Raising Girls Who Tear Apart The Patriarchy
Brave enough to be loud enough.
When I became pregnant with my first child, I knew in the depths of my soul that she would be a girl and I thought that I was ready… Now that my oldest biological daughter is 6 years old, I can absolutely admit that I wasn’t. I was not ready for the magic that she holds or the feisty attitude…that I am 100% proud of. I love that my daughter knows her voice and uses it often. Sometimes it can be difficult and cause me to drink way more coffee than what is agreed upon by doctors but hey, it’s all good. No one loves coffee more than this woman! Of course, raising children in general is very tiring, they have a lot of needs and sometimes these needs can be overwhelming. I have raised my daughter to be emotionally raw and open…So, you can imagine that we have a lot of days that just don’t go well (i.e. everyone has bad days). Days where we have to cancel plans because someone is in need of extra love and I love this freedom that I am able to give her. No matter the exhaustion level.
When I was a child, I remember observing things in a totally different way than how my daughter does; I remember being shy but wishing for attention. I would sit down and wait for someone to notice me, but my daughter, she demands to be heard. Her voice is strong and she is sure of what she wants. There is no arguing with her when it comes to her feelings and this is something that I truly admire. Sometimes, it can be a little difficult. A lot of people feel that “children should be seen, not heard” and this can make me feel a little out of place or even feel the urge to silence her. To explain to her that sometimes, it’s not her place to speak…and I fight these urges. This does not mean that I allow my daughter to be rude or disrespectful but it means, I try my best to be able to listen and allow her to take up space. I feel like, there is something that is ingrained in women; a voice in our minds that tell us “be quiet, don’t be too loud, don’t act like this, don’t say that..” I do not want this voice to exist in my daughter’s mind.
“As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire.” — Jessica Kirkland
So, she is quite expressive. She absolutely does breathe fire; regularly. Although, I may not always be happy about it, I am happy to say that she is not afraid to share her anger or sadness with me. She has big feelings and sometimes they can be overwhelming but I do my best to hold them with her; to sit with her and her big feelings. I am happy that she feels safe enough to express her true feelings, that she will come to me for a hug and a good cry. This can easily be taken for granted but I often remind myself how truly important and magical it is that we have a relationship where she easily can tell me her truths. She is not afraid of me or her father. So she feels comfortable to share all of who she is with us and even when we are lacking in the sleep department, we can be there for her, reassure her, hold her, and let her know that she is loved. I hope that she will never stop wearing her feelings on her sleeve; that she will continue to be open and feel that, that is normal and healthy. Instead of a weakness or something to be tormented over.
I have always been told many times over my 27 years, that I am too emotional; my tears have been called “a burden” since as long as I can remember when it comes to everyone outside of my own mother. Friends called me “attention seeking” and family called me “too sensitive.” I don’t believe that I am any of those things though; I believe I am human. Society loves to silence us. Especially women. I’ve stopped allowing their opinions to affect me (for the most part, as I said…I’m human.) I use mantras to help myself continue down my chosen path which in my opinion is an amazing one. I know that I have so many gifts that are special and that will benefit people if only I can believe in myself. In so many ways, my daughter has been the one to teach me this and to keep me going when I felt like maybe I couldn’t.
“We must teach our girls that if they speak their mind, they can create the world they want to see.”
— Robyn Silverman
There have been many changes to our lives so that I am able to show my daughter that she is able to say “no.” She is able to speak her mind, she is able to tell the truth, she is able to have bad days, she is able to tell people they are wrong (especially in situations where she is being blamed for something), and she is able to be her own priority. She is able to be validated in so many ways, that most of us only dream of and this is normal for her! These things are huge! These things are things that every one wishes they were able to do without second guessing themselves or wondering if they can…
My daughter is able to tell people who criticize her that she doesn’t like their opinion. That trucks are for girls too and that her favorite color can be blue because “it’s just a color…I like it!” This is everything I’ve ever wanted and more. I hope that these things lead to bigger things that help her to create her perfect life. One where abusive relationships will not be apart of her story, one where she will speak up when someone is harassing her, one where she can say no loudly and bravely. I’m hoping that all of these things will prepare her for the world and help her to live it proudly without shame or fear of being “less than.” When she feels like she can’t do something and tears roll down her face, I tell her “You can!! You can do anything!! Just put your heart and mind to it!” She doesn’t always believe me but I know the more that I say it, the more she will understand and believe.
Parenting this brilliant little girl; has made me realize not only that I want to teach her how to create her own world where she is the designer, the ruler, the master, the boss…it has also made me realize that I can be that for myself. As mothers (and human beings in general) it can be so challenging to do everything perfectly and I’ve decided that it doesn’t have to be perfect, it can be…human. It can be real, honest, and raw. Sometimes it isn’t the prettiest but at the end of the day, they know me and love me with all of my flaws and all of my mistakes. We are not always seen for who we are; sometimes the veil of motherhood cloaks us so well that, that is all people see but I am here to shatter those glass ceilings. I am here to be everything and anything I want to be, take down the patriarchy, and teach my daughter to do the same.
“Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.” — Melissa Marchonna