I knock out of courtesy, pop my head in and ask if she remembers that she has a mom. She smiles, blows me a kiss and asks me to close the door on the way out. Burn. I, too, was a teenager once and wanted very little to do with my mom. Granted, my mom wasn’t nearly as cool and connected as I am, but I get it. As much as I preach to my friends with younger kids about the importance of being a parent first, there is a place deep down in my heart that
wants needs her to like me as much as she loves me.
A couple of summers ago, I started planning some strictly mother-daughter activities. Up to that point, I did everything with both of my kids. But, by the time my son started high school, he gladly opted out of our “quick” trips to the mall.
There is something indescribably special about spending one-on-one time with each of your kids. They don’t have to share your attention, and there is way less compromise when choosing activities. Here are eight mother-daughter dates that will get your teen to emerge from her room this summer, bring you closer together and help create long-lasting memories.
1. Pretend Prom Dress Shopping
We pick out an armful of prom/special occasion dresses from the junior’s section of a department store, and I take photos of her wearing each of the gowns (no matter how they look!). We started this when she was 9, and we do it every summer.
2. Binge Watch a TV Show
We love Netflix! We curl up under a blanket on a rainy summer afternoon and stream our favorite shows. This opens up a lot of dialogue on friendships, romantic relationships, parent-child relationships, drugs and sex. TV show suggestions for a teen: Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, The Wonder Years.
3. Read a Book Together
Two summers ago we read Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Last summer we read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. If reading aloud isn’t your thing, download the OverDrive app for your smart phone and check out free audiobooks from your local library. We’ve listened to books as a family on road trips such as The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
4. Listen to a Podcast
OK, this is a tricky one, considering the lure of a lot of podcasts is their no-holds-barred format. My daughter is a little older, so we listen to Gilmore Guys. But, she also loves This American Life and TED Radio Hour. There are lots of crafting, science and higher education podcasts available as well. I recommend listening to a couple of episodes of any podcast to be sure it is age-appropriate before introducing it to your daughter.
5. Get Matching Mani/Pedis (Let Her Pick the Color!)
My daughter loves to paint her nails dark, bold colors, while I tend to stick to bright pinks or neutrals. Letting her pick my nail color lets her know that I trust her and value her taste.
6. Cook a Meal Together
I let my daughter choose an interesting recipe from a cookbook or online. Together, we buy the ingredients and prepare the meal. The only rule is that it has to be something she is willing to eat (which means it’s usually some derivative of pizza!)
7. Take Photos of Her in Your Wedding Gown
I did this with my daughter when she was 9. These photos are some of my favorites ever!
8. Start a Mother-Daughter Journal
Meredith and Sophie Jacobs wrote Just Between Us: A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal for Girls and Their Moms. This is a Q&A, fill-in-the-blank journal with prompts such as: “I often dream about…” and “My biggest regret….” It also has tons of blank space to write about whatever is on your minds. My daughter has opened up so much in this journal, and I feel like I know her better than ever!
I want my daughter to look back at our summers and have specific and lasting memories of me as a young(ish) and agile mom. I want her to think of me with a fondness that carries over into adulthood, to relate to me and to trust me, not only now, but also when she becomes a mom.
I want to be the Lorelai to her Rory (or the Sarah to her Amber.) BFFs 4-ever! A girl can dream right?