Here’s a fact: every mom just wants to find balance in her mother-daughter relationship. And these 3 mother-daughter adjustment insights will help ANY mom adjust more smoothly as her daughter heads off (or back) to college in the Fall.
Insight #1: She’s Home, But She’s Not
As an empty-nesting mom, this is an insight that you need to really understand. While your college-aged daughter may say she’s glad to be home, she would actually prefer to be out. Preferably out from under your oversight, that is.
What this insight means is that your daughter may give you mixed messages. She may oscillate between exhibiting signs and expressing sentiments of independence and yet still expressing her desires to have you to take care of things for her.
Understanding this insight is critical to your successfully navigating your mother-daughter adjustment process. Why? Because there will be times when you might get confused and even frustrated by your daughter not meeting your expectations of “adult-like” behavior. Examples of this could be her not
- voluntarily doing house chores or
- making sound financial decisions
- engaging in responsible socializing
But remember the context of her current adjustment: COVD19. If your daughter is one of the millions of current college students who were “kicked out” of their college “for the safety of the community,” then her growing up process was interrupted. As a result, she may feel stuck or stunted.
So, frustrations will likely surface—if they haven’t already—as a new kind of “tension” in your home. You, as an empty-nesting mom, are adjusting to a lot. Do bear in mind, though, that your daughter is also trying to readjust to new expectations you or others might be having of her.
It’ll be important, then, for you to make sure to check in with your daughter about how she is feeling about:
- the abruptness of the collegiate-related changes in her life,
- what she is thinking about regarding your family’s current flow, and
- when (if at all) she will be taking action to address her feelings and thoughts about her experience of being at home earlier than expected.
Insight #2: You’re Really Not Responsible For Her
Your not being responsible for your daughter is a major thing to understand.
Even if you have financial ties (e.g. paying some or all of her tuition; buying groceries, etc.) or emotional/mental ties (she can talk with you) with your daughter, the fact remains that your daughter is legally an adult and is responsible for herself.
That means you cannot (and ought not) infringe on your daughter’s SPACE — social, personal, attitudinal, collegial, economical — sensibilities.
This insight is fundamentally important to understand. The temptation, as her mom, is for you step on or take over for your daughter regarding her doing “adulting” activities and attending to her responsibilities. If you do this, though, then you will rob her of the opportunity to develop her independence. And it is that “robbery” that will become fuel for any friction between the both of you.
So, to mitigate possible friction in this area, you’d do well to have a discussion with your daughter to clearly communicate your expectations of her while she is living under your roof. Be advised that your daughter may not like hearing what you have to say about your expectations. However, don’t abandon your stance as her mom; just be clear.
Insight #3: You’ll Miss Each Other In Different Ways
The point here is that you will miss each other; it’ll just be for different reasons. .
Yes, COVID19 has “kept you (both) close” (e.g. under the same roof) physically for a long time. And, yes, you may wish you had your empty (nest) space back again. It’ll still be important for you to acknowledge that absence will make the heart grow fonder. However, the quality of that future fondness will be positively impacted if you make opportunity to build up your relationship while in proximity to each other now.
This is critical for your mother-daughter relationship to successfully transition during this time. Why?
Well, for an empty-nesting mom, it can be easy to start wishing things were different and then get bitter, stressed, or dependent on your daughter for support and companionship. Or you could start wishing things were the same as they were prior to empty-nesting and then have difficulty allowing your daughter to “grow up” and letting go.
Both of these possible scenarios could make you feel an undercurrent of pent up angst that may come across differently than you may intend in your actions or inactions with your daughter. And this may lead to feelings of sadness, regret, or (worse) guilt.
It will therefore be important for you to
- keep tabs on your (real) feelings
- communicate your heart desire to spend specific time with your daughter and
- be more intentional about the activities you’re engaging in with your daughter.
It might take a little while to not only understand these 3 mother-daughter adjustment insights but also navigate the relational impact COVID19 is having on the college transition process. So you don’t want to just sit on this information. Start putting this to work for you, especially if you want to find balance in your mother-daughter relationship and avoid having to deal with the stress of COVID19’s impact on your daughter’s return to college.
Want more mother-daughter relationship strategies? Well, my New FREE PDF resource “How To Advance The Ball 10 Yards In Your Daughter’s Field Of Life” will give you just that…and more!
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©Dr. Michelle Deering | All rights reserved.