So you've got a mini me.
A daughter. A princess. A tiny best friend. Call her what you like, she's watching you Mumma. Watching what you do. What you say. What you wear and what you eat. She's listening to you. She's working out the world with you as her rock. She's adopting your values and your view of the world as if you were an Instagram Influencer with 5 million influenc'ees'. Wow, that's some powerful messaging right there!
Being a Mum to a little girl brings with it a whole lot of responsibility. To nurture, to lead, to guide, to teach and to reassure. Oh yes, and to pick up the pieces when life throws the crappy stuff her way. Broken hearts, body issues, friendship battles... all of it. Your gal, she NEEDS you. Even when she says she hates you and says she wishes she had a different Mother. In fact, that's probably when she needs you most.
Amidst the daily grind, the inevitable emotional heartaches and the unknowns that abound across this 'journey' that is Motherhood, here are 5 things all Mums should be telling or teaching their daughters at some stage before they fly the nest...
1. You're going to f!ck* up and that's ok
(* is for emphasis only, replace with your own word of choice! haha)
Help her to understand mistakes are part of growing up. Of life. That they are normal, and not all bad. Let her know you have her back and that whatever happens, she can trust you to hear her out and help her out. To help close the "I'm the parent and you're the child" gap, give her age appropriate examples of mistakes you made as a young (or older!) adult. Talk to her about why you see this particular event or decision as a mistake and what you did to right it and/or learn from it.
2. Setting boundaries might seem 'mean' but it will save your soul
Help your gal to define, and be confident in expressing and enforcing, what she will and won't accept in terms of treatment from others. This includes family, friends, colleagues, teachers, partners... EVERYONE. Make sure she understands boundaries in a positive self love context as opposed to a harsh concrete wall context. There is a huge difference. Sell the idea as a tool for her to use in getting to know herself better. What feels right for her. What she is comfortable tolerating. Explain to her that what feels right is different for everyone.
3. You have my permission NOT to settle
This is critical. She needs to understand that settling just isn't an option. I'm talking... the wrong job, the husband who abuses her, the friend who bad mouths her behind her back, the choice that no longer serves her. She needs to understand that there is personal strength to be found in making hard decisions. That life is short and that there are always more options. More choices. More experiences. She needs to feel that her decisions are hers to make and that she will not be pressured to conform. To please. Or to accept anything for the sake of another.
4. Check in with yourself from time to time
Help your daughter learn to identify, acknowledge and actually feel her feelings. Remind her that humans are emotional creatures by design and that our emotions are really helpful when we actually stop and take time to listen to what they are trying to tell us. Make sure she understands what constitutes 'mental wellness' and 'mental illness' in terms of healthy behaviours. Bring her awareness to any emotional triggers or crises and help her develop personal insight. Guide her when it comes to taking time for herself by way of the "Self care isn't selfish" message.
5. SHOW her that she is enough
Above all else. Teach her AND show her that she IS enough. What she thinks. Says. Likes. Looks like. Does. Has. IS enough. Tell her that she is valued, loved and respected for all she is, present, past and future. Give her the freedom of you having no expectations so that anything she pursues or achieves is enough in and of itself. Help her to recognise the importance of comparing ourselves to who WE were yesterday instead of who someone ELSE is today.
Being a Mother is challenging work. No doubt about it. We have the hardest, most under valued job on earth. Barely are we recognised for the contribution we make to society. To the good of the world. And to the future of humanity.
But... when we parent our girls well, when we stand back and watch them fly free of the nest onto wilder more uncharted territory, we can pat ourselves on the back quietly for only then can we truly see the return on our emotional investment. When we see our girls safe, happy and healthy we are happy and that, my fellow Mumma, is what it's all about.
So, what do you think? Are you already teaching your daughter these valuable life skills and lessons? Have you got a personal Motherhood success story you'd like to share? Or even another life lesson you would add to this list retrospectively? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!
And, as always, if someone you know would benefit from reading this you can share it using the links below. x
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Erica has a passion for Women’s Health. She works with women who want to be heard, supported and empowered! Erica is a survivor of many life experiences. A Mum. A travel lover. A green thumb in training and an eternal optimist!