“And though she be but little, she is fierce.” –Shakespeare
I often hear moms with all boy children blurt out “I’m so glad I don’t have a girl, boys are so much easier! Plus, I don’t have to pay for a wedding.” And to this, I give you the stink eye.
I have two children, a boy and a girl…life is pretty balanced. I worry about my daughter more right now because she will be starting kindergarten in August. The change terrifies me and I worry that other kids won’t want to play with my daughter. Normal mom fears, right? Yep.
But I stop… and I think… and I trust that she can take care of herself. In fact, I know she can. When her feelings get hurt, mine get hurt. But she picks herself up, dusts herself off and presses on. Wanna know why? It’s because we are raising a confident little girl.
The way my daughter looks at me is so different than any other set of eyes. To her, I’m totally flawless. To her, I’m super woman. To her, I’m the smartest, coolest, and funniest mom there is. Really, to her, there is nothing I can’t do! There was a time, before kids, when my insecurities would shine through and there was a time, before kids, that I would point out my every flaw to my husband, as he would roll my eyes at me.
That girl, man, she’s long gone.
I know that in order to raise a confident woman, I have to be a confident woman; even when I don’t want to be.
There was a moment after having my son, when my daughter poked my brand new post-partum belly just to watch it jiggle all over in every direction. I didn’t slap her hand and tell her not to touch my fat. I laughed and joked about how brother stretched my belly out. I didn’t want her to know how much the post-partum belly is disliked. I wanted her to know that I just created a person, this was the result, and that’s totally okay.
I never want to fail my daughter, so I strive daily to better myself and embrace my imperfections. I want my daughter to grow up knowing that it’s okay to be different. I want her grow up knowing that there is no such thing as ‘normal’. We let her express herself and dress herself, and for us, that means a bat man shirt with Spiderman shoes… and you know what? That’s totally okay. She knows that the opinion of others means very little in regard to what she likes to wear. She knows what she likes and she isn’t afraid to be herself. I want her to always be self-assured and confident, and I’ll forever do my best to set an example.
Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:
-Live in the moment for her. BE present for her.
-Shrug off the small stuff. For example, spilling juice on the kitchen floor that just got mopped…take a breath, it will clean up… and in the process, you teach her to control outbursts.
-Let her see your body, to know that you don’t look like the girls in the magazine or on TV, but that you look like a real woman.
-Carry yourself with confidence and grace.
-Never speak negatively about your body in front of her.
-Let her be HER and never try to change her to fit society. My daughter is in Jiu-Jitsu and loves it; I suppose that not every little girl needs to be a cheerleader or gymnast.
-Don’t just tell her she is beautiful, make sure to tell her how smart and funny she is!
-Listen to EVERY word… Listen now and she may trust you more later.
So, maybe, the next time she starts singing in the car, turn up the radio and sing along with her… The next time she starts dancing in the kitchen, join in. The next time she wants to tell you a secret, attack her with tickles… Be there, be present, and be confident, fun, and goofy. Always be authentic, because she’s looking up to you and you’re setting the way.