Mother Hunger

Tonza with her mother and two of her daughters

I am the mother of 3 daughters.

I was 19 years old when I had my first daughter, 28 years old when I had my second daughter, and 38 years old when I had my third daughter. To say that my parenting style varied from child to child is an understatement. With my first child, I spent no time thinking about how my emotional and mental well-being played a significant role in how I parented. Remember, I was 19 years old when she was born. And while I was a rather responsible 19-year-old, I was still in the developmental stages myself. I focused on establishing a career and providing opportunities for my daughter to blossom through exposure. I took it for granted that she understood my deep love for her.

Maturity, life experiences, and my natural curiosity led to an evolution that began when my middle daughter was between middle and high school.

I realized that in addition to basic provisions and opportunities, I had to spend some time focusing on my emotional and mental well-being if I truly wanted to succeed at parenting. Of course, this epiphany did not lead to an overnight transformation. What I can say is I know that my willingness to acknowledge that my emotional and mental well-being mattered greatly led to what I believe was a much better space for my girls to receive what they needed from me as a mother. Keyword, BETTER! Not perfect, but BETTER! And we are okay with that.

Tonza and her oldest daughter
Me and My Oldest Daughter

I think the Red Table Talk episode, How Destructive Mothers Damage Their Daughters: Could This Be You? is a must-see for all women navigating the world of being a mommy to daughters!

It might be good to watch it on your own so that you can take it in without feeling judged. I was able to freely go through a wide range of emotions as I watched and thought about my experiences as both a mother and a daughter. Once you have had an opportunity to take it in, share it with your daughters if they are older. My 13-year-old would think I am having a mental breakdown if I made her watch this.

Tonza and 2 of her daughters
Me and my middle and youngest daughter

Here were my takeaways:

  • There are three key things that girls need from their mothers.
    • nurturing
    • protection
    • guidance
  • When I was raising my first daughter, I was not ready to defrost the grief that came from me growing up in an extremely abusive home (my mother being abused at the hands of my father). That impacted my parenting.
  • Although my parents provided for me, I did not feel nurtured or protected when I was a little girl. My mother was not nurtured as a little girl. My grandmother was not nurtured as a little girl.
  • A daughter’s need for her mother does not magically end when she reaches adulthood. Daughters always need their mothers.
  • Damage can be undone!
  • I need to get a copy of Mother Hunger: How Adult Daughters Can Understand and Heal From Lost Nurturance, Protection, and Guidance.

Healing and growth are ongoing processes. We should always be open to it!

Much Love,


Vibin' With Tonza Book

Published by Tonza D. Ruffin

Perfectly Imperfect but VERY PROUD WOMAN, MOM, LAWYER, and AUTHOR, but most importantly...LIFE LOVER! I laugh loud, I work hard, I play hard, I am adventurous, I am curious, I am driven, I have moments of deep insecurity, I am loving, I am vulnerable, I am explosive (not one of my finer qualities), I dance around my house alone, I am an awful perfectionist which makes my insecurity worse, I sing out loud in my car without any concern for whose watching, I have trust issues, I do not live through my children, I no longer try to force my children into the mold that I created so that I could feel validated as a mother, I am a risk-taker, I am guarded in my personal life, I am kind, I am grateful. I am so excited about the rest of my life!

14 thoughts on “Mother Hunger

  1. What a wonderful blog! This hit home in a way I would have never though! I am the mom of a boy but an adult daughter who needs to heal from loss nurturance, protection and guidance.

  2. When reading this, I recall so many things in my head. I have so many wounds that are not healed from my childhood. It’s so good to see you are reflecting and healing at the same time.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I’m in total agreement, our responsibility as Mothers is to nurture, protect and guide. Even in my darkest hours, how I navigated through several storms was a lesson in resistance.

  4. Excellent read! Generational trauma is one of the most challenging chains to break, especially in our culture.

  5. Very true indeed. We need to be there for our kids and let them know that we are open to talk about any adversities they may experience.

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