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Wednesday
Mar142012

Odd Parent Out 

Isn't it interesting how we struggle with our own identities through our children? We want them to be like us. By that, I mean, our vision of who we are--you know, all the good stuff. I know that as my own daughter has grown and developed her unique sense of self, her individuality, her very strong-willed personality, I have always looked for those moments of me in her. Maybe this is partially due to the fact that she is practically my husband's born-again twin (my husband is already a twin, by the way). She looks so much like him--it's eerie sometimes. Once in a very blue moon, others will say, "Oh! I see you in her now!" She'll turn a certain way, or give a little look--sometimes I see it in pictures. She has some olive green in her eyes--they are not completely brown like my husband's and I think, "There I am." I even went to the baby pictures to find one of me that seemed to resemble her as if to say, "See...we are alike!"

Me (top), my daughter (bottom)

When she was three and began emulating everything my husband (who is a carpenter) did, wore, ate, said...it practically broke my heart. Each day, I hoped she would want to be more like me and less like him. And each day I made that wish, I would ask myself, "Why?" Wasn't I being completely selfish? Or was this simply a mom issue? It was not an issue for my husband who LOVED that she wanted to be like him. She was his "little buddy" running around with a tool belt on and climbing up and down ladders, hammering a nail with her work boots on. And I could only sit back and watch. My husband and I discussed this one day. I asked him, "What if we'd had a little boy who wanted to be just like me? Would that bother you?" This gave him pause. He wasn't sure about that, he had said. So, maybe it's not just a mom thing.

But I'm not going to lie. My daughter's seeming rejection of me hurt like hell. Regardless, I knew I had to get over myself. I knew that my daughter would be better off if I simply let her be her true self and not force her in any one direction. So that's what I did, and in the process I realized something: I actually don't want her to be exactly like me. Of course, I believe I have many, many positive things to offer her in terms of being a role model; but, truth be told, I hope she goes in a completely different direction than I did. She has the world stretched out in front of her with opportunities that I never had. She is already an accomplished musician (for six years old), a straight A student, a lover of tools and building. She may be an engineer, a scientist, president! But I'm starting to believe that being the odd parent out can be enlightening and liberating because it provides an opportunity for personal growth on many levels. There is no doubt that I think very differently now because of her. And, even though I know that as she continues to learn and grow there is a good chance she will be more like me, I also know that it's not about me. And that's a good thing.

Reader Comments (4)

What a beautiful, beautiful post, sigh. I know this feeling. My daughter is not really like her father or her mother, and is a rugged individual. She looks nothing like me either, although sometimes people see me in her, as you say. She became more like me as she grew. She is a passionate reader and writer, and that is an incredible bond between us that we both nurture. As Gabi grows, I bet you will have commonalities to share. But even if you don't, as her mother you are a hugely positive influence on her life! xo

March 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLori Day

Agreed, what a lovely post. Your blog and Facebook posts have been such an inspiration to me and have helped me to let my daughter follow her own path. It's not easy because she is so different from me that I sometimes have a hard time understanding her poiint of view. But your posts remind me time and again that girls need to be who they are, and feel good about that!

March 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllisonS

I always admire and appreciate when moms are willing to speak openly about the painful parts of parenting, be honest with themselves, and do the personal growth that inevitably comes with that. It is not easy to admit these types of feelings, so thank you for this brave post, and your brave blog. You have been an inspiration to me for some time. It is obvious from all that you do at PFZ how much you have allowed your daughter to teach you. It is an incredible gift to be that open to who are children truly are, and celebrate that. From a neophyte mom and blogger, thanks for all you do!

March 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLyla Cicero

As the mother of a 3year old (her birthday is tomorrow) I can say that not only has your blog/fb page inspired me.. But it has taught me lessons I may not have realized so early on. My daughter is quite like me in the sense that she has characteristics and mannerisms that I had as a child. She and I share many similar qualities but there are aspects of her personality that have still taught me, through relating to your blogs and posts, that it is as important (if not more) to maintain an environment that allows her to grow in her own way. She won't grow up with the same experiences as me or the same situation as me, and so even though we share commonalities, you have helped me to realize the importance of allowing her to be her own person. You've helped me to realize more vastly, those moments where I am almost unconsciously repeating things I was told as a child (from a parental perspective, to "teach") that didn't make sense or that I felt limited me. You've also opened me up to numerous other blogs and pages that share so many more lessons I've needed to realize. I can't thank you enough for your lessons and sharing them with the world! I have continued to learn and grow, through you and because of you. Wonderful blog!

August 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

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