It’s a moment every mother dreads. Your daughter goes through one of her first relationships, before she’s had time to develop a thick skin, and the inevitable happens that you were waiting for.
THE END. You saw it coming from a mile away. But there is only one problem.
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As a mother who thinks any guy would be lucky to date her kid, there is a laundry list of things you’d like to tell her:
- He wasn’t good enough for you anyway.
- You’re better off without him.
- You’re too young for a relationship.
- Just go out and have fun!
- And my personal favorite…Tell him to go to HELL!!;)
The only problem with imparting your wisdom is that even though you KNOW all of the above is true, her feelings are still hurt. But what is the alternative? Do you let her wallow in bed for the next week and lose a whole 7 days of her precious life?
My mother is one of the wisest people I know when it comes to relationships. She helped me navigate those years with grace and minimal casualties. I only wish I had listened to her more often.
Anytime one of my relationships went south, we went through the same routine and it was BRILLIANT. It wasn’t always easy, but it allowed me to feel what I needed to, and with just enough time to not WASTE any of mine. And when it got difficult, she drummed the same mantra into my head; which I will absolutely impart on my daughter one day.
I remember one breakup in particular when I was in my early twenties. We didn’t date for that long, but at the time, I really liked him. Early on, he told me that he had a job opportunity out of state, but he liked me a lot too, so we’d try and make it work. I guess he had a change of heart, because 3 days before Christmas he called me to break it off. I was completely taken off guard, and I was hurt. So I did what I always do. I called my mother.
Through my tears I rehashed the breakup to her, awaited my instruction, and she never disappointed. She said what she always did:
“Ok, you have one hour to be upset. Cry, be depressed, tear up pictures, whatever you want. I’ll time you. When one hour is up, I’ll call you back and it’s done. You’re over it.”
And here comes the mantra:
“Because he’s not sitting home crying over you.”
BOOM. If anything will snap you out of your funk, that’ll do it.
I did exactly what she said. I sat on my bed and cried. I felt sorry for myself and wondered when I’d be done meeting jerks that didn’t give me the consideration I wanted. But it was that mantra that always rang louder in my ears than anything else, so typically I didn’t even need the full hour. Nothing makes you feel more pathetic than knowing you’re sitting home crying over someone who doesn’t care.
On the other hand, it’s pretty empowering to dust yourself off and move on in the blink of an eye. It was some of the best advice my mother ever gave me and saved me hours of wasted sadness.
Often times it’s hard to know what to say to our children when they go through hurtful situations. We, as parents, see the bigger picture and just want to take the hurt away. Giving them some clear navigation and allowance to feel, but at the same time not let the negativity take over, can teach them to reassemble their self-esteem all on their own.
There’s nothing more empowering than that.
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