Women and their Daughters

by Toni Steenson, Coraki, Australia

Growing up, I had a picture in my mind of what it would be like to be an adult. Slowly, as I got older, this picture kept changing and adjusting to keep up with all that I saw displayed by the varying influences around me. Even though I grew up in a home where there were yelling matches (which eventuated in divorce), as a really young child I didn’t see any of these problems existing in my own future. Instead, I saw the rosy pictures that were depicted on TV and in fairytales to be my own future. As I grew up I soon realised that life was something of an arduous task. The idea that life could be fun and or rosy slowly slipped from my created reality…

No-one at any time that I can remember sat me down and asked me how I viewed my future – I was a female, so it was assumed I would get married and have children. But I was never asked if this is what I wanted, or not. When adults would see either myself or my sisters play with our toy dolls, they would comment “Oh she’ll make a great mother one day”, or something along those lines. And when I started to cook, the comments would be “You’ll make some man really happy one day”. So I learned from a very young age that I was destined to become a mother and a wife. I didn’t really question this, because everywhere I looked, that was what ‘being a woman’ meant – growing up and being there for everyone else’s needs.

If for some reason a woman could not have children, as I understood things, this would mean she would be a sad person, as she was unable to fulfill her role of becoming a mother; or she would feel to be quite driven and hard, which I found scary!

My own mother and I never sat down together and discussed how I felt about actually becoming a woman, and what this may potentially entail for me as I grew up. For example, did I want children? A partner? A certain type of job or career? Did I feel pressure of what the outside world, school and society thought ‘being a woman’, and ‘her role’ was in life? This is not saying my mother did anything wrong by not having these conversations with me, certainly not! My mother may have experienced the exact same (as I) as a young girl with her own mother. And, like myself, in the absence of someone asking her how she felt, she too may have learnt to suppress her feelings as she got older…

So growing up as a young girl, the understandings I was forming about ‘adult life’ just became an accepted way of how life was. On reflecting back now, I realise there was no time for my mother to just sit and chat with me about how I felt about anything, since life was a daily challenge. From what I saw, it seemed that for my mother, life required certain outcomes to be a success, for instance getting the kids off to school, going to work, coming home, start preparing dinner, ordering the kids into showers, eating dinner and finally collapsing in front of the TV to rest and de-stress from the day. Daily life was a chore in general, with a few happy occasions sprinkled here and there. It was never displayed or expressed that life, as an adult woman or mother, could be a joy-full or play-full experience. Instead, life was shown to be a hard endeavour that had end goals, which needed to be met under duress. Life in general, was a stressful event.

I would watch my mother and my friends’ mothers all go about their day (even on the weekends) in an agitated manner. There was so much to achieve, even though they felt tired and needed a rest. Children were mostly viewed as a ‘thorn in their side’ who just got in the way and were consistently making more work for their mothers. As a young child, I felt this quite acutely. I was saddened by how hard life was for my mother, and so would try to make life easier for her by helping with jobs. I made it my role to fix things. Most likely, I willingly took on this role of ‘the fixer’ to cover up the very deep sadness I felt in not being cherished, seen and held as the beautiful little girl I was, and had felt myself to be. Instead, I became ‘seen’ or validated by my parents and people through learning ‘to do’ (things) and ‘achieve’ what others wanted and expected of me.

Without even realising it, this is when I started to really model myself on what being a woman / mother meant. I started to see where others were struggling and would try to ‘fix’ their situation. For instance, if someone was sad, I would try to make them laugh, or if someone had too much work to do, then I would try to do it for them, and the list goes on. It’s possible I started to act out this ‘fixer / helper role’ for two reasons: firstly, I strongly felt that I was the reason life was hard and why it was a daily grind to get through it; secondly, I had watched how it was my mother’s job to fix everything for everyone – and so I started to mimic this. So, by keeping myself really busy I avoided feeling my sadness through managing to turn situations around. Hence, no longer was I the problem – but was now conveniently the solution.

How sad is it that our young daughters today may be going through exactly what we went through ourselves, simply because we (unknowingly) carry the hurt of our own childhoods. Not knowing how to deal with this hurt could mean we actually avoid talking about these subjects with our own daughters

How refreshing would it be to let go of these hurts and open up to our daughters so that they could discuss how they feel, instead of us going into self-blame or the fix-a-holic mode that we do so well?

