As a mother of three girls, I know firsthand the joys and challenges of learning to parent three little people who each have three very different personalities and three varying perspectives on the world around them. That is why I started making a conscious effort to date my babies as much as I can. With the rise in daddy/daughter dances and mommy/son soirees, it may be difficult to fathom the idea of mommies dating their daughters. However, as you rear your young princesses into future queens, intentionally dating your daughters is crucial to their well-rounded development.
Over the last 12 years that I have been a girl’s mommy, I have learned a few key tips to this dating thing. For the most part, I apply the same principles that I would if my husband and I were still in that phase.
1) Schedule 1-on-1 time with her.
This is so important, especially if you have multiple children. Every child needs some occasional time with Mommy. Of course, this can be a bit tricky when you have more than one child and are being pulled in gazillion directions. But if you plan properly it can be accomplished. Get creative with your dates! After all, no one wants to go to dinner every single time they go out. When I go on a grocery store run, I take the daughter who always wants to help in the kitchen. It is quality and alone time that we both deeply appreciate.
2) Choose a special song just for the two of you.
Remember that song that sparks nostalgia and takes you back to a specific relationship every time you hear it? In your mind, the artist recorded that song just for the two of you! Imagine if both you and your daughter experienced that same euphoric feeling each time you heard a special song that you shared! Our special song catalog is as unique as each one of the girls. “It Takes Two” by Rob Base, “Sweet Thang” by Mary J Blige and “Darling Girl” by Yolanda Adams are just a few of our favorites. I pause and smile hard whenever I hear those songs.
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3) Be present and actually listen!
With three girls at home, I know how much they talk! Sometimes it can be a bit much and I am searching all over their bodies for a mute button! But as I have learned to date my girls, I have realized just how important it is to actually take time to listen to the things that are going on in their worlds. As small as the issues may seem to me, they are mountains in my daughters’ minds and it is my responsibility to hear and understand what they are feeling. I have always loved this quote by Catherine Wallace:
“Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”
4) Always make time to spend time with your daughter!
I am sure that I don’t have to explain to you how it would feel if you were dating a guy who never made space in his life for you. After a while, you would be over the “relationship” and ready to move on. While our babies may not be able to physically move on, their emotional and mental states check out. When it comes to my daughters, I can sense when it has been too long since our last date. It is during those times, that I realign the priorities of my life and get back to what is most important.
On your quest to a healthy, fulfilling relationship with your daughter(s), just envision how you want to be dated in a romantic relationship and apply the same principles to dating your mini-me. Your effort will go far in her development into a beautiful and confident woman.