10 Things I Want My Daughter to KnowMonica Bielanko
It’s hard to express your love for your kids without coming off as a supercilious, sanctimonious, smarmy McSmarmypants. You know, kinda like listening to an actor yammer on and on about their “craft.”
Oh stop already, nobody cares about your “creative process.” You’re pretending to be someone else not curing cancer.
And so it goes with parenting. Nobody really cares about how much you love your kids. So long as you aren’t dangling them off balconies or chaining them to the water heater in the basement, folks-at-large are just as happy not to hear about your life and times as a parent. Unless, maybe, you are Louis C.K. or some other funny motherclucker who happens to be a genius at satirizing parenthood.
But I am most certainly not Louis C.K. and so I’m not going to wax poetic about the great love I have for my children here. What I will do is share with you the 10 things I really want my daughter to know. The 10 things I am going to work like hell to impart to her as she grows up in this crazy-ass world.
Raising a daughter is a tricky business. As much as I want to control her environment and keep her away from that evil Barbie bitch and her big knockers and impossibly tiny waist I ultimately can’t control her exposure. As much as I want her to grow up with the self-assurance that she is unbelievably beautiful and that it really, truly has nothing to do with her appearance, I know she’s eventually going to get her hands on a damn Seventeen magazine and probably end up feeling bad about herself. Or worse, come away thinking that batting your eyes at some dude and pretending to be interested in video games or football is the way to get a guy to like her.
I saw this sweet article by Lindsay Russell on Huffington Post, what she wants her daughter to know, and decided to do the same thing for my Wylet.
The Day You Made Me a Mom Was The Best Day of My Life 1 of 10Becoming a mama to a little girl was such a joy. I admit, I was afraid to have a girl. Being a girl is so hard and I wasn't sure I have what it takes to guide you through life and to raise you into a strong woman. But I do. While I'm teaching you you're always teaching me — I think you've taught me more than I've taught you — so who knows where I'd be without you? I don't even like to think about it.
Nobody Else Will Ever Make You Happy, Only You Can Make You Happy 2 of 10There is no single person who can be your everything. Lindsay Russell said this so eloquently on Huffington Post I wanted to share it here: "Be very careful about bestowing this power on any one person. I suspect you are trying to fill a gnawing loneliness, and if you are you inherited it from me. That feeling, Woolf's "emptiness about the heart of life," is just part of the deal. Trying to fill that ache with other people (or with anything else, like food, alcohol, numbing behaviors of a zillion sorts you don't even know of yet) is a lost cause, and nobody will be up to the task. You will feel let down, and, worse, that loneliness will be there no matter what. I'm learning to embrace it, to accept it as part of who I am. I hope to help you do the same." Only you have the power to make you happy and don't ever believe that someone else has that ability, it will lead you down the wrong path every time.
Being a Mother to You Is The Most Important Job of My Life And I’m Doing My Best! 3 of 10Sometimes I don't give you the full attention you deserve, sometimes I speak sharply, sometimes I am impatient with you, but I want you to know that I am constantly trying to do my best and am riddled with guilt when I feel like I have failed you in any way. I will never stop trying to be the best mother I can be, even when you have babies of your own.
Be Yourself, Don’t Ever Change for Anyone 4 of 10I spent so much of my life trying to change myself for others, especially boyfriends. Don't do that. Always be your own hilarious, quirky, cool self because you are awesome. If someone doesn't like you for you then, tempting as it is to try to convince them otherwise, move on! Don't try to fit yourself into the mold of what someone else is looking for, be yourself so that you can surround yourself with people who love you for you.
You Are Beautiful 5 of 10Yes, your smile lights up the room but that's not the beautiful I'm talking about. I'm talking about your sweet spirit. The beautiful girl who always wants a hug from mama or the big sister who holds her little brother's hand to guide him around. But, as you grow older you will likely become hyper aware of your physicality. Please don't ever let society or an individual tell you that there is some ideal definition of beauty. Always stand tall and proud and don't lose sight of the essential beauty that makes you YOU.
You Are Smart 6 of 10You are an observant, thoughtful girl and I hope you continue to develop these qualities. Knowledge is the key to the universe. It will take you everywhere. Knowledge and wisdom can bring happiness because happiness is all within you and how you perceive and react to everything that happens to you. The earlier you learn this the happier you will be throughout life. It's a tough one, though. I'm still learning it and some people never learn.
Be Kind and Compassionate to Everyone 7 of 10Kindness towards others is essential in life and can only add to your own happiness. It's something I work hard at every day and it doesn't come easy. Try to think the best of people as opposed to assuming the worst. Most people are inherently good. If someone is mean to you or is treating you badly, you must realize that it's because they likely aren't kind to themselves and are suffering on the inside. Have compassion and strive to be kind in return. You can never go wrong with this kind of mentality.
Hard Work Pays off 8 of 10It really does. Throughout my life I have set goals and then worked hard to achieve them. But realize that achieving the goal isn't the important part, it's during the journey that you will learn the most. The journey is the destination.
Reading Will Change Your Life 9 of 10Reading is THE most important skill you can develop and it's such a joy to see you're already realizing that. Reading will take you everywhere — in your imagination and in your actual life. Whether you're escaping to an exotic destination through a book or learning things you never would've otherwise, reading is the biggest key to success in this world and I hope you learn to love it as much as your dad and I do.
I Will ALWAYS Be There for You NO MATTER WHAT 10 of 10There is nothing you could do that would cause me to not be there by your side in life. Nothing. You may disappoint me from time to time, but I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be.
Read more from Monica on Toddler Times:
You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.
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