A few years ago we started spending time with a family on a regular basis. The Mom in this particular family is a successful attorney. I could tell from the very beginning that my daughter was taken with her.
She not only beautifully juggles the responsibility of her law practice, she is also very connected to her children. Every night at the dinner table she has each member of the family share the best and not so best part of their day. We have participated in this nightly tradition, and my daughter is always eager to share. When she is home she is present and completely focused on her children, something I struggle with.
She has inspired my daughter to set a personal goal of becoming an attorney, down to seeing a nice suit in a store and declaring “Mom, this would be perfect to wear in court”, to asking questions about what degree she needs to obtain before pursuing law school. She has even started to eat vegetables because our friend puts great importance on good nutrition. (Whaaaa? I’ve been stressing this for years!)
I wasn’t sure how to feel about my daughter having such admiration for someone who had a different kind of success than I, and could obviously reach her on issues I couldn’t. I caught myself feeling envious and making their connection “all about me”.
The truth is, it's not about me. It’s about letting go of the idea that I have to be my child’s “everything”. Allowing my children to form relationships with other people that may be different for me is not only a good thing, I feel it is necessary to their development as a healthy person.
Why would I want to squash my daughters dreams and aspirations because I’m not the source of inspiration? I will continue to embrace and cultivate the positive relationships my children have with the people that have been set in our path.