When I was a teenager, I went ‘quite wild’ for a while and reflecting back now, do wonder if this was me perhaps in rebellion to what I could feel that lay ahead of me!… Indeed, my rebellion with such ‘wild behaviours’ feels like it was because I knew that the roles I saw being played out by women just didn’t feel right to or for me (to then have ‘one day’ for myself). And that I wanted no part to play in that world.

As grown women we have such an opportunity to live in a way in which young girls can be inspired. This starts with the tender honouring of oneself – as a woman.

I only started to consider and ask all these questions for myself when inspired by Natalie Benhayon’s (an Esoteric Practitioner) Presentation at a Women’s Group which I attended through Universal Medicine. And I am so glad I’ve been able to have this opportunity, as now my own daughter and I have an amazing relationship that just grows richer and richer – the more I feel and share with her, the more she feels and shares with me.

142 thoughts on “Women and their Daughters

  1. Observing my family instead of judging them from my hurts, helps me to go deeper in my relationship with them and myself, allowing me to understand the bigger picture of the constellation we are in, embrace the learnings on offer and relate with them from within. Definitely the deeper I go with myself, the deeper I go with others and this has the potential of transforming any pattern that we may have created in the past.

  2. “As grown women we have such an opportunity to live in a way in which young girls can be inspired. This starts with the tender honouring of oneself – as a woman.” The playful, loving, sensitive young girl is always there as part of who we are and inspiration from another allows it to blossom.

  3. My mother used to tell me how strong I was as a young girl and how tiring she found my resistance to what she wanted me to conform to so I definitely saw myself as part of the ‘problem’ of why my mother found life so hard and looked for ways to mitigate this and become the ‘solution’ which meant I spent many years being distracted by trying to solve others’ problems because I perceived them as more important than mine. Committing to clearing my childhood issues has allowed me to build a loving relationship with myself and also leave others to find their own way through life which has undoubtedly brought me and my daughter closer together as I no longer try and impose my solutions onto her but support her on her path which she appreciates particularly in recent months as she has progressed through her pregnancy.

  4. It is very easy to lose ourselves in the doing as we grow up when we are used to seeing people around us striving to achieve or feeling the pressure from trying to balance so many things in the day putting everyone’s needs ahead of our own. I now understand from connecting more deeply with myself how important it is to maintain a loving and tender relationship with ourselves as the quality in which we hold and value ourselves with not only provides a steadiness in our life it naturally allows us to be more open and caring in our interactions with others.

  5. It’s horrible the way most people grow up these days. It is not common to have true love and understanding in any family and what we call love is actually not love at all but more of an emotional splurge or a role you fit into “because you love this person as they are part of the family”. But is it possible we have actually not been saying yes to true real love in the first place? What would it be like with true love in the home? Could we handle the responsibility this would naturally ask of us or are we too invested in individuality to not be able to accept it?

  6. We take on roles to try and cover up our sadness for not being recognised for who we truly are, and so search for a form of validation elsewhere, ‘Most likely, I willingly took on this role of ‘the fixer’ to cover up the very deep sadness I felt in not being cherished, seen and held as the beautiful little girl I was, and had felt myself to be. Instead, I became ‘seen’ or validated by my parents and people through learning ‘to do’ (things) and ‘achieve’ what others wanted and expected of me’

  7. It is beautiful to hear you have a growing relationship with your daughter, just allowing yourself to reflect on your own life and experiences, and letting go of your hurts has allowed another way of living.

  8. You are spot on about teenage rebellion. Yes, we feel that something isn’t right or true, so we fight growing up so we don’t have to become like the women we see around us. If we were encouraged to be our loving selves and could feel how amazing this is, would we rebel in the same way?

    1. If we were supported to remain connected to our inner essence then we would have no need to rebel as our own love would sustain us in finding our true path without detouring down the rebellion route.

  9. Yes the fixer is something I know well too, instead of staying with what we are feeling it seems easier to just rush out to fix it and make the other feel better, but is this truly for the other or actually in the end for ourselves? Because when the other feels better we feel better too. But the bottom line is that none of this is true love or joy.

