With all the new babies in my life, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking, reading, and talking about parenting. Indeed, I am of the age where the weddings start to dwindle and the baby showers boom and I would be lying if I said I hadn’t caught the I-Want-A-Baby bug.
While Baby Rathroy isn’t exactly on the way (it’s only been 3 months since the wedding, people), all of this baby brain has helped me reflect on being a woman, what I think it might possibly mean to be a mother, and how truly difficult it can be to grow up gracefully in this world (Lord knows graceful was not the path I chose…).
So, I compiled a list. A list that I’m sure will be obsolete by the time I have adolescent children, and may even be way off the mark to people that are parenting right now. But, it’s a list of lessons I’ve learned through tears, heartbreak, cruelty, therapy, and a continual search for self awareness. It’s a list of things that I want my daughter to know, that I hope might help with the tears, heartbreak and cruelty that she’ll encounter in this world.
1. It’s not your job to cater to other people. Not to a boy, not to your teachers, not even to me. Your job is to be yourself, your best self, and to provide that to the world.
2. Sexy is a state of mind, not a body type.
3. Being outspoken, opinionated and decisive are leadership skills. That makes you an extrovert, not a bitch. Though there is a thin line. Use those skills to be a leader, not a dictator. (And if you’re an introvert, that’s okay too, but you’ll have to talk to your father about what that’s like.)
4. No one in this world will ever complete you. It is up to you to make and keep your life full. Whatever someone else brings into your life (be it a friend, a mentor, a partner) is a wonderful bonus.
5. Your body belongs to you. No one else gets to determine what happens to it.
6. Your mind belongs to you. No one else gets to determine what happens to it.
7. The world does not owe you anything. It will provide for many of your needs, but if you want something, you work for it.
8. Drama addiction is real and it’s capable of draining the happiness from your life.
9. Be proud of yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to pat you on the back. Acknowledge your own accomplishments. Because if you know that you’re awesome, then it won’t matter if someone else thinks differently.
10. Education will create incredible opportunity in your life. Learn everything. I don’t care if it’s a Ph.D. in astrophysics or vocational clown school. If something interests you, gain as much knowledge about it as possible.
11. Sometimes death isn’t the end. It’s complicated, and everyone has their own ideas on the subject. Find your beliefs and let them help you through grief, because there will be grief. But it doesn’t have to be the end.
It’s far from a comprehensive list, and I’m screwed if we have all boys, but it’s a start to hopefully building a confident, courageous, and curious daughter. And even if this list is moot for one reason or another, it’s nice to see that positive lessons really can be created, even in the face of tears, heartbreak, and cruelty.