Raising Daughters

By Heidi Goehmann

I was recently asked a question by a friend about raising girls, about raising women: How is it done? Which led to other questions: What’s the “right” way? Is there a “right” way?

Where do you guide and where do you determine boundaries? How do you teach them to be strong and independent, but also vulnerable, stepping softly when it’s needed? How do you help them embrace who God made them to be, and also prepared to deal with all the world will throw at them?

I get to spend my life with two beautiful women who call me “Mom.” I am their mentor. I am their FAQ source. I am often their chef; sometimes, their sous chef.

I am their tissue box at times. I am their cheerleader. I am their most opinionated friend. I am their role model. I am their boss at times.

Being a mom to daughters is complicated, much, in the same way, being anything to anyone is complicated. I find it’s best when we don’t oversimplify the joys and challenges of being a mom. It’s also best when we don’t oversimplify the joys and challenges in being a daughter.

The joys and challenges can easily become the substance of the thing, but we are here for more. We are here for the relationship.

I get to know these two. I get to find out who they are each day. I get to uncover, like a detective, their strengths, their weaknesses, their hearts, and their amazing minds. That’s a huge gift.

As a therapist and a writer, I want parents to be able to embrace relationship more, and moments a little less. I find this is especially important with my daughters.

Parents have the privilege of knowing deeply these humans who are their children. But my girls aren’t my girls. They are their own strong, independent girls and women.

It’s helpful in any of our relationships, to loosen our hands a bit, and remember they rest in God’s hands. We get to love them, occasionally we get to teach them, but mostly, our job here is to discover them.

How has your mom or another person in your life spent time with you to help you discover who you are?


Heidi Goehmann writes at heidegoehmann.com. Her latest book, Finding Hope: From Brokenness to Restoration, is now available. She also contributed to Be Still and Notice: Tales from the Next Step Community, Year Two.

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