Dear Mom, I get it.

How raising a daughter has made me a better one

Growing up my mom and I never had a consistently close relationship. I always felt misunderstood and unloved at times and I envied how close my sister and mom were. They seemed to always enjoy spending time together whereas my mom and I doing the same would result in either one of us annoying the other.

Through the years I often wished that I had the words to bridge the gap between us. I wished that my Mom was a more conventional mother. The kind who baked and taught me how to cook, who came to all my school events and did mother/daughter stuff together. I always felt that she didn’t love me enough especially when she said or did the exact opposite of what I needed.

And then one day I was blessed with a daughter of my own…


Dear Mom, I get it.

My daughter is the sweetest thing on this earth. However, every now and then I’d find myself on the receiving end of one of those full-force glares that I thought I had invented.

I find myself sometimes saying and doing the wrong thing like getting angry and scolding her when she used my entire bottle of salon shampoo to wash ALL her ponies hair. Her expression told me that she honestly didn’t think I would mind or that it would be an issue.

I’m the one the sulk and tears are directed at when I refuse to let her play on her own outside because I can’t bear to not have my eyes on her at all times because the world is not a safe place. Not even for a wandering little girl who so badly wants to play independently from her hovering mother.

I get blamed for being too paranoid to allow her any sleepovers with her little friends and for not buying each and every toy that absolutely all her friends have and making her life so unfair!

Having a daughter makes me think back on some of my fights between my mom and I which might have been a result of her overbearing protectiveness instead of her trying to ruin my life as I’d thought.

Loving my daughter as fiercely as I do, I wonder how many times as she is growing up will I say the wrong thing, or do the opposite of what she needs, or make her feel like I don’t love her because I’m dealing with things in my own way?

My mom recently told me how she comforted a friend who was also having trouble getting along with her daughter by saying “don’t worry, one day they will have daughters of their own!“. And then they laughed and laughed…

Raising a daughter taught me these truths about my relationship with my mom

It is just not possible to fall out of love with your child

In all those moments when we’ve had tiff or were not on speaking terms, I wish I had the knowledge that I do now as a mother. I’d have known that feeling unloved was not due to me not being loved. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like we are showing love but it’s just not possible not to love your child unless there is something seriously wrong with your wiring.

I was loved. Maybe not in the way I thought it should be expressed but once you’ve loved a daughter you just never stop.


Sometimes you get it wrong

Being a mother does not make you perfect. A mother is human just like everyone else and will sometimes say or do the wrong thing.

At five, I can very easily rectify a situation when I’ve disappointed my daughter but I’d imagine that the damage might be more difficult to repair as she gets older when feelings run deeper and opinions are felt more strongly.

In mother / daughter relationships you are always just winging it and we so very often do get it wrong.

Forgiveness is a right

We will argue and we won’t always agree but in the bible, God instructs us to honor our parents. Giving honor to them means to “regard with great respect“.

One thing I’ve learned through my relationship with the Lord is that love and honor are not dependent on merit. I will never be able to be good enough to earn my Father in heaven’s love for me and in the same way me honoring my parents is not dependent on what they’ve done to deserve it.

As a mother, I live in God’s grace. I so often make mistakes and when I ask His forgiveness I get not only that but also a chance to make it right with children to whom an apology is more than enough for them to get over it!

Every mom deserves forgiveness from her daughter, and to be honored and held in high esteem, it’s biblical.

There are no favorites

Being eleven years old when my siblings came along, I always felt that they were more privileged than me (in our family we jokingly refer to this as my “Orphan Annie” complex). It’s a real thing!

Now that I have two children sharing my love and have both watching me with an eagle eye to make sure that they are each getting as much attention as the other, I can now understand that a mom can love in equal measures but in different ways.

A mom is a daughters’ biggest cheerleader

I recently attended the lavish Dove Head Space Hair breakfast event in Constantia and I took my mom along as my plus one. To say that she was thrilled and enjoyed the event would be an understatement. She enjoyed every minute of being there with me and she kept introducing herself as the “media’s mother“!

IMG_0057 (1)

She practically stalks me on social media. She sprinkles the most long-winded comments all over my blog and she is constantly boasting about my achievements as a mother to all and sundry, saying that I am a better mom than she was when we were little. I complain about this stalkerish behavior all the time but I do secretly love it!

You only get one mom

This year on Mother’s Day I was aware of so many dear friends who had to endure a painful reminder of a mom who is no longer with them. It’s made me want to hold onto life and love as much as I can.

Now that I am an adult, my mom and I get along way better than when I was younger and it’s nice to just live in the moment and enjoy it. Now that I have my own family it’s lovely that we can spend time together and when we annoy each other we just stay away for a couple of days and we’re as good as new. Also the things that used to annoy us are no longer relevant because we live apart and I’ve also realized that life is short.

Mommy and me
Mommy and me

There may come a day when I might not be able to pick up the phone and share a funny story about the kids that we can laugh about together. Or lean on her during a difficult time, or have her pop around and infuriate me with sweets treats for the children before dinner time, or bending her ear with a good vent about something without any fear of judgement.

My mom is not perfect, in fact she’s probably the same as she’s always been, impossibly dramatic, a bit overbearing (I could go on and on)… but now that I am raising a daughter myself, I realize how much we need each other and that the relationship goes both ways. It’s also easier now to give her bucket loads of empathy, after all, I am probably not the easiest daughter in the world either!



Anthea O'Neill is a wife and proud mom of three. She is front-end web developer, blogger and a self-proclaimed glitter & yarn addict. Anthea's Project Life is a blog for the modern mom.

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  1. Very well written and heart warming Anthea! I hope that your mom sees this and that you show this to Alex when she is old enough to understand it properly 🙂

    1. Aw thanks Kylie! xx

  2. Really enjoyed your blog Anthea. It made me miss my mum, but smile also at the wonderful times we did have, and also eased my mind a little more that with bringing up two daughters I don’t need to be perfect. ? Now that is a relief! ?

    1. Thank you Jules. xxx

  3. stephanie fourie says:

    Wow! Well written. God’s love shines through in this beautifully written blog filled with love, grace and forgiveness. Thank you for sharing .

    1. Thank you! Hugs xxx 🙂

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