what I want my daughter to know and a note to myself.
This article has been rolling around in my brain since Christmas time. Maybe even longer, say oh, over ten years, I just didn’t know it would come in blog format. It’s a conversation I’ve had so many times over the years with my husband, my sisters and closest friends. Tonight feels like the right night to share it with you guys. And it’s what I want my daughter to know within her soul, and what I need to remind myself of weekly.
Photos by Blackshaw Photography, 2012
Girls — we all need to lighten up and be kinder to each other. And we all need to realize that this “glossy” life being sold to us on TV, in movies, or on Instagram (ahem, totally looking at myself here) is both not real nor attainable. At least not in the “perfection” it’s being sold to us as.
The Pinterest world we live in. The retouched photo world we live in, the “filtered” and “instant” world is damn hard to keep perspective of. I struggle with it constantly. I’m one of those people who raises her hand for everything. I volunteer constantly, try to blog post, try to be the best Mom, wife, friend, yada, yada. I feel like if I can I should.
Let me stop and say that this is not a “make time for yourself” post. Ya’ll go figure that out yourselves. I have no ideas on time management for you. I suck at it myself.
Cut yourself a damn break.
I’m the kind of person who goes to bed thinking through what didn’t get done, what things I did say I shouldn’t have, or things I should have said — or how I didn’t make time for this or that. Full disclosure – I leave my kitchen a mess almost every night. It’s like I mentally crash and burn at night from the weight of my own guilt and have to walk away from “my office” (the kitchen) and see it with fresh eyes and coffee the next day. At the end of the day to see it dirtier than it was a 4pm is just too darned depressing to me and it feels like a symbol of the constant state of repetitiveness we live in.
What I want my daughter to know.
Which brings up a few issues I’m working through. The biggest of which is how do I teach my daughter but by example? What is the message I want her to receive? Is it that burning yourself out is good? Is it that overachieving is good? Is it that projecting “having it all together” is good? Is that what I want my daughter to know? Hell no. I mean, maybe to a degree yes to all of this. It does need to be taught that things worth having don’t come easy. And you should strive to work hard and do your best.
But man. I worry for the generation of girls growing up with an even more pressure cooker environment of perfection. If I had to look at Instagram pictures of these girls in their fashionable clothes every second, or see the Kardashians as a symbol of what my face should look like, or see these amazing Pinterest worthy baby showers as a kid I’d be a wreck by my age.
I know less about the world at 37 than I did at 27.
But I know who I AM more at 37 than I ever have. And that, my friends, is from stumbling and stumbling hard. It’s from making mistakes constantly and it’s from having my heart broken and it’s from not learning the lesson over and over and over….
Valentine’s Day is a perfect example of this for me. I once had a boyfriend do nothing for me on Valentine’s Day. Literally nothing. Not a flower, not a card, not anything. I offered to cook for him and it was like he was forced to be there. We ate spaghetti in my college apartment. A month later on our 2 year anniversary he broke up with me. I begged and I pleaded for him to be with me. I wanted him to love me so much that he couldn’t be without me. I begged him to want me.
Um. Hello? This is what I spent my Valentine’s Day doing? This is what I spent my 22nd year on this planet doing? Begging some dude to want me? Are you joking? My fresh faced, cute 22-year-old self? Begging?
If my daughter ever does this there will be a serious intervention (and Dad, I know you’re probably reading this – and you were right and I should have listened to you about this guy. And almost every other guy except the one I married. I finally got it right with him.)
Valentine’s Day is NOT a day for girls to feel LESS THAN.
It is NOT a day when ANY girl should feel SAD. Seriously. I wish I could tell my younger self this. It’s a day for celebration of love. Love. That’s it. Not a “perfect relationship.”
I met my best friend in the world in college. She was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. She was a pragmatic, unemotional “shut up you’re acting like a stupid girl” friend who on that Valentine’s Day in particular went to a movie with other girlfriends and thought nothing of it. She secretly high-fived people who the theater for the movie she wanted to see would be empty because no way would dates be there. This excited her, it didn’t depress her. She taught me how to go to a movie by myself. She looked at me sideways when I put my worth in a guy.
Valentine’s Day can be to share love with anyone. Literally anyone – your sister, your Grandpa, your neighbor, your roommate, or even just yourself. This is what I want my daughter to know and remember. I want her to have confidence to love herself enough to not put the day into the palms of some stupid dude whose going to grow up and regret breaking up with you anyway (and mine did for the record – ha!)
Going back to my original topic about our current society. Man, is it tough. We girls get it from all sides. Look pretty, be thin, not too thin, get a guy but don’t be too dependent on him, support yourself, but make sure you’re a great Mom! Volunteer and help out, but “make time for you!” Sheesh. And all that time we stare at images of perfect houses on Instagram (sorry, my bad for contributing to the cause), or girls in flashy outfits. And then Valentine’s Day rolls around and it’s “wear this amazing outfit” or “look at this gorgeous bouquet of flowers” (sorry, again). Pressure. Cooker.
I wanted to pull back the curtain so to speak and share my thoughts. I think girls rule. And as one, and raising one, I want so badly to say to all of you to relax. Just relax. You’re doing great. We all are. So cut yourself a break. You can’t do or be it all. No one can. And for God’s sake don’t let some man be a voice in your head about this. Find someone supportive for Valentine’s Day. someone supportive of YOU – and celebrate the day with them. It’s time to celebrate you.
Throughout the day I say the same prayer “Help me, Forgive Me, Thank You.” I need to remind myself constantly that I need help in all I do, that I will do wrong and need to accept it, and be thankful. I find this simple phrase helps me keep perspective. And then I fall asleep every night saying the same thing to myself “You’re doing fine. No, it’s not all perfect but you’re doing fine. Let go and relax. It’s all going to be OK.”
I am not perfect. None of us are. Find the beauty in that, and find the beauty in you. I want that to be the message my daughter sees from me. Lighten up, relax and just celebrate love.
(And for the record, Kylie Kardashian’s lips look weird to me. There I said it. And I’ll probably feel guilty for saying that…haha)
If you liked this rant about what I want my daughter to know, you may enjoy this one, too! 🙂