daughters. I hear the echoes within the black community , especially among women of color, pertaining to micro aggression and I can't help but want to defend my daughter. For a while I thought... "am I making the actions of these strangers negative because of what I know about micro aggression? Like I would often wonder ...what if when she's older she actually doesn't mind people touching her hair. Should I allow her to decide that on her own or do I tell her that it's not okay? But then a few days ago my daughters were playing with her hair and she said as clear as day "Don't touch my hair." So even at two she is very clear on that stance. (LOL) As all my girls continue to grow we will navigate these things together and create our own echoes in the world.
Share a challenging issue you've had to deal with raising your daughter/s. Please share how you overcame it or how you're still working on it.
It has been a challenge for me to parent daughters who have innately different personalities and needs. One of my daughters needs to feel free, powerful, open, and unencumbered. She works best with authentic, honest information so she can choose what to do with it. Another daughter requires more personal space, softening of messages, and only the "important" information to be sifted through to her. Yet another daughter requires everything to be predictable and balanced, to find order in each of her days. So many needs to meet on top of my own. I've been trying to offer structure with flexibility, information in the context of relatable stories, and scheduled time with each of them individually so we can simply focus on each other and not have to bargain with others around us.
Love is an action word. In what ways have you shown your daughter/s she is loved and how she should be loved?
One of the things that has come up for me as a mother of daughters has to do with consent and the right for pleasure. In whatever type of relationships my daughters form, I want them to know that they can choose how to interact with others and that they can always change their minds at any time. Love is the most beautiful gift of all, and it is most beautiful when it is unconditional. We should be able to consent to love, to speak to how we desire to interact with those we love, and to express any of our desires within any relationship we form. At times, I practice with my daughters, asking them to describe how they want their back stroked, or their hair brushed, or their feet rubbed...too hard? too soft? slower? faster? Just right? I feel like it gives them permission to have a preference and to pay attention to their bodies and what they desire. This is something I hope they learn about themselves.
If you have more than one daughter how do you celebrate their differences and share your time?
It is a hard thing to do. Lately, we've found a groove on Sunday mornings. One of my daughters wakes earlier than the others. I've started taking her out for a swim and grabbing breakfast for the four of us on the way home. That way the other two don't mind missing out in the morning as we come home and wake them with goodies to eat! Then I have the babysitter over for a few hours of play with the youngest daughter while the two older ones and I go for a trail run in the nearby woods. It feels good to be active and get some time without the toddler holding us back. I'm hoping to build on this new tradition.
Embracing one's culture and heritage is essential in the transition to womanhood. How have you celebrated your culture/heritage with your daughter/s?
We try and honor family traditions and learn about our great grandparents. I've been trying to learn more stories from my parents and grandparents to pass along to them. My youngest daughter has a different father than the older two, and will be raised in the Islamic faith. It is a delicate balance in the household upholding multiple traditions in this way.
Kbeau2ful's Final Thoughts:
As children our minds are like a deep dark cave. The words we hear echo off the walls of our thoughts long after the words have been spoken. We hear those words so much that we often start to believe them even if they are not true.
Amanda's story teaches us the importance of speaking positively to our children not only about themselves, but more importantly about ourselves. Amanda's story also teaches us the important of progression and growth as mothers. Our struggles are not our children's burdens. When we take the time to grow and acknowledge that, our healing will echo through their lives and the lives of generations to come.