Disabled senior woman in wheelchair with her young daughter.Daughters, have you entered the ‘daughter hood’ yet? If so, you totally know. If not, chances are pretty high that eventually you’ll be there. Here’s the great news – when you arrive – there are millions of other daughters more than ready and willing to help you through. Yes, it’s scary, sad and stressful, but it can also be a sacred time you’ll cherish when you look back on it.

I don’t know about you, but I can say with 100% certainty that I never in a million years imagined I’d be cleaning up diarrhea from the arms, legs, hands, feet and face of my 79-year-old uncle. Seriously. It never once crossed my mind on any given day (or night) of the half-century I’ve been alive. And yet, that’s exactly where I found myself one early spring day in 2015. The experience was an out-of-body one where I was watching myself from the ceiling across the room. Everything was in slow motion. I’d run down the hall, take a deep breath, grab a few more baby wipes and then head back into the bathroom to work as quickly as I possibly could before passing out. When my eyeballs felt like they were about to pop out of my head and my lungs explode, I’d tie up another Food Lion plastic bag and run out of the bathroom and down the opposite direction of the hallway – as far away from the invisible odor line as possible – restock on baby wipes, change my latex gloves, grab a new Food Lion bag, go back to the invisible odor line, take a deep breath and head back into the bathroom. I have to say, that day ranked super high on my ‘WTH just happened’ list.

Tired daughter in glasses sitting at the table with laptop over white backgroundYep. I had arrived … and right on schedule. I didn’t realize I was headed anywhere, but I definitely had arrived. Now I know that the arrival into the ‘daughter hood’ is pretty much the same as arriving at the rotating reading glasses tree at your local Dollar Tree store. “Hmm…do I need 1.0 or 1.5 or 2.0?” Unless your parents (either biological or adopted and in some cases, both) are completely healthy and one day – just out of the blue – die – along with your siblings, spouse, in-laws, adult children and friends – you’ll arrive in the ‘daughter hood’. And for those who have kids and think the ‘parent hood’ is the worst hood you’ll ever visit – I’ve got news for you.

Here’s the interesting thing. I was in the ‘daughter hood’ way before I even knew it. I was actually born into it. In fact, research shows that we daughters actually lose somewhere around $300k or more because we end up leaving the workforce, passing up promotions, etc. to care for an adult loved one.

Two daughters talking in living room and smilingOkay. So, now that you’re ready for an anti-depressant, let’s talk about the good parts of the ‘daughter hood’.

1. It is what it is and you can make it what you want it to be.

With that in mind, what if we were to change our perspective of the ‘daughter hood’ from fear, grief, dread and stress to honor, love, sacredness and a ‘rite of passage’? What if we went from “I can’t believe I have to work AND take care of my kids AND my mom” to “I’m glad this time in my life [when I’m working and caring for my kids and mom] is temporary and that my kids will have the opportunity to observe me caring for their grandmother?”

2. We’re all in this together – so, let’s party!

How cool is it that you can meet a complete stranger and immediately bond as if you’ve known each other forever? That’s how it is in the ‘daughter hood’. It’s amazing the immediate understanding and connection women share when the ‘plight of the daughter’ conversation happens. The energy the conversation evokes is truly palpable. A stranger becomes an immediate ally. An introvert talks for hours on end. An extrovert is initially speechless and then immediately suggests ‘getting the girls together’. It’s an instant connector that breaks through any and all superficial masks and reaches deep into matters of the heart. Let’s be thankful for the friendships we carry with us from the ‘daughter hood’.

3. You’ll be smarter, more flexible and ready to conquer anything once you get through it.

Ask anyone who’s survived (or is surviving) the ‘daughter hood’ and you’ll be amazed at their resilience, perseverance, tolerance for uncertainty, creativity, flexibility, decisiveness and drive. It’s like a boot camp that prepares you for anything and everything life could ever throw your way.

No one has to walk in the ‘daughter hood’ alone. With the explosive growth of social media adoption across all age groups, we now have the opportunity to quickly unite, leverage our experience, knowledge and resources and save each other time, money and emotional distress. Join us today @ www.daughtersunite.com. We need you!

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