This morning I had a discussion with some older friends. One claims her twenty-something daughter calls her four times a day to tell her every detail of her life. The other says her own mother is her best friend.
I asked how their mothers and how they as mothers weathered the teenage years. How did they manage to keep their children safe and within certain limits while also keeping a good relationship?
“It’s a matter of choosing your battles,” they both said. “I was a nervous mother,” one woman said. “I’d get very upset if they came home late and didn’t call. We fought a lot about this and I wish it could have been done with less fighting. But I think they eventually came to understand that I wasn’t against them having a good time, but I was truly worried about their welfare.”
The second woman said it was a combination of picking battles and keeping in mind that you don’t own the child. “Just after my son was born, my mother told me, ‘Remember, you don’t own him,’” she said. “You can care for them and nurture them, but they are not your property.”
I think those are good messages to keep in mind.