I write for teens and for moms, so talk to them both a lot about what’s happening in their lives.
Over the past few years, something has changed.
Daughters now have all the information. Like never before, they are able to use social media, YouTube, Amazon, vlogs, and Pinterest to figure out life on their own. More and more, they are turning to their phones for answers.
But where does that put us as moms? Not too long ago, our girls needed us to drive them to the mall to buy a prom dress, to show them how to scrub a stain out of white jeans, to help them understand Romeo & Juliet, and to hash through the drama of high school.
And now? Has Alexa—who can tell my girl if she needs an umbrella and how to make lasagna and what year Michael Jackson died—replaced my knowledge as her mom?
I don’t know about you, mamas, but this can mess with your role as the boss, the caretaker, the One Who Knows All The Things. Your self-confidence can slip. You can feel a little powerless. It can be hard to stand up to your daughter, who already has answers to questions you didn’t even know she was asking (the internet).
Here’s the deal, though. You still do know, moms. You know the deeper, richer lessons that you can’t ask Alexa to answer. You know your daughter’s heart from the inside out. You have a soul full of knowledge about this precious girl. You know her personal history and struggles… you see her strength…you know where she will trip, and what will pick her up when she falls.
Because, as it turns out, Shmoop can explain the plot of Romeo & Juliet, but it can’t tell your daughter that boys as dramatic as Romeo always end in relationship dumpster fires. Alexa might be helpful with the facts for your daughter’s essay about drugs and celebrities, but your girl needs to hear about your mom’s alcoholism and your family’s long struggle with addiction. She needs you to tell her this. She needs an answer when a cute boy offers her a glass of sangria.
Be her mom. You are still the expert here and have the deepest wisdom. Yes, Amazon Prime has changed the way we buy bathing suits—but your daughter still needs you to tell her to keep her body covered.
Yes, she has access to every movie ever made and TV shows you’ve never heard of, but she still needs you to look at what she’s watching. And, if it’s trash, don’t be afraid to veto it. Garbage in, garbage out is still true.
Mostly, she needs the deeper, soul healing that we all need. She needs to hear that Instagram likes don’t make her worthy—God’s love does. She will find her own relationship with Jesus through prayer and Bible study—and that’s why these are important, every day.
Tell her that all of this technology and information and opportunity isn’t what life is all about—it’s about learning to love God and others better. Everything else is so temporary.
And so, mamas, consider this your invitation to step back into your daughter’s life as the boss, the caretaker, the one who knows her heart from the inside out.
Keep handing her the tools and stories and insight that you know she needs—and doesn’t have on her phone. Tell her everyday how much God loves her and that this is the most important message in her busy day. Hold her when all this other stuff fails, and she is devastated.
You are the one who can show her the timeless lessons.
You are the one who loves her and has prayed for her.
You are mom—and that will never change.