Mother & Daughter, Inc. – Simple Reminders for the Most Complicated of Relationships

Mothers and Daughters

Mother & Daughter, Inc. – Simple Reminders for the Most Complicated of Relationships

All relationships come with their own unique merits and challenges. But is there any more supercharged than between a mother and daughter? It’s a bond that can be frustrating or fulfilling, tumultuous or tranquil, sometimes all in the same day. But the intense connection that sparks complicated emotions can be a powerful force in a partnership.

No one can deny the impact that women-owned businesses have on our economy. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, women-owned firms have grown over the last 15 years by one and a half times the rate of other small enterprises and now account for almost 30 percent of all businesses.

Which is all very encouraging. But if you’re a mother and daughter in business, you’re probably more concerned about how well your business is doing. And that may be largely dependent on how well the two of you are doing. Here are three simple reminders for a successful mother-daughter partnership.

Put Up a Mending Wall

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” Robert Frost wrote in his famous poem. And yet, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Setting clear boundaries may be the most important step a mother-daughter team can take.

On the one hand, you may want to be strongly connected; on the other, you may want to be separate and autonomous. These needs are not incompatible.

Agreeing on boundaries – between work and home, personal and professional – is as important to your success as having a business plan.

Banish the “Bad Mommy” Taboo

Our society has a tendency to glorify the mother-daughter relationship. A daughter may be conditioned from an early age to censor any negative feelings about her mother. Psychologist and author Victoria Secunda calls this the “bad mommy taboo.” In business, however, partners must be free to give and receive feedback without repercussion.

Mother doesn’t always know best. Daughter doesn’t either. Give each other permission to see each other objectively, and provide constructive feedback on business issues.

Stop Talking to Keep Communicating

For many women, talking is the glue that holds relationships together. But conversations between mothers and daughters can be complicated. There can be layers of meaning and history in what’s said. It’s hard to get out of well-trodden conversational grooves.

If you find old issues and conflicts creeping into your business conversations, agree to take a break. The remedy for conversational conflict isn’t usually to keep on talking.

Years ago, there was a wide gap between the generations when it came to choices of lifestyle and occupation. In many ways, today’s mothers and daughters have much more in common. They are the first generation to share experience in the workforce and the challenge of balancing family and career. Some of them even choose to do it together. And when they do, healthy boundaries, objective feedback and skilled communication help them to keep it together.

The dynamic between mothers and daughters can be complex. But when love and loyalty come together with talent and opportunity, it can be a winning business formula.