The Motherhood-Project: have you participated?
It was only after I had endured a most angst-ridden adolescence that I had read "Reviving Ophelia", a collection of anecdotes of a psychologist's work with adolescent women coming of age. Granted, as the daughter of two immigrants not fully accepting of "American ways", I didn't have the same experiences as the examples. Still, something resonated. When "Ophelia Speaks" came out, I was equally drawn to the stories, written by teenage girls themselves, reliving many feelings and emotions of being a young woman, in search of self, questioning and wondering, struggling and exploring (though I recall feeling the same sense of homogeneity in this book, telling myself I had to one day edit a book that would be more representative of the experiences of girls of color).
That was before I was a mother. Now, I have a daughter named Ophelia (can you believe?), aged 10. Roughly two years ago, we started to notice changes in our daughter's mood, behavior. She was becoming more assertive with us, of the annoying variety, and oh-so emotional. Tears were abundant, seemingly about mundane things. But, it all meant the world to her. We, as her parents, had a hard time dealing with these changes.
More than anything, I want to have strong, passionate, and confident daughters. I want them to feel comfortable in their skin, even if they are unlike the images we see on billboards or in the movies. I want them to speak, loudly and strongly, in public, with elders, with peers, with youngers. I want them to find their voice, know it and use it. I want them to dance and perform, for the love of it all, with little self-consciousness.
I think we have our jobs cut out for us. Raising conscientious and confident girls (or boys - saved for another post) is not easy.
On thing I have heard about is the Mother-Daughter Project. Groups of mothers and daughters have come together to support one another through the adolescent period and beyond, providing that important sense of community and sense of belonging, deepening mother-daughter relationship, while also forming strong peer relationships, all in the name of support and camaraderie during difficult times.
Have you participated in a Mother-Daughter Project group? How have you tried to strengthen your relationship with your pre-adolescent or adolescent daughter? What were memorable, meaningful relationships for you when you were an adolescent that you hope to replicate for your daughter?