Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Heaviness of Raising a Girl

A sweet friend at work is pregnant with her first child and just found out she is having a girl. After the initial congratulations, I asked her how she was feeling about it.

She told me that she was scared. She was excited, but scared.

Having a daughter just seemed so much heavier of a job for a mama.

Not the physical running around part, but the day to day interactions, the desire to instil a positive self-confidence in this little being; to raise up a young woman who respects herself and knows she is beautiful.

As my own daughter begins to transition from toddler to little girl, I am faced with this reality. How am I portraying the idea of a woman to her? How am I describing beauty to her? How am I lifting her up in a way that fosters a confident and positive strong will? When I write it all out, it does seem all that more heavy.

All the sudden, we as mothers of little girls, are forced to examine how we view ourselves. What is the self-image I am projecting? Because she is watching.

Everyday, she is watching her mama. She is listening to what I say, whether it's about her, someone else, or myself. She is watching me put on my makeup and brush my hair. She watches my interactions with her dada. How I let him stop me each night in my dish washing frenzy and hold me for just a few seconds.

I want so badly for her to have a strong sense of self, to have a positive self-image, to know she is truly and deeply loved and to know that what she looks like on the outside will never change that.

I don't ever want her to think that she needs to change herself to fit in, or to look just right in order to please others. She is already just right the way she was made.

This world will try to sway her and TV and movies will try to tell her what is beautiful, but in all of that I hope she remembers her mama.

I hope she remembers all those days of messy hair and no makeup. The days where the clothes didn't matter and flip flops worked just fine. The days where her dada showed her tired mama that he loved her in all her realness in front of a sink full of dirty dishes.

Because this is what I have control over. I have control over how I view myself; how I portray myself; and it matters.

Not just for me, but for her.

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