Mothering in the Land of Best Friends

"I'm NOT going to SCHOOL!" she screams.

"Yes you ARE! You do not have a choice in this matter. It is your job!" I shout back.

This is all to frequent in the mornings.

The silent car ride, the crossed arms. The hurtful "You hate me-s." 

And she is only 8. Lord please help me as the tween/teen years roll around.

I worry a great deal that I am screwing it all up with my daughter.  I cry. I text girlfriends with older daughters.  I text older friends with grown daughters. What am I doing wrong? Or am I doing it right? I don't know.

I GET my boys.  They are emotional beasts like me. If they are upset, I know. If they are angry, I know how they are, and exactly WHAT they are angry at. They wear their emotions like a billboard, and I KNOW this.  I have 41 years of my own transparency.

But she is so different than me. And this isn't just wishful thinking on my part, this comes from siblings who knew me, and sat on me, when I was little.  She is very particular, some may call it OCD.... and her emotions, she keeps them close to her chest. The nastiness that is released in the car after school on some days will eventually reveal itself at bedtime as an earlier confrontation with friends. The refusal to go to Sunday School will eventually come out as anxiety over seeing someone there.  She is not the open book her brothers are, and reading her sometimes takes hours that I don't have when we are already running late.

I find myself struggling to mother my daughter in a land of mothering "best friends."  I see posts and blogs about Moms and daughters being best friends, and I just don't understand it.  I mean, I don't have much against it, I just don't get it.  It is like being in a foreign land, observing, but not understanding a conversation; this is me in the land of Mother-Daughter best friends. 

God knows how much I miss my Mom. But she wasn't my best friend.  She was my Mom.  She was my cheerleader, my chauffeur, my ear when it came to school and friend stuff, but no way would I talk about boys, or love, sex or drinking. That was what girlfriends were for.  As I aged and got my first real paying job, and apartment and was paying my own bills, our relationship morphed into more of a diagonal instead of a vertical line.  But there were still topics that were off not discussed. Usually the opposite sex and that one too many Bloody Mary I may have had.  After I got married, our relationship finally turned parallel. Most anything was appropriate to discuss, including dirty jokes.  

Now I am not naive to think she wasn't aware of what I was doing in my life, but it wasn't like I was about to admit or discuss some of those things with her. She was my MOM.  There was supposed to be some mystery to each of our lives.  Or at least I felt that way.  I feared disappointing her, and I still do not think that was wrong or bad.  She made her expectations very clear growing up, as well as her pride and love.  She had standards and sometimes what she didn't know wouldn't hurt her heart.

I'm not judging those who are best friends with their Mothers. I just look at those relationships with a cock-eyed head; a dog looking at their babbling master.  I don't get it, because I didn't live it.  And so in the commonplace land of Mother-Daughter friendships, I find myself judging my mothering so harshly.  I KNOW I am tough on her, because I want her to be strong and independent.  Self-sufficient and curious.  A problem solver. My Mom didn't cater to me, didn't entertain me but loved me so very much.

I see posts of Mother/Daughter mani-pedi's and knowing that would have NEVER happened with my Mom and I (in my first 25 years) wonder if I should or should not do that with my daughter.  I realize it seems so minor, but I was raised with the concept of certain things were for girls, and certain things were for women.  The same goes for dangle earrings (a constant conversation in our home) makeup and high heels for example.  My Mom was 37 when she had me. She actually thought she was going through menopause. SURPRISE! It was me instead.  And because she was older (more tired) than a lot of my peers' Mothers, her expectations of me were very different than someone being raised by a woman born 10 or 15 years later. Even when I grew taller than her by about 7th grade, there was never any doubt in my mind that she was the adult, and I was the child.  She was the learned, I was the learner.  She held the purse strings, I didn't own a purse. 

My daughter, if she could, would have everything done for her, at all times by anyone she can employ.  It is a constant monitoring of this manipulative quality of hers that leads to many confrontations.  She is intelligent and more-so capable, and my insistence she uses her skills, frankly, pisses her off.  But you don't get to be a confident, self sufficient woman by being a manipulative child.  (In theory...)  She doesn't get to be my best friend now because I need to her to respect my age, my wisdom, my experiences and my rules.  She doesn't need to like them, but she needs to respect them, look up to them, strive for them. 

I don't want to be the cool awesome Mom, her bestie. There, I said it.  I want her to love me, want her to be with me, but also want her to be annoyed, proud and embarrassed by me, because I'm her MOM.