From a baby’s first step, moms cheer their girls on at every stage and bask in their accomplishments. And if they’re lucky, daughters return that pride by viewing their mothers as role models. Here we ruminate about the topic of pride:
Parents often say to their children, “I’m so proud of you” after they’ve achieved something notable like making Honor Roll in school or hitting a home run in softball. While kids of all ages want their parents’ approval and to make them proud, I’ve often felt that as parents, we really don’t have a right to be “proud” of our children. While we have a significant influence over our children’s development, they are their own being independent of their parents. So, rather than saying “I’m so proud of you,” I think a more appropriate response is “You should be very proud of yourself.” After all, they are the ones whose efforts were laudable, not us.
Nevertheless, I understand that we view our children as extensions of ourselves and are, in fact, proud of them. So as the mom of a very accomplished daughter, I am both proud of Jenna and even more importantly, I am happy that she has so much to be proud of herself. That’s because accomplishing great things brings confidence and self-love.
I think my parents were most proud of my academic and professional achievements because they did not go to university and were so happy that my sister and I finished college and had successful careers. A parent always wants more for their children than they had. The interesting thing is that, while I am similarly very proud of Jenna’s academic and professional achievements, I am most proud of her character and her continual focus on self-development.
Jenna is very compassionate and is always there for friends and family members in need. This past year, she flew to Florida for a few days to be by her grandmother’s side when she was wheeled in for surgery. She took time off from work to care for another family member who was recuperating, and she’s always there with a cup of hot tea when I’m lying on the couch sick, seemingly helpless. Jen’s good friends tell me that she is their go-to person if they need advice because she’s a great listener and gives wise counsel.
Jenna has read many self-development books and has worked hard the past few years to become more kind, more loving, more compassionate. That has had such a positive impact on her relationships at work, with family and friends, and even among strangers. Yes, I’m proud of her intelligence, her beauty, her work ethic, her charm…but I am most proud of her heart. And I hope that she is most proud of that as well.
It’s not unusual for daughters to look up to their mothers when they’re young. Then, when they are in those volatile teenage years, things change and they begin to challenge their mother’s decisions and even their way of life. While I have a great relationship with my mom now, it has not always been that way. I remember different points in time when I was younger (and definitely more stubborn) where I would think, “I’ll never do that to my kids!” or “Remind me to do the complete opposite of my mom!”
Now that I’m older, I have realized that no one is perfect and at the end of the day, family is family. People often ask me if I am ever afraid to share the honest truths – the good and the bad – about my relationship with my mom. While I used to shy away from talking about deep, painful experiences, I have become very open in talking about our relationship because, for better or worse, I’m deeply proud of the highs and lows that have helped my mom and I build a better relationship.
I am most proud of my mom for her openness to change and relentless approach to improving her life. My mom radically changed her trajectory in her 40s – after working as a corporate executive for many years, she left her job to start her own business, found her passions, started volunteering, rededicated herself to her family and has had a newfound happiness and glow ever since. Many people often feel “stuck” and are often scared to make big changes – not my mom. She continuously pushes herself outside her comfort zone and searches for new ways to become a better person and help those around her. She has taught me that life is precious and constantly inspires me to find what makes me happy and fulfilled – and fearlessly prioritize that above all else.
What makes YOU proud of your daughter? Your mother? (We want to hear from you!)