Confessions of a Single Mom with Cancer Entry #23

#23. I’m not my daughter’s biggest fan.

Crazy right? I mean, I thought I was until recently my sister gave me some advice that made me realize I was selling my daughter short.

See, once girls start getting super involved in activities like sports, choir, etc. They have a lot of people telling them whether they’re good or bad. I mean not necessarily in those terms, but depending on how coaches or teachers hand out constructive criticism, it may be interpreted as I’m good or I’m bad.

That’s where I found myself. I found that my daughter who admittedly may have a tough time with constructive criticism was starting to establish her self worth based on the messages from these well intended people.

Well intended meaning I don’t think they were trying to break her down. She actually puts on this tough girl act but she’s really a softy. Also, in general, I think people can find her a little frustrating for a few reasons that are unnecessary to name here. I think you get the point, I realize she’s NOT perfect. And that’s where the problem comes in.

See to get great, I think you have to think you’re great or at least capable of great. So with me recognizing she wasn’t perfect and with coaches and teachers constantly (at least it seemed like it to her) telling her she wasn’t good…what was she supposed to think? That she could be great?

NO. She was feeling beat down and pretty typical for a 12 year old, I started seeing her believing she couldn’t be great.

Then my sister said, you need to act like she hangs the moon. You need to defend her, build her up, tell her she’s great or at least capable of being great and do it publicly. You are her advocate. PERIOD.

I thought I knew that but as a hard working, semi-type A personality, with a knack for coaching and mentoring for professional development, I’m always great at pointing out how to be better, ways to improve, thinking about how to use constructive criticism, or be the bigger person. But my daughter is not my employee, colleague or client. I don’t have to be rational about who she is and who she will become. I should be irrationally passionate about encouraging her to believe in herself and her dreams. I should embarrass her with positivity and support. I should be like a Justin Bieber fan or Taylor Swift or Donald Trump for that matter. Blinded by my own desire to believe in her!

As a grown woman, I know the VOICES in my head are my greatest challenge to believing in myself. For many of us, the voice we hear is not the volleyball coach from 7th grade or our freshman year English teacher. It’s our mom.

So although she may not be perfect and she, like all of us, has room for improvement. I’m not as worried about her performance today as I am about her self esteem for a LIFETIME.

Truth is the reality checks, nit picking and constructive criticism will come. That’s life. But it doesn’t have to come from me.

So yeah, my inconsistent with her serve, turned the wrong way in that dance number, could work a little harder daughter is GREAT. Like many things she believes, I’ve shown her first, that I believe in them. She needs to know I believe in her. BELIEVE that!