Keeping the lines of communication open

Julie had a bad case of empty nest syndrome. Her son had left four years earlier, they had since moved to a new town, and she was unemployed. After she dropped her daughter Karen off at college, the first moth was really difficult.

“When my parents dropped me off at college, my mom was crying uncontrollably.”

It wasn’t that Julie was worried about Karen and her capabilities to live on her own… She was sad because she was going to be gone.

Check out Julie and Karen’s tips for staying in touch.

1. Write down your feelings.

All relations have ebbs and flows. That’s why writing an email or even in a mother-daughter journal really helps keep the lines of communication open. The advantage of email is that it provides time to think, so that we don’t say something rash that we might end up regretting.

2. Start a tradition.

Julie and Karen run races and travel together, try and find things in common that you can make into an annual event.

3. Keep in touch.

Karen and Julie say they try to make each other a part of their everyday lives. They exchange emails every single morning, and even if it’s mundane stuff, they still let each other know what is in store for their day.

Karen’s parents stayed involved in her life during college, coming to all of her home basketball games and a lot of her away games.

According to the Ageless Project, Millie Garfield is one of the internet’s oldest bloggers. Enjoy as she and her daughter compile life memories, review books and even foray into the world of YouTube.

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Becoming friends with my mother

Roberta is the first to admit that she wasn’t the easiest kid to raise. She and her parents butt heads practically daily, but even through the friction, Roberta said they still managed to get their message across.

“The best advice they gave me growing up was never be a liar, a cheat, or a thief, because then you have nothing to fall back on,” she said. “I try to live my life according to that. I try to be as honest as possible, I try not to cheat people, and I’ve never stolen anything – except once.”

To this day, Roberta remembers the scenario surrounding her petty crime. After a birthday party, she went into Ferrell’s ice cream shop with a friend’s mom and stole some chewing gum. In all her 4-year-old wisdom, she pulled it out as soon as she got in the car and was caught red-handed.

“I still remember that feeling of, I just got caught, and I haven’t stolen anything since,” she said. “Being horribly embarrassed in front of my friend at the age of four or five made me realize that stealing wasn’t the way to go.”

The adult perspective that makes her hold tight to that life lesson also revolutionized the relationship she has with her mom. Throughout her teens, she really put her mom through the parenting trap. Her mom stayed at home to take care of the kids, and while Roberta resented it while she lived there, now she says, “I didn’t appreciate it nearly enough at the time, but now it is an inspiration to me. I hope one day that I can be at home with my kids.”

Roberta said she realized that her mom had been right all along the day she moved out.

“Our relationship turned completely around,” she said. “I realized my mom is cool. I am glad that I am not 14 anymore because I did not like her then, but now she is one of my best friends. She did a good job raising me, and I love her very much.”

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Canadian mom Michelle escapes from her life full of teenagers in this online journal.

Turning a house into my home

It may have been a creepy old house stuck in a time warp, but Amber and her mom decided that this would be the one for them. Amber and her boyfriend Michael were ready to move in together, but the young couple were entrepreneurs living in L.A., where real estate is hard to come by and expensive to purchase.

So Sandy, Amber’s mom, decided to step in.

“It was a way for me to help Amber get started in her adult life,” she said.

Amber and Sandy were initially very focused on the business aspect of buying the house, but then the nervousness of being a first time home owner set-in, along with the all the responsibilities of buying a fixer-upper.

“It all hit me at once, all the work we had to do, the fact that it was the first house that Amber was ever going to pay a mortgage on and the fact that Michael was moving in with her,” Sandy said. “There were a number of different issues going on all at one time. I was also apprehensive because it was obviously going to take a lot of money and a lot of work. There were times when the project seemed larger than us.”

Amber really appreciated doing this project with her mom because, “I got to see the strong woman I came from.”

They planted trees and dug holes together; it was a great bonding time for them as mother and daughter.

“There were a lot of style details involved, and that was probably the hardest part,” Amber said. “There were the colors, the tiles, the furniture, how we should design the kitchen.”

When it was all over, Amber and Sandy sat down on the new brown and gold shag carpet and had a glass of wine. It was time to celebrate. They were in love with the simple, zen-like feeling that pervaded their new home. The style will certainly evolve over time, but now it’s starting to feel like a home—like Amber’s home.

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Turning My Mother’s Drug Problem into Something Positive

Nicolette’s mother was a strong, hard working, single mom until drugs took over her life. Eventually she became overwhelmed with the stress of providing for four children, and left the responsibility of raising the family to the 11-year-old Nicolette.

“There would be weeks at a time where she just wouldn’t show up. I would take care of my brothers and sisters, and even though it was an awkward environment and we were very poor, we were always really happy and loved each other.”

Even through the haze of drugs, the children knew they were important to their mother, and when her mom decided to give them up, believed she did it out of love. From this point on, Nicollette decided to use the difficulties from her childhood to shape her character rather than compromise it.

She turned to academics and music. “Every new day was something that I could make positive and that I could control.” And even as the ghost of her mother loomed, Nicolette accepted her past as a part of her present and stayed focused on building a future for herself. She found a way to be the person she wanted regardless of what was going on in her home life, thus breaking the cycle of addiction in one generation.

You be the change. As Nicolette gracefully demonstrates, change happens one person at a time. It happens through choosing to make something from what you are give, no matter what it is.

Grassroots efforts have claimed their turf as one of the most effective avenues of change today. At Grassroots.org, be linked to everything from suicide prevention to poison control and get the tools you need to make change.

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Education is Power
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Using Television to Keep Connected

Tsion and her mother live about ten hours apart from each other, but that doesn’t stop them from being close. In fact, it has allowed them to be creative in how they keep connected.

“I have a great relationship with my mom,” Tsion said. “She is a school teacher, and I think that makes her more understanding. She is always very nurturing, and she usually plays ‘good guy’ when Dad plays ‘bad guy.’”

In addition to talking on the phone at least twice a week, Tsion and her mother have developed some unique ways to keep their relationship strong.

For more tips on trying maintaining mother-daughter bonds, check out these links.

MORE TIPS & TOOLS

The Power of Female Bonds
This powerful online journal explores female friendships and relationships and gives advice on how to hold on to your important female bonds.

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Need an explanation for why you are turning into your mother or why you just can’t understand why your son won’t change the toilet paper roll? Explore The Female Brain by Dr. Louann Brizendine for answers hidden in your cells.

Escape to the Blogosphere
Canadian mom Michelle escapes from her life full of teenagers in this online journal.