  10. I took on the picture that life was a struggle from my mother who had health issues and as the oldest I assumed the role of helper and fixer and also transferred this into other areas of my life, often using it as a distraction from feeling disconnected.
    I felt ambivalent about getting married and having children and would have found it really supportive to have someone to share this with but found it hard to challenge the status quo of what was expected. I have supported my daughter as much as possible to be true to what she felt and she gets married today to a lovely gentle man and whilst they will undoubtedly have challenges they communicate and support each other in a loving and playful way that makes my heart sing.

  11. Through Learning that I was carrying hurts and also how these formed filters through which I was viewing my life, was a huge revelation to me. Now that I have healed the underlying causes of many of my perceived hurts, I can feel how they were shackles that kept me locked in the belief that I had to live my life from what I observed around me as I was growing up, rather than living my life in my own way.

  12. Yes, it is time to be open and honest about these old ways of behaving that can run us, to heal them and not pass them onto the next generation, ‘It’s possible I started to act out this ‘fixer / helper role’ for two reasons: firstly, I strongly felt that I was the reason life was hard and why it was a daily grind to get through it; secondly, I had watched how it was my mother’s job to fix everything for everyone – and so I started to mimic this.’

  13. It is great that there are role models living in a way that honours and cherishes the woman now, showing and inspiring all of us that we do have a choice.

  14. “My own mother and I never sat down together and discussed how I felt about actually becoming a woman, and what this may potentially entail for me as I grew up.” This was the case with me – and for many other women I’m sure. I would like to think times have moved on and that things are different now – but are they? Do we just perpetuate how things were for us growing up? Why is it so hard to have intimate conversations with family?

  15. ‘I became ‘seen’ or validated by my parents and people through learning ‘to do’ (things) and ‘achieve’ what others wanted and expected of me.’ This sentence jumped out at me because it feels like the start of giving up on ourselves and living a life that pleases others rather than a life that is true and honest for ourselves.

  16. I can relate very much what you experienced as a young girl Toni. I remember having this feeling of isolation while I saw the stress from the adults in ‘doing mode’. There was no time to express how I felt so I ended to believe that I didn’t matter.
    Having Sacred Esoteric Healing sessions supported me deeply to let go all the resentment and anger of not being met and seen for who I am. Letting go my hurts was very key to start to appreciate myself and my parents equally. Today I value the little moments shared with them as an opportunity to see and meet them for the beauty-full beings that they really are.

  17. This blog makes me realize how easily we can live separated lifes in a living together. By focusing just in the functional stuff or going into the routine of the day we can disconnect of the value and appreciation of the small moments to really share about us. True is that I often see and feel more than I express but your experience invites me to open up myself more to others, whether with my family members or with people who I have been met for the very first time. Thank you Toni.

    1. Disconnection is a such huge part of what plays out in our relationships. Not bringing understanding to all aspects when raising children is a factor that soften down plays the quality relationships we can develop that offers the support for all parties.

  18. Not dealing with our hurts we can take it out on our children. We say things and act out behaviours that have become so normal that we do not think twice about doing them but through becoming aware either by being called out or seeing them for ourselves we begin to see how we affect our children and others around us. We then have a choice to deal with what has come up for us by expressing how we feel or we can pretend and ignore our feelings until the same situation arises again. Expressing how I feel in the moment is coming with practice as for so long I had chosen to shut down my expression by overriding what my body was communicating with me. By learning to express in the moment I am showing my children and others that there is another way to be in life and that is not to hold back what I feel and sense not only for myself but for others too.

  19. I found it important not to take on the burden of others. If they ask for support, definitely give support if possible but if people don’t want to change, taking on their burden helps neither.

  20. It is a great sharing of how we start to be a fixer when we are young and want to make our mother not feel sad or pressured and what really stood out for me is the fact of feeling like we are the cause of all this. This makes sense to how I now feel this still happening but not just with my mum, also with friends or relatives. But we are not the cause and we can not be the cause, the cause for all of us is in choosing to not confirm ourselves, claim ourselves and love ourselves, what ever the world around us is doing.

    1. Feels very refreshing opening up here these kind of conversations about the roles that we have played to fit in a world that told us how to be. The more honest and aware I am the more clarity I have to discern when I fall in some of these patterns today, with no critizism but an understanding that there is a deeper aspect of me that deserves to be honoured and claimed.

  21. A beautiful and inspiring sharing Toni! There are many women who will read this and recognise themselves in the struggle to be all things to all ! Not giving themselves that attention they deserve is something that it is important to change for all women and their daughters.

