Our daughter Sydney a had long been looking forward to her 10th birthday. In her mind this would officially make her a tween and oh so much older than nine. Really overnight her wish seemed to come true. All of the sudden she looked older, which getting her ears pierced didn't help. She was trying to act older, but unfortunately this wasn't coming out in maturity. It was more akin to,
"This is me and my attitude and my style and if you don't like it tough."
My immediate reaction?
"Whoa, wait a second...um NO!"
Quickly followed by me thinking,
"Well she is older now. She does need her space. She needs to be able to express herself."
It quickly became clear I was in new motherhood territory and had no clue what I was doing.
As the days continued Sydney's attitude grew from bad to worse. Within a few weeks of her 10th birthday we had a full blown tween brat on our hands. I have to admit I have been at a total loss. Our mother/daughter relationship has been lacking the time and energy that it needs. I have felt as though I have lost any parental authority at all. The problem is that she knows it and the battle is on. There has been lots of,
"You just don't understand me."
Lots of slamming doors and big dramatic tears. And to be honest lots of me thinking,
"Forget it, she is going to do what she wants to do regardless."
Well today we embarked on the every eminent "fight of the day". Sydney had gotten some money for her birthday that she had been itching to spend. In her mind because it was her money, she thought she could buy whatever she wanted with it. However when I informed her that that was not the case; all hell broke loose. Right away I could tell by the attitude being spewed forth that she had her mind set on purchasing a CD I that I had already told her she wasn't allowed to buy. Yes, I have managed to draw some lines in the sand, but they have been just that. They have been barriers between my daughter and I instead of a symbol of trust, love and protection.
"Are you really telling me what I can and cannot buy with MY money?" She blurted out.
Followed closely with the classic,
"You just don't want me to express who I am!"
What came out next, I believe, was my best motherly speech of the week, thus far.
"You don't even know who you are! You are only ten years old! Ten! So let me help you. Let me show you who you are and help discover who you want to become. Because trust me [said music artist] is not who you want to be!"
A big fat,
coupled with the dramatic eye roll is the only response I got.
So into Target we went. I grabbed a few things we needed. (Oh and just for the record, I NEED everything that's in Target.) Then Sydney asked if we could go over to the music section. I agreed and we headed over. Sydney made a bee line for the CD she knew she wasn't allowed to purchase.
"Please Mom?" she pleaded.
"I guess she isn't THAT bad." I thought to myself.
"But she really isn't great either. She does have some positive songs, but also a lot of boyfriend, partying crap too that is just not tween appropriate. At least not my tween."
My brain continued to reel.
"But this would make Sydney so happy. She will think I am the coolest mom ever! I bet we wouldn't fight the rest of the day, heck maybe even the whole week!"
I was quickened back to reality with my daughter's voice dramatically stating,
"Mom, I MUST have this CD."
What was I going to do? Cave or stand my ground? Have a fight free evening or one with drama over me saying, "No."?
"Well lets see if we can find a positive alternative." I responded. "I bet we can find an artist who sounds just like her, same beats, but with a more consistently positive message."
So I headed over and picked up a copy of Britt Nicole's CD named "Gold".
"What about her?" I asked.
The daughter was not amused. But I told her I wanted her to trust me and that I bet she would really like it. Unbeknownst to her I had never heard the CD. Honestly, I am not one for pop music in any form. I did know however that she was an artist with a positive message and was hoping that she wouldn't let this momma down. Reluctantly Sydney tossed the CD into the cart.
As soon as we got into the car I cracked the CD open. I was hoping and praying that Sydney would like it and that I would be redeemed as the "coolest mom on the planet". I could tell by the look on her face that she thought it was just going to be super lame and she would be redeemed as the "poor restricted tween with no way to express herself".
Well, before the end of the first song Sydney chimed in,
"This is good, this is really good."
By the second song,
"This is awesome!"
And by the third,
"Mom can I get a Britt Nicole poster for my room?"
Waahoo! Success! Now, I must mention that our six year old son Parker was with this whole time. Upon listening to the new CD made sure to mention to Sydney that,
"You can tell this music glorifies God. And that makes him happy Sydney."
Hahaha...out of the mouths of babes or in this case, little brothers.
We listened to, and enjoyed(even me) Britt Nicole the entire ride home. When we got out the car I stopped Sydney, got down on her level and looked straight into her big blue eyes.
"Hey," I said,
"I want to thank you for trusting me today. It means so much to me as your mom."
A great big smile splashed across her face; which in turn made me tear up. I continued,
"I love you. All I want is the very best for you. I want you to be able to express yourself, but I want that expression to be rooted in something positive, something solid. Then you will become the young woman that you are meant to be. That is my heart's desire for you. Do you trust me in that?"
"Yah, I do."
She responded in her sweet, timid voice reminiscent of when she was a few years younger and not quite so head strong. The conversation ended with a big bear hug and the ever coveted,
"I love you Momma."
Ahhhh...my heart was full. I had done it. I had been the mom I want to be. Lovingly I had stood my ground. I had found a positive alternative. My head strong daughter trusted in my wisdom and learned that she could do so without her self expression being compromised.
As I write this Britt Nicole is now blaring on the home stereo and Sydney is busy busting some pretty cool dance moves. Will there be fights tomorrow? Most likely. More dramatic eye rolls? You can bet on it. However I feel like today I gained some ground in this challenge called motherhood. I added a little block to the foundation of my daughter's identity and in turn she added a block to mine. I don't have this whole momma thing figured out, but I am going to start thinking of ways I can add more blocks. Above all I will stand firm in this fight for her to become the young woman she is meant to be. Just as I will stand firm in being the mom I should be.