Raising a Girl

Raising a girl requires moxie.

Being a female can be daunting at times. Many of us struggle to figure out who we are well into adulthood. There’s immense pressure from the media to “be” a certain way. The women who are in the spotlight are usually women we can never be and in all honesty, should not be. It’s ridiculous. I am tired of hearing about a certain celebrity’s ass or some other poor actress who has a drug problem. It’s disappointing to see so many young women trying to live up to these crazy expectations.

I am in my mid-30s and occasionally still feel the conflicting pressures of being a woman. Sometimes, the inner voice of doubt gets loud enough to hear…

 Should I speak up more often? Am I pretty? Will my ideas be taken seriously? Am I strong enough?

Most of the time, I am fortunate that I feel pretty darn fabulous! And I have my mom to thank for that. She has always reminded me of my worth, appreciated my opinions, and made sure I understood the value of intelligence. (Thanks, Mom!) She knew when to be humble, when to speak up, how to be aggressive, and how to hold back a little. She took great pains to remind me that I am enough, even if other people might not think so. Yet she also allowed me to experience the trials and tribulations that everyone must endure in order to learn about the harsh realities of the world, and find the bitter-sweet inner solace that life still goes on. It took a strong woman to raise a strong woman.

Now, it’s my turn. I’m the mom and I am raising a daughter. Things have come full circle. It will be a labor of love to instill the kind of positive qualities in Emily that help her to get the most out of life. I hope to always find ways to help her realize her full potential. Throughout her life, I want her to have so much joy and strength and compassion and critical thinking.  I want Emily to grow up to be so many things:

Kind. Intelligent. Strong. Able. Loved. Willing. Respectable. Thoughtful. Self-confident.

So that’s the duty I humbly and graciously accept. I would rather be the one to raise my daughter to be a classy and confident woman than the media making her feel inadequate or that she has to be something she’s not. Some might call me old-fashioned, but it’s our job as parents to raise our children properly and with love. I am not shaming anyone in their parenting skills/approach, I am merely suggesting we take a look at what’s happening to our children and make better choices.

And while we’re at it, let’s raise our boys to be the kind of gentlemen we would want our daughters to date. I don’t have a son of my own, but I hope to one day. My husband would be a great role-model for him, teaching him traditionally masculine things like changing a tire and gutting a fish. Yet I know he’d also be great at teaching him how to be respectful to women, how to value their intelligence, and admire their womanly ways.

My husband is great with teaching my daughter science concepts and how to build forts out of pillows and blankets, and this warms my heart! As parents, we are a team and we aren’t gender specific in what we teach our daughter. I can show her how to play soccer, and Ramon can help her learn how to crochet. There’s balance, trust, and encouragement in how we interact with Emily, and I hope it inspires her to be a well-rounded individual.

Raising a girl does indeed take moxie. Raising my girl to have her own moxie will be a proud achievement I hope to accomplish.

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