When I was 20, my daughter’s age, I was inundated with advice and pressure from my mother to do everything the way that she wanted me to do things, and boy oh boy, did that bring on some serious drama. To the point where I was kicked out of the house. I furiously rebelled and did the opposite of what she told me to do, even when I knew she was right. I did the opposite mainly because she was so persistent about me doing things “her way” and wouldn’t indulge me at the least to try and see things from my perspective. The point is that in her mind, I was still a child, who wasn’t entitled to an opinion (even at 20) and should continue to do as I was told… period. I told myself that if I had children, I would never pressure them with such ridiculous demands.
Fast forward to some 20 some years later and yikes!! My words have come back to haunt me! Oh man… they come quicker than we want them to. My daughter will be 21 in two weeks. She’s a film major completing her junior year in college and was recently presented with an incredible opportunity that would send most parents into a tizzy and them some! I’m still laughing… laugh or cry? In my eyes, she’s still a baby, who’s not quite as hip as her counterparts (or so I think).
She left today to go on a Four-City East Coast Tour with an upcoming Hip-Hop Artist who’s the opening act for a Grammy Award Winning Hip Hop Artist & Producer. She’s filming a documentary on this promising (so I’m told) hip-hop artist, so she’s following him with her camera everywhere on the tour.
If this had been me, my mother would have forbidden me to go and when that didn’t work, she would have put up every roadblock humanly possible to prevent me from going. Although I have reservations, and more so about particulars regarding her safety, I feel very strongly that I have to give my daughter her space to grow. She must grow as an artist, as a person, as a professional, and as a woman. She will never grow with me smothering her with overbearing advice, so the challenge is finding the balance. Being able to give her advice without being overbearing, offensive, or judgmental; yet supportive and encouraging. It isn’t easy, but is very possible and I am living proof. I’m confident that I’ve been successful of this for two reasons. First, the mere fact that she told me about the tour, because she didn’t have to share it with me. Second, she invited me to attend one of the concerts and, you bettcha! I will be there popping my fingers and jamming to the beat- all the while, checking out who’s on stage with her and then some. With any luck, I’ll get to meet the artist whom she’s filming the documentary on. After all, in addition to being her face book friend, I guess I’m a cool enough mom because I’m her subject’s face book friend too.
If all goes as plans, I will be attending one of the concerts this weekend and will definitely post on my experience.
I also want to say that allowing my daughter to grow is also allowing me to grow as a parent and as a person. With a seven year old son coming along, I’m certain that I will need to further adapt my parenting style, as all children are not the same. Raising a daughter hasn’t always been easy. For me, the later teenage years were the most challenging. I feel as though we’ve ridden the wave of turmoil and now it’s time for my daughter and I to get to know one another as adults, something that I still haven’t been able to accomplish with my 76 year old mother.