Raising Daughters

I only have one daughter, but while visiting her this week and watching her interact with her two daughters, thirteen and nine, I’m grateful that after my girl was born, I had two boys.  Boys are easier.  One girl is hard enough.  Two can drive you nearly crazy.  Three can take you straight to the Loony Bin, drop you off, and throw away the keys.

My granddaughters are terrific girls, smart, talented, generally thoughtful, at least to people other than their mom, and I have no doubt that when they grow up, they are going to be amazing women who do great things.  It’s getting them there that is a trial. I only have to be a witness to the process since I live so far away.  But my daughter has to be in the trenches day after day, and it is taking its toll.

I think back to my years of raising this precious daughter of mine and try to remember the details of that time.  A few moments stand out, like when she sneaked out of the house in the middle of the night with a friend who was on a sleepover, and I didn’t discover it until the wee hours of the morning when I went to check on them and found my daughter’s room empty.  You don’t forget the feeling of calling someone at 3 A.M. to tell them that the daughter they had entrusted to you is nowhere to be found.  I know there was the eye-rolling, the “Oh, Mom” moments (two syllables on the Mom), the monthly moodiness, and occasional deceptions (forging my signature on a progress report she didn’t want us to see), but I don’t remember the day-to-day head-butting and whining and complaining I witness my daughter experiencing. It wears me out just to watch her, and I know it exhausts my daughter.  Raising boys involves much less drama.

Was my life as a mother raising a daughter as wonderful as I remember?  I have vague stirrings in my memory that it was not, but what I’m left with now is that all the good times far outweighed the bad.  And I have seen my granddaughters in many moments of graciousness when they were so kind-hearted and loving to their mother.  But when I watch my daughter engaged in a battle of wills, or being taken for granted, or hear the  backtalk, I want to say to her, “Some day your memory will present a different picture of this time, sifting out the painful moments, or at least dulling them, and you will be left with the wistful feeling that your time with your girls was all too brief.”  I know this to be true, dear Daughter, because it happened to me.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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8 Responses to Raising Daughters

  1. Val says:

    I don’t have any children so can’t comment from a mother’s point of view, but remember how I was as a teenager, whooo – I’m glad I didn’t have to go through that and raise a girl! Boys are less moody, probably, and they don’t get periods, so maybe that’s why they’re easier?

    • comingeast says:

      I’m sure that is the biggest part of it, but I also think there is something about the dynamics in a house when there are two females. My son-in-law is a saint because he has to deal with three! Plus, the dog is even a female!

  2. When I was pregnant with my now 6 month old daughter, I heard from several people that by the time they hit 13, girls become possessed. Being a girl, I can only assume this is because of puberty?

  3. judithhb says:

    Hi Susan. One daughter followed by one son. My husband used to say that he would come home and find one of us (daughter or mother) dead on the kitchen floor. I raised her to be independent and boy was she. I have a vivid memory that stands out. She sitting on the kitchen bench while we discussed whether she should go on the pill at 16 – but yes Mum, I do want to spend the rest of my life with him..
    But I also remember the other times when there was no disagreement between us like when she picked me up from the dentist after having a couple of teeth removed, took me home and settled me on the couch with a pillow, throw and my book. These memories far outweigh the others.
    And now she has two boys of her own. I wonder how she would have coped if one or both had been daughters.

    • comingeast says:

      Beautiful comment, Judith. The relationship between a mother and a daughter is so complicated, but I’m so glad I have one. And now she’s my friend as well as my daughter, and I’m loving this phase of our relationship. Love our memory of when your daughter pampered you after your dentist appointment. And your line about your discussion of the pill—priceless!

  4. I know my kids are still fairly young, but I have to agree with you… my son seemed easier. I’ve heard raising daughters in the beginning is easy, but just wait until they’re teens! I have to agree with this as I used to be one and I remember the hell I put my parents through (although I turned out okay in the end, I’d like to think!)

    • comingeast says:

      More than one woman in the house means inevitable trouble! When you know what problems you caused your parents at times, you can only be nervous for what’s in store for you!

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