We all know how tough it is to keep in touch with our loved ones while we are in business school. Between MGEC problem sets, learning team meetings, small group dinners, and late night drinking, it’s hard to find the time to call our families and give them a glimpse into our Wharton world.
This is a challenge I’ve faced with my mom since I graduated college. Living four hours apart with a busy professional and personal life, it became difficult to find time to catch up and see each other frequently.
From my mom’s perspective, she was eager to know what was going on in my life, but didn’t want to be overbearing. I wanted to talk to my mom, but struggled to find the time to have meaningful conversations. We both ended up settling for quick phone check-ins as I ran between meetings and activities.
It wasn’t until we went on a mother-daughter trip to Costa Rica in 2013 that our relationship reached a tipping point. We had a great time together – filled with adventure, laughter, and yes, some tears. It was a real breakthrough in our relationship and got us thinking about the challenges of adult mother-daughter relationships.
There are lots of mommy blogs and books that provide advice for mothers with young children. But, what happens when mom and daughter are both adults? How do you shift your relationship to respect each other as equals?
This was the start of our journey to launch My Mother, My Daughter, My Friend, a blog that profiles the everyday triumphs and challenges of adult mother-daughter relationships. Each week, my mom and I choose a relevant topic and write about it from both of our perspectives. Topics include fighting fair, pet peeves, learning to forgive, bonding over hobbies, and work-life balance. We also share “Things We Love” like recipes, books, and travel destinations since these are all things that help us stay connected, especially when we are miles apart.
Our goal is to be brutally honest and write about the good and the bad. Overall, I’d say my mom and I have a very healthy relationship, but writing about our unique experiences has helped us understand each other better and improve our relationship.
For example, in our post called “Moody Moments,” we documented a disagreement we had over the phone. A little argument that would have been glossed over had become an amazing learning experience for us that opened up many doors for dialogue.
In addition, we profile mother-daughter duos and businesses on our blog to build a community – and these are almost always our most popular posts. As mothers and daughters, we rarely take the time to pause and express our love and admiration for each other. These profiles allow women to share their feelings towards each other and, better yet, celebrate their relationship with our readers.
Many Wharton women have published profiles with their moms and it’s been great to share my passion project with new friends from school.
Still, we wanted to take it a step further. On October 24th-25th, we have partnered with WWIB to host Wharton’s first ever Mother-Daughter Weekend. The event will include an introduction by Maryellen Lamb (who is bringing her mother!), a panel discussion among mother-daughter businesses partners and many opportunities to mix and mingle. We have planned a fun-filled, meaningful weekend to help Wharton moms experience ‘a day in the life’ of their daughters.
A few friends told me that their moms started to cry when they invited them to this event. To me, this is a sign that we have already accomplished our goal: to create space and time for mothers and daughters to reconnect during this chaotic time at business school.
In the two years we have been writing our blog, life has only become busier and our relationship more complex. In the midst of my crazy business school schedule, writing our blog has allowed me to stay focused on what’s important in my life – my relationship with my mom and loved ones.
And while our blog has gained steady traction since its launch, my mom and I measure our success through the quality of our relationship, not page views. Like most Wharton students, I spend my days planning my career and next moves; however, our blog has taught me that it’s equally important to stay present in the now and take the time to nurture my relationships with the people who matter most to me, like my mom.
Subscribe to My Mother, My Daughter, My Friend.