My daughter turns 18 today and as a mother, there are many conflicting feelings I hold about this momentous occasion. It’s time for me to take a back seat in her life, although this has been happening for some time already, having raised a strong-willed, feisty, and driven woman.
The foundations of values and beliefs have been laid, challenged, and developed to create into an incredible human; one that is compassionate, kind, respectful, and loving.
How can I not be proud?
As a mother, sometimes it is hard to let go. To accept that the small human whom you have nurtured into an adult, now has her own thoughts, style and life choices ahead of her, one that you can provide advice but in the same breath, be prepared not to be listened to.
That’s okay too. It’s not our job to tell them how it is to be done but to support and guide them through their own journey.
It’s a time for my baby girl to step into her own and take care of herself, her incredible drive and passion to propel her forward into an exciting future.
Time for me to reflect and allow the process to organically happen for her, in the way she determines. It can sometimes be confronting, hard and uneasy but incredibly rewarding and builds on the solid foundation that we share, as I step past my own prejudice.
A mother never stops being a mother, but a strong relationship, particularly between mother and daughter is the ability to put aside your desires for them and support them in their decision, in a completely new and often challenging way.
Like hiking, the acute stress that is placed on our body through arduous hiking and exposure to the seasonal elements, these stressors when paired with recovery time and periods of rest, create tremendous strength, resilience, and acceptance of the conditions, essentially building a better version of ourselves.
Life is uneasy. Life is challenging and raising children has been the most painful yet rewarding experience of my life. Through hiking, I have developed my own sense of contentment, reignited the passion of the outdoors, and followed what I wanted as an individual.
Hiking created a mindfulness practice that serves all aspects of my life, that I now have the opportunity to share with others.
The lessons that Nature has taught me through exploring her trails and getting to know her plants, animals, and seasons have provided the perfect platform in which I developed my senses of self; apart from that of a mother.
The biggest lesson that I can impart of my 18-year-old journey as a mother is that you need to look after yourself. The old saying that you can’t fill from an empty cup has never resonated with so much that the last few years. One I wished I’d paid respect to earlier.
As mothers, caretakers, and women as a collective, we need to MAKE the time to take care of our needs.
We need to dip into the pool of self-love, explore the trails of the unknown, and summit the mountain of perspective. Self-care is not selfish. If you look after yourself, you are in a better place holistically to provide the most rewarding contribution to your significant relationships, whether a mother or not. Looking after yourself can be taking a bath once a week, creating time for a massage, and date night with girlfriends or as I prefer, a hike in nature.
So whilst I can celebrate a meaningful transition for my daughter, I too have transitioned to looking after myself without feeling guilty about it.