My mom and I have always been close. Most days we talk several times a day, and usually we do not go an entire day without talking. I am sure she thinks at times I overshare with her, but I am just so comfortable talking to her about anything.
I did not realize just how special our bond was until I started having my own children. People would often say, “You can’t be their best friend!” when talking about disciplining their children. I can only imagine my expression when they said this because I have never had a good poker face. And given my close relationship with my mom, this concept seemed so foreign to me.
While I agree there has to be a healthy middle ground, I have realized there is nothing wrong with being a best friend to your child. Growing up, my mom made that perfect balance look so easy. There was enough discipline for respect to be cultivated and enough love and tenderness to foster deep trust.
A Safe Place to Fall
I remember once I had my son, my mom told me how important it is for kids to have a safe place to fall. She has been that steady, consistent place that I can always turn to when I am struggling. Now I have the ability to be that safe place for my kids. Knowing that she was my safe place, I felt comfortable sharing much more of my life with her than my friends did with their parents.
If I struggled at school, with friends, or at work, she was the first person I called. I have not always liked her opinions or advice, but I have always needed to hear her thoughts and walk through the ups and downs of life with her.
My Biggest Cheerleader
I have always put a great deal of pressure on myself to do a great job and to please people. It is just in my personality; it’s basically hard-coded in my DNA. My mom has always been right there to cheer me on in the most genuine way. She has cared when I have failed and when I have succeeded. My mom has been right there to help me pick up the pieces or celebrate with me.
Having a mom as a cheerleader meant knowing no matter what happens, her love for me is not changing. Her love is truly unconditional. This is the kind of love and support that has allowed us to remain so close over the years. And it’s the kind of love I hope my children are able to feel from me.
Being a best friend, a safe place to fall, and the biggest cheerleader for your kids does not happen overnight. I am sure my mom would say it has not been easy–or even fun–at times. And I am sure she questioned herself a great deal along the way. But she has been so successful in fostering my trust and being the best mom I could ever imagine that I feel lucky to call her my best friend, too.
I hope to be at least half the mom she has been for me. And I truly hope my children feel I am their best friend, too. I know it will be challenging to say the least, but I have the best role model as my guide along the way.
I love you, mom!