  22. That’s wonderful Toni. I honestly would love to express everything I feel. I sit behind that line I’ve created in the sand and don’t express what I know from the fear of the power of truth I hold or more so love. What I am faced against is everyone’s picture of love and how you need to be. So, to support me, as taught by the Ageless Wisdom, is to honour my self-claimed awareness and confirm the reading of why ‘the energy’ is and if needed how to express my love which in more situations then often is to express by movements in the love that I know.

  23. I too grew up painting a rosy picture of my future. Meeting the ‘one’ and having kids was set is stone in the painting as I was led to believe this was what life was all about. I did get married (not to the man I thought I would settle down with) and I have three beautiful kids that came much later than I had planned. We take on pictures that we think are true for us but later find that life is not like the image we grew up with.

    1. Its so true so many of us take on pictures when we are young, but its not our truth. We are so blessed now tho have this wisdom and understanding being shared with us, so we can change the way we have been living, and be of a true reflection to others.

  24. Those of us who have been inspired to choose a way of living and being that reignites the grace and preciousness of the woman we are have a responsibility to share this deeply felt wisdom with others so that the entrapment of the beliefs of the doing and fixing can be dissolved. .

  25. As grown women we indeed have a massive responsibility to live a life that will inspire younger women… offering them role models that show them that there is a way to live true to themselves in the world and not hold back the gorgeous women they are for anything.

  26. I used to feel like this “Daily life was a chore in general…” I used to hang on with steel like control to events and moments that I did not want to forget because, the rest of my life was only ok…you know when you greet someone and you say “how are you?” an they might say or you might say “Ohhh not to bad…” That is how I felt…hanging on to these memories gave my life a type of meaning. I am learning that every day matters, no need to be waiting for the ‘special’ moment’s, I can live fully everyday, enjoying life and connections with more constancy the same quality, so every day has joy in it. This is why life is not longer a chore.

  27. Great call to not accept the status quo and instead inspire the next generation by honouring ourselves as the truly sacred women we are.

  28. Ah yes Toni, the old ‘fix it mode’ . . . I was in it before I was 8 years old! I can track that back to being the oldest daughter as it was my role fix difficult potentially stressful situations. Sometimes I was asked to sit in between two brawling children on a car trip to stop them fighting. I also kind of set myself up as a Cinderella kind of figure helping around the house in order to keep the peace, whereas my brothers had a completely different childhood. Taking the bins out was all that seemed to be required of them whereas the girls stripped beds, cooked and cleaned from as young as 4 ½. That was over 50 years ago . . . Time to change to the reality that a family can work together as a real team. So both mothers and daughter . . . and fathers and sons . . . can be seen for who they truly are.

  29. I recently had a conversation with my niece who is in her mid 20’s about the fact that most of her friends are all getting married or are already married with children. It was a beautiful conversation about not having to have a boyfriend, be married or having children, and that learning more about yourself and being with just you can be a really good thing, and my niece was very honest and open to the fact that its worth waiting for the right relationship, rather than jumping into one because everyone else is in one.

  30. As I was reading this article I felt the deep sadness and acceptance of that being life, as this is what I thought and lived for many years. I no longer live engulfed in sadness as I have been reminded that I have choice in what I live with. Sadness was simply an overlay that I thought was me, but underneath it there was a part of me that knew deeply of my worth, my essence. Having the courage to explore my essence and to let it guide my life has and continues to be an awe-inspiring experience. One that comes from deep within.

  31. Yes, it is great that we now have some role models of women who inspire us to be loving and honouring of ourselves, ‘As grown women we have such an opportunity to live in a way in which young girls can be inspired. This starts with the tender honouring of oneself – as a woman.’

  32. I loved reading this Toni, it relates to both men and women, in so many areas of our lives. Our boys watch us as Mothers just as close as they watch their Fathers as well. I did not have a positive view of one day working from watching the stress and overwhelm of adults around me growing up. I’ve only in the last few years realised that I have tainted work with that. We have a responsibility as parents and adults to share honestly how we are feeling and let our children see us being reflective about what we are reacting to and work on that.

  33. It is interesting how family assume you will get married and become a mother, it is really important to actually communicate and talk about what you feel about becoming a woman, and mothers have an opportunity to share their experiences without any need for their daughters to get married and start a family, it has to be what feels right for you.

