Friday, March 5, 2010

Mom spoke to me through Cabbage Patch dolls

Your Daughter is LISTENING, talk with her.

When I was a teen, I had a rough and rocky relationship with my mother. She worked hard to provide for us (I have two younger sisters and a younger brother), with her own day care and a brokers license. She made us do chores and we dutifully attended family meetings. She always made sure we had memorable Christmas's, even when that meant home-made Cabbage Patch dolls and hand-sewn Pound Puppies. She taught us how to bake and garden. I am sure that I was difficult to handle and rarely lived up to my potential. This rocky relationship continued through the birth of my oldest son when I was sixteen. She was my rock then, with me throughout labor and the birth (the babies father abandoned me). She gave me her big bed the first night I was home from the hospital and bought me Tucks pads to get over the episiotomy. She put up with my crying and my son's crying and even supported me when I wouldn't continue breastfeeding. I listened to my mom's advice and hung on every word she said to me about so many things. Sadly, she didn't talk to me ENOUGH. Consequently I sought out advice from friends and followed their advice, even though it was dangerous and wrong. I didn't learn my lesson and dated again and continued to sew wild oats through my teens and into my twenties. My mom was always there for me when I needed her, rescuing me every time. I have no doubt that she always loved me, even when she cried alone in the dark after every new disappointment.

So if I am so sure that my mom loved me through my teens and into my adulthood, why have I always questioned our relationship? The truth is, you see, what our mother-daughter relationship has always been missing is authentic communication. I have never felt like I could talk to my mom about everything and many times felt like my mother just didn't care enough to listen to me. LISTEN to me. I feel as though when I get up the courage to actually talk to my mom about something important, she closes up and shuts me out. Consequently, I have often chosen to keep many important conversations to myself and rarely share my fears, pains, or even successes with her. Our relationship is broken, has been broken for a long time. 

As I matured and grew into adulthood, now with six children of my own, communication has become an obsession of mine. I have read countless books, listened to many great communication masters share their secrets and have instilled communication skills in my children. Even my husband, who came into the marriage with broken communication skills himself thanks to his own parents, now communicates openly and honestly with me. We also all LISTEN to each other. We make communication top priority in our lives so that our relationships are clear and healthy. I am truly blessed to be able to teach my children to communicate effectively. 

My mother has been the most important person in my life, no question. My relationship with my mother, however, is a work in progress. As I work toward healing our bond and communicating authentically with her, I have found incredible strength in sharing my learned knowledge of communication skills with others. It is a great feeling when I hear tales of heartfelt, often overdue, conversations that are changing parents while they educate and connect authentically with their children. There are so many ways that we have, as humans, to communicate with each other. Communicating with our children is possibly the most important job we have as parents. We, as their primary teachers, must communicate with and educate them so that they will be successful and responsible as adults. The only way we can do this is through communication. Using words is only one way of communicating with them. Can you think of other ways we communicate with them? Next time I will share the way I wish my mother had communicated with me.  Please share the ways that you communicate with your children in the comments section.  Let's learn together :)

Sparkly Yours,  carmenAlisa, your Pink Pixie Princess