An open letter to my 16 year old daughter

parenting Apr 03, 2023

When you were little I wasn’t a great mum to you, even though my heart was bursting with love for you. I ignored my instinct and listened to others about the best way to parent you.

Despite reading so many parenting and baby books I didn’t get a manual when I became a mum and you entered into this world, and I screwed up. A lot.

You were 5 years old when I struggled the most with you. I would joke that I wanted to eBay you as I found just being with you to be too hard.

Little did I realise it was because we are so similar, and you were trying to get me to parent you the right way. The right way for both of us. To be the kind of mum I always wanted to be, the one you needed me to be, the one I kept ignoring as I tried to be the “right” mum for everyone else.

Slowly I started to do inner work on myself.

Gradually Shouty Mummy made fewer appearances.

You and I got closer.

It didn’t happen overnight and I’ve had to admit how wrong I’ve been, and apologise, so many times. But it’s been so worth it. And thank you for always being so understanding.

You are the most incredible human being, and I am so immensely proud to be your mum. Although I won’t claim any of the glory, this is all you.

You are funny, soooooooo intelligent, interesting, strong, emotionally intelligent, and truly one of my favourite people on this planet.

I told some friends recently that if I was going to be stranded on a desert island and could choose one person to be there with me, it would be you. You are the one person I am certain would stop me from getting bored and wouldn’t upset or annoy me.

I love that we have such clear boundaries with each other, and that we can tell each other to go away because we need space without offending the other one.

Conversations with you are fascinating; we can talk about anything from Shakespeare to Twilight, from Mozart to techno music, from Jane Eyre to TikTok trends, psychology, philosophy, the meaning of life, body image, feminism, sex, drugs and rock & roll, and a gazillion other varied subjects.

You are an incredible cook, and so thoughtful - finding vegan recipes and making them for me and our family even though you aren’t vegan.

Your little sister thinks you are the best thing in the world too as you look after her so well when we leave you in charge, you play with her, talk to her, listen to her and teach her about life.

I have lost count of the number of times you’ve seen that I’m frazzled and have offered to help me with chores so I can rest. You have such incredible empathy and understanding of others.

While other parents lose their teens to social media, phones and tablets, I love that you and I can spend hours discussing books and music. Even though you have a phone and sometimes fall down a TikTok rabbit hole ;-)

You are wiser and more self-aware than most adults I know.

You are truly fascinating, hilarious, honest and real.

I am sorry it took me so long to become a decent mum to you. I’m sorry for the trauma I’ve caused you and for the therapy that you will need to deal with this.

If I had known just how incredible our relationship could be I would have done the inner work on myself so much sooner.

Thank you for being you, for the lessons you teach me every day, for the fun we have, for the chats we have, and for all the incredible meals you make for us.

You are not one in a million, you are one of a kind, and I am so proud to be your mum and so happy to get to spend time with you.

I love you more than I’ll ever be able to communicate to you.


The photo is of me when you were a teeny tiny 2 month old foetus inside of me (little did I know just how much my life was going to change!)


 If you are struggling with parenting or want to know how to repair a relationship drop me a message, I'm sure I have a resource (free or paid) that will help you.


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