I’ve been a daughter for 60 years so far.
You’d think I’d be expert at it by now.
I’m still learning. Still exploring. Still discovering what it means to me.
The past 10 years have changed the way I think about daughterhood.
I asked friends and followers to share what it means to them to be a “good daughter.” The diversity of their responses reminded my how individual our paths and relationships are.
Inspired by their thoughts and Paul Simon’s tune 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, I created a list of 50 Ways to Love Your Mother.
There is no one right way, just as there is no one right way to be a good daughter. Only we can be the judge of our relationships.
50 Ways to Love Your Mother
- be caring, sensitive, and aware
- do well in school, don’t get into trouble with the law, stay clean and sober, don’t “sleep around” or have children out of wedlock
- know your daughterly duties and responsibilities
- question everything and be a rebel; question nothing and be a conformist
- keep in contact when you’re away
- do all you reasonably can lovingly
- take care of her when she’s sick
- understand her humanity and your own
- respect her wishes
- respect yourself
- advocate for her if she can’t advocate for herself
- do little things for her
- ensure she has good food, good shelter and good clothing
- care for her out of love, even when it’s not easy
- take what she taught you and build on it to become an extension of her with your own dreams, aspirations, and desires
- become a beautiful friend as well as a daughter
- stay close by her side to help her as much as you can
- travel far and wide to seek and find your own fortune
- be a good person
- understand neither of you is perfect
- forgive her and yourself
- grow into the person God meant you to be
- follow your heart’s desire and your dreams, and never forget who birthed you
- make her proud
- stick up for yourself and defend your rights
- stick up for her and defend her rights
- follow in her footsteps, replicate her life
- avoid making the same mistakes she did, lead a life unlike any she would have dreamed possible
- do stuff with her that brings her joy and pleasure
- protect yourself, even from her if need be
- know when to walk to away and know when to stay
- practice patience; practice more patience
- give her love and support when she needs it
- visit her regularly and spend quality time with her
- conquer your fears
- share your joys and sorrows, laugh and cry with her
- speak your mind
- heal your wounds
- listen, listen, listen to her
- think, think, think for yourself
- see and appreciate her for who she is
- love yourself because of yourself and despite yourself
- be loyal and compassionate
- eat sensibly, call home and drive carefully
- be your own person; have your own life
- be a good girl; be a bad girl
- live purposefully and do your best
- get up and keep going after you fall or fail
- hold her hand when you cross the road
- tell great, funny and touching stories at her funeral
This is by no means an exhaustive list.
What would your mother’s list for you look like?
What would your list for your daughter(s) look like?
Thanks to these daughters who collectively have about 1,000 years’ experience as such for sharing their thoughts with me:
Sally M, Belinda B., Joan L., Tami Beth L., Alice J.D.Y., Mona N. Rosario V.B. Wyld H., Kathleen M., Sheila S., Helen J. M., Mary M., Joan L., Kathy B., Glenna C., Suzette S., Edith R., British D.S., Alice J. D. Y., Jan R., Kim A. S., Denise A., Siempre M., Stephanie R. J., Alison R., Rebecca B., Beverly D., Suzette S., Sally M., Kathy B., Debie O., Carolyn T., Molly C-K.
Thanks to Tami Beth L. for this particularly touching story.
And oh yeah, thanks also to Paul Simon for helping us in our struggle to be free 🙂