Encouraging Your Daughter to be Self Sufficient.
Mother and Daughter Bond
The bond between mother and daughter is undeniably strong and there is always the urge to keep them at home for as long as possible. It is scary for both of you to face her going out into the wild world alone but there are a few tools and tricks to teach her before she is even thinking of leaving the nest. Some daughter might be bursting at the seams to escape the scrutiny of the third degree every time they set foot in the front door, but for others they can be very comfortable in the knowledge they don't have to worry about what to eat for dinner let alone have to cook it and their clothes magically appear freshly washed and folded neatly on the end of their bed. The key here is to make it okay for both of you, for mothers to let go just a little and for daughters to look forward to truly starting their life's adventure....without holding mum's hand.
You Are Their Teacher
From an early age kids are inquisitive, wanting to watch you cook, to stir and lick the spoon of its cake batter and help you spoon the batter into the pretty coloured papers. Asking endless questions about why you are doing just about anything and everything and yeah, sure it can be tiring to answer all those questions, but if you take a little time and patience you will be helping them shape their future.
Flash forward 20 years, your daughter has moved in with her boyfriend, or even embarked on marriage and she phones you in a panic because his parents are coming for dinner and she has no idea how to cook the chicken, let alone how to make the gravy......sad story but common and embarrassing for everyone. If only you had thought to encourage her participation more when she was so eager and full of questions.
Well all I can say is if your daughter is already an adult and short on house keeping skills, then you'd better buy her a good cook book and while you're at it, maybe one on general housekeeping as well. After all she can only survive for so long on takeaways. If however your girl is still young and eager with those questions.......well let's stop chatting and let's get cracking.
Kids In the Kitchen
Don't plonk her down in front of the telly with blocks and books, encourage her to take the walk with you around the house while you pick up the dirty laundry from the floor, make the beds, dust etc all the while talking to her telling her what you are doing and of course letting her help. Helping is one thing all little kids love to do, they might be pretty bad at it but they have to start somewhere and it's best it be here with Mum than later with the impending visit from future in laws. As you girl gets older you will know instinctively what she is capable of, you might let her whisk the eggs at breakfast or butter the toast, set the table, make mummy a real cup of tea. And don't, whatever you do, forget the praise, even if the job wasn't that great. Praise will encourage her to want to help you again next time. And most importantly it is laying the foundation for stress free co habitation.
Sadly a lot of children, and specifically in this hub I'm talking about daughters, miss out on basic life instructions. Some parents are just too busy with juggling jobs, housework and generally living their life these days to take the time to ensure the skills they may have learned from their mother will be passed on (sometimes with improvements) to their daughters. Like sewing on a button, taking up the hems of skirts and jeans, boiling an egg, sorting the laundry so as not to have all your whites turn out pink or grey...Oh yeah!....and pegging it out or putting it in the drier at least on the day it was washed and before it starts to smell like old socks. These are just some of the chores that kids can tend to take for granted unless you instruct them that it is part of everyday living. So unless they plan marrying prince charming and having a bevy of maids and cooks at their disposal, they had better listen to your advice.
Help Around The House
Time To Leave
When it comes time for her to leave, you want to feel confident in her abilities as much as she wants to feel confident in delivering them. My daughter left home at the sweet age of sixteen. I had been a single mum for some time and found I was losing the strong relationship we once shared due to her age and a change in living arrangements. She decided she didn't want to stay with me and had been offered a room at her boyfriends mothers house. I reluctantly agreed. We stayed in close touch and I tried not asking too many questions, slowly the strong connections returned. She thanked me for allowing her a chance to grow, some of the lessons she learned were difficult but the time away from me showed her what she was made of. She also thanked me for trusting her and encouraging her to make decisions and being there for her when she made bad decisions. On reflections this period was a huge learning curve for both of us and I am not suggesting to any of my readers they allow their daughter to walk out the door at sixteen as every teenager/young adult is different. What needs to be remembered is that our girls need encouragement, direction, praise and access to good role models. (hopefully their mum). Allowing them to learn by their mistakes can be painful and traumatic for both of you but is necessary for their emotional and mental growth.
THE END RESULT
My main reason for writing this hub is to hopefully shine a light on the sometimes forgotten art of basic skills in a household situation where your daughter will find herself. Even if she is sharing with girlfriends they should all have knowledge of how to keep their residence clean and tidy and be able to cook basic meals. Being able to contribute with these skills will give them confidence and create a happy household. But don't think I'm letting the boys off by any means. My next hub will be all about mums and boys.
Moving Out of Home
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