Do you remember what it was like to be a new mom? I remember a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. Whether it was our first baby or our third, I remember those first nights, exhausted but so scared. What in the world was I doing? I had no idea how to be a mom! I remember wishing all the time that my babies came with some kind of manual!
Well, fast forward a dozen or so years, and I am realizing that with bigger kids come bigger issues. Bigger worries. Bigger questions. And still, there is no manual.
Recently, I had a wonderful portrait session with some of the sweetest teen girls, who happen to also be students of mine. I even got some of their moms to join us for the afternoon.
Part of the portrait project involved them sharing their advice with me. I wanted to hear their voices, so that I could offer their thoughts to other moms out there who might be looking for some help.
I thought MAYBE I could create a sort of “mini manual” for my moms. I’ve decided to write these out in list and bullet form. Each listed statement has a few bullet points below it. These are the words of the girls themselves. Rather than paraphrase what they said, I’d love to share their exact words with you.
“Teenage drama is not fun.”
“Mean girls are still around, trying to bully me and take me down.”
“It’s hard to live up to the expectations that society puts on us girls.”
“My favorite way to connect my mom is when we sit down and chat right before I go to bed. We talk to each other about the good and bad things that happened throughout our day.”
“I wish moms knew that we need space and we have bad days and we act moody, please try to understand.”
“I wish [my mom] knew that sometimes I just need be alone.”
“My mom’s voice is my inner voice. So the way you speak to your teenage girl will also become her inner voice. I advise you to be mindful of everything you say.”
“Even though your daughter(s) may not admit it, you are the most important thing in the world to them and no matter their age they always need you.”
When asked what they see as most beautiful about themselves, the girls said:
“I think the most beautiful thing about me is my strength. I am a very strong person, and my mom is too. I think I grew up seeing just how much strength my mom has, that I developed it too. I love my mom more than anything, and I'm so glad that we are both strong, beautiful, incredible people.”
“My mind. I believe it’s the most beautiful thing I possess.”
“My compassion for others.”
“My parents always tell me that I have a big heart. I try my best to be a generous person and show my love to those around me. Even when I have my poker face on, one look into my eyes and you will understand every emotion that I am feeling.”
How awesome are these girls? And how awesome are their moms! These moms are doing it right. And you know what, Mom? So are you! Just the fact that you are here, reading up on how you can stay connected to your daughter, how to understand her better- it shows what a great mom you are. So keep it up!
I thought it would be fun to create for you a pretty reminder of these FIVE FACTS. And so that’s just what I did! I created a screensaver FOR YOUR PHONE (how fun!) to help you remember these few tips, and mostly remind you that you’re doing GREAT!
I also want to share with you the link to my FB Group, Love Through The Lens. It’s a group for moms with teen girls, and it’s a great resource to find encouragement and company on this road of mothering teen girls.
We’re doing ok Mom, and so are our girls.
Special thanks to the amazing girls who contributed to this portrait project. And thanks to the amazing moms who are on this journey with them.