I sure am. Between the mid-90’s mean girl persona and today’s VSCO girl, I am scared to raise a young girl. While only 5, it already feels like she’s 5 going on 15.
Part of me wants to believe it’s somehow “different today”. But I know darn well that mean girls, self-esteem issues and making fun of one another have been around forever. And raising a little girl makes me fearful of what lies ahead.
So I hope for the best yet fear the worst. But I can’t sit back and just hope. It’s been said that hope is not a strategy. And when it comes to my kids, this mama bear will most certainly not sit back and simply hope. I must take matters into my own hands. In a good way of course.
So why am I scared to raise a girl these days? Because that mean girl is true. She was there in elementary school, high school, and college. Even in the workplace and well into my 30’s. She doesn’t go away.
Sometimes the mean girl is someone else. Sometimes the mean girl is the voice inside.
And that’s where I came to the realization that it needed to start with me.
Starting with how I look at myself in the mirror. What I say out loud when I’m getting ready. How I talk to my husband. What I say to my kids. How I behave when I’m driving. What I’m saying (or yelling) from the sidelines. How I react when I’m mad. What I do when someone spills milk at the dinner table. Everything.
In a blink of an eye, my 5-year-old will be 10, then 15, then 20. (Scary!) I think about the words and behaviors I am showing and what the impact will be later in life. (Even scarier!)
Will my perfectionism unintentionally get in the way of her achieving greatness because she too will strive for excessive perfection? Or will my need to control and create the “perfect everything” unintentionally creates anxiety when she is a parent someday?
Am I saying one thing, but doing the other? Am I wanting her to be brave, resilient, flexible to circumstances out of her control; yet not being that way with myself?
Unintended consequences are what scares the heck out of me the most as a parent.
So what to do?
I’m not really sure. I don’t have a list of tips or ideas for solving a problem I haven’t yet solved. What I do know is that I won’t leave my little girl growing up to chance. Or hope. I don’t want to over architect her life for fear of doing more harm than good. I need to find more middle ground in raising this little girl.
And it brings me back to doing something I am in control of. And that’s me. The woman she sees day in and day out. The woman that says goodbye in the morning before heading off to work and the woman that kisses her forehead before she falls asleep. And the woman that has big dreams for her. The woman with big dreams of her own. I’ll start there.
I’ll reflect on me. A self-inventory of sorts to understand who I am, how I act, what I say and how I behave. The good, the bad and the ugly.
While it’s hard to change behavior and habits, my new motivation is that mini-me daughter of mine who is watching, learning, and absorbing everything I do. I’m not perfect. And I’m going to start letting her see those imperfections. I want so many things for her. But I can’t just teach her through my words, I have to start showing her through my actions.
Raising a little girl is scary, but it’s the greatest honor in the world.