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Watching my little girl grow into a beautiful young woman has been a pure joy for me. She has changed so much over the years, but one thing that has always remained is her kind, compassionate spirit…and that makes me so proud! Before she hit adolescence, we started talking more about her interest in fashion, dressing for her figure & the importance of modesty (thankfully, her school has a fairly strict dress code, so this hasn’t been a huge battle). I’ve always encouraged her to wear what she feels best in and, most of the time, she gravitates towards sporty styles for back to school. But, every once in a while she will surprise me & pick something very feminine…which I secretly love!
We went to JCPenney a few weeks ago on a shopping mission to round out her fall wardrobe & I was shocked when she chose this billowy floral blouse. Though, to be fair, she also picked up this cozy sweatshirt, these burgundy ankle pants & these suede sneakers. While she was trying on her clothes, I quickly grabbed this off-the-shoulder top, my favorite jeans & this luxe saddle bag. Embracing floral prints in rich colors like these is a great way to ease into fall before the weather fully changes. More transitional items to try include this navy wrap blouse, this burgundy print dress & this lightweight sweater.
c/o a.n.a Off-The-Shoulder Top (wearing an XS; comes in 3 other prints & 4 solid colors),
c/o a.n.a Jeggings (wearing size 4; also in black, white & dark rinse),
c/o Style Charles Echo Sandals (also in black), c/o Mondani Crossbody Bag,
c/o Liz Claiborne Earrings, Nails: OPI It Never Ends
Quite often, I look at her and wonder where the years have gone. I still remember rocking her to sleep in my arms like it was yesterday. And now she is a 13-year-old who is just as tall as me & who’ll only be at home with us for 5 more years. I may miss the sound of her tiny feet running across the hardwood floors, but I’m also grateful for this new phase of life that we’re in & for the beautiful bond that we have now. For those who are also moms to pre-teen or teenage girls, I thought I would share some suggestions of things that have worked well for us to stay close & keep open lines of communications as she maneuvers through adolescence:
1) Make one-on-one time a priority
Just before she hit puberty, I started being more purposeful about setting aside time for just the two of us to spend together. We have taken two different weekend trips (one to NYC & one to Toronto) and we regularly plan one girls’ day a month where we spend the whole day together (shopping, going to a movie, getting pedicures, etc.). We also love watching “When Calls The Heart” when the boys aren’t around.
2) Start a mother/daughter journal
Sometimes teens can have a hard time saying what they’re feeling outloud, so writing it down feels less daunting and gives them more time to process their emotions. We have developed a pattern of keeping a journal – she will write something in our notebook & set it on my nightstand. Then I read what she wrote, respond to her & put it back on her bed. Sometimes she asks questions, sometimes it’s simply expressing her frustrations & sometimes they are very sweet & endearing messages to me. It’s become one of my favorite things & has really helped us maintain open & regular communication. You can create your own or buy one with thought starters built in (search ‘mother/daughter journal’ on Amazon).
3) Encourage her interests
When I first had my daughter, I assumed she would be just like me…but as she’s gotten older, I’ve learned that certainly isn’t the case! Instead of trying to coerce her to do the same activities that I did in school, I’ve paid close attention to her interests & passions and the areas where she excels. She may not be naturally athletic & that’s okay – she couldn’t care less about sports! But, she is an incredibly talented writer & is truly gifted musically. So, we’ve begun to encourage her love for the arts & have sought to find extra clubs, camps & classes that will help her grow and develop those skills even further.
4) Don’t avoid hard conversations
As much as I’d love to bury my head in the sand when it comes to talking about hormone changes & her growing interest in boys, I need to show her that I’m willing & eager to tackle those awkward topics. I’ve found it the most helpful to share with her some of the things I was dealing with at her age to remind her that everything she’s going through is something I once faced too! This has really helped give her confidence & feel more comfortable opening up in these areas and verbalizing her insecurities with me.
5) Model humility & forgiveness
As moms, none of us are perfect – I make mistakes all the time and, being the adult, it’s important for me to set the example and apologize to her when I drop the ball or lose my patience. In the same way, when she comes to me saying she’s sorry for a bad attitude, I strive to give a grace-filled response & immediately offer forgiveness. Developing a habit of seeking to make things right when those situations arise will model for her a healthy self-awareness & a true compassion and care for others.