  34. This is a great sharing to recommend Parents to read and share with their daughters as you have done Toni. Something that I would love to have been able to ask my daughters and have been asked myself too! Thank you.

  35. When I was little I remember saying that I wanted to live in a big house by myself and drive a red car. That memory makes me smile. It hasn’t come true, but at the time it appeared that being a mother and a wife was not that much fun. When I became a mother myself I did treat it as an obligation and sometimes a chore. I made sure I was ticking all the boxes, but lost myself in the busy role. I have been inspired by people who have posed questions that I never thought of asking myself. By being open to the possibility that I could live my life in a different way, I am rediscovering the woman I am.

  36. Gosh Toni I am sure everyone can related to your story. I heard something on the radio today about young children by the age of 3 are making decision based on gender. This is really young. We are so being groomed for our futures without even realising it. With such ways well embedded in society, that when someone does not fit with the so called “norm” it is no wonder that the reactions can be pretty stark. But we do all have the right to be our natural selves, whatever that may look like.

  37. It is amazing just how much we take from the role models we have in our lives growing up even when we don’t like what they model to us. I can remember thinking as a child just how differently I would be as a mother but at the end of the day a lot of the traits I didn’t like still came through in my parenting and the way I was as a woman. It isn’t until we learn more about ourselves and let go of the driven behaviours we are run by as a result of our held hurts we can reconnect with who we truly are and express from a more naturally love place deep within us.

  38. Dear Toni, I reading your blog I can feel how much I hold back from sharing my life, truly sharing my feelings and inner most thoughts with my family. Thank you for sharing this.

  39. Toni another fabulous blog from you, thankyou for all you have expressed here. I could really relate to this line about how we role model growing into women “everywhere I looked, that was what ‘being a woman’ meant – growing up and being there for everyone else’s needs”. I still find myself completely in self neglect at times only focusing on others, and I have come to learn that this false but pervasive view on womanhood is really deeply entrenched in our society. Through the support of Esoteric Women’s Health I have been able to reconnect to the simplicity of being a woman and who I am in essence, and begin to drop the imposed beliefs and ideals of womanhood.

  40. I feel how amazing it is that there are now women I know within the Universal Medicine student body who have children and are asking them questions such as how their daughters I feel about becoming a woman, and what this may potentially entail for them. I know for me that if this had happening when I was a child, life would have been clearer and one helluva lot less confusion and complicated. I have felt torn most of my life between the ideal of what it is to be a woman and what I was feeling within in my heart. These children are blessed and so are we for they are our future, changing the past.

    1. Beautiful Lucy, what I saw growing up and being a woman was not very inviting. There was one adult who every time they saw me from 14 years of age would ask when I was getting married. It was very confusing and I was always uncomfortable about it. It was like I was accepted more by some adults when I did get married.

  41. I agree with you Toni, especially where we need to role model what a true Women truly is . As we learn from listening to the presentations and being inspired by the lives of those around us, such as Natalie Benhayon and Miranda Benhayon.

  42. We don’t know what happened in our parent’s past, unless they openly share. But what we can do is continually develop a loveliness within ourselves and make that the basis of all our future relationships.

    1. Luke absolutely, we can start with outselves and move forward with knowing what reflection we are bringing to others and continuously deepen.

  43. “I learned from a very young age that I was destined to become a mother and a wife. I didn’t really question this, because everywhere I looked, that was what ‘being a woman’ meant – growing up and being there for everyone else’s needs.” This sentence struck a chord with me and makes me sad that I and so many took on the ‘doing’ role and lost connection to the beauty and sacredness of the woman within. It is never too late and with the inspiration of so many women who are students of Universal Medicine I am discovering the joy of being a woman.

  44. Great point Sally our words way of living speaks much louder and clearer than any words. Kids learn so much from us and then play it out in their games of playing house with each other. While working in child care several years ago I remember being so struck by what the children did in home corner and how they spoke, it was as if they were replicating home and all that happens there. Very revealing and quite shocking, even disturbing.

  45. I remember setting myself up with a picture, mine was more about a job and a lifestyle than anything else, as I look back I never had the conversation with my mother, and as I read your words “As grown women we have such an opportunity to live in a way in which young girls can be inspired. This starts with the tender honouring of oneself – as a woman.” A choice to look after ourselves in a tender loving way, is a great reflection, and greatly inspiring too.

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