For my daughter

I received this advice years ago and recently found my journal entry on it and thought I’d share it here, where I can access it more frequently. A reminder to practice them with more awareness as a mom of a teenage daughter and stepdaughter.

Some of these I managed to get right from when Miya was little, but much of it I completely forgot about it and I’d like to implement with my daughters where I still can. It’s never too late 🫶🏽

1. Paint her nails. And let her scratch it off and dirty them up again. This teaches her to care about her appearance but also reminds her that living and having fun is just as important.

2. Let her put on your make-up ever so often. This allows her to experiment in her attempts to be just like you. 

3. Allow her to be wild. She may want to stay home to read books on your couch. She may want to hop on the back of a motorcycle. She may be a homebody. She may be a traveller. She may fall in love with the wrong boy and get her heart broken. She may meet Mr Right (for her) at the age of 14. Always remember that you too were her age once and we all need to make mistakes to learn and to grow. Allow her to make her own and be there to support her through it.

4. Be present. Be aware. Be there for her at as many performances, plays, sport games and “things” in her everyday life. In a crowd of people, even when she is older, she’ll look for your smile and nod of approval. Show it to her as often as you can.

5. Teach her independence. Show her by example that a woman can be strong. Find and vigorously follow your own passions. Define yourself, as a woman, as a mother, by your own attributes, not by what others expect you to be. Know who you are as a person and in doing so you help your daughter find out who she is.

6. Pick flowers with her and show her how to arrange them for her room or for your lining room where everyone can enjoy their beauty.

7. Allow her, especially when young, to get messy. And get messy with her. Bake mud pies, plash in puddles, finger paint. Allow it to happen. The most wonderful memories are the messy ones.

8. Give her good role models. You being one of them. Introduce her to successful and happy women; your friends, co-workers, authors, teachers, astronauts and doctors. Read to her about Rosa Parks, Marie Curie and the likes. She should know from a young age that anything is possible.

9. Show her affection. Your daughter will mimic the compassion of her mother. All the “I love yous” and eskimo kisses and hugs go a long way.

10. Hold her hand as much as you can. Whether she’s the three year old in the parking lot or the sixteen year old in the mall, hold onto her as much as possible. This not only teaches her to be confident in herself but also to be proud of her family.

11. Believe in her. It is in the moments that she doesn’t believe in herself that she needs you to believe enough for the both of you. When she’s young it may be a spelling test, a sports game or a school play recital. When she’s older it may be her first party or school dance, her first date, the first day of university…Remind her of the independent and capable woman you have taught her to be.

12. Teach her how to love passionately. Love your husband. Teach her to love a good man, like him. One who lets her be herself. Express your love for him, her and her siblings. 

13. Make forts with boxes and blankets. This helps her find magic in the ordinary, to imagine, to create. Someday she’ll be able to make her 5m x 5m room in a dorm/ hostel her home with her own magic touches and inspiration she learnt from you.

14. Read to her. The beauty of words on a page should be enjoyed. The knowledge they hold can shape who she becomes.

15. Encourage her to dance and sing and be happy. Allow her to express herself through her favourite songs and the music she likes. Allow her to play it loudly and let her sing her heart out. 

16. Share your secrets and keep hers. Communicate. Talk. Talk about everything. Let her tell you about boys, friends, school. Share hopes and dreams, concerns, personal wins and losses. She’s not only your daughter and you’re not only her mother. Be her friend too.

17. Teach her manners. Please. You are her mother and not her friend only. The world is a much better place when made up of polite words, smiles and manners. Teach her elegance and to carry herself with grace. Teach her to read cues and react politely.

18. Also teach her to stand up and walk away when a situation demands it. This means that you teach her the value of respect. This doesn’t mean that you teach her to fight back with fists of words; it means she knows which battles are worthy of fighting. 

19. Share the joys of motherhood with her. Let her see that being her mother is one of your greatest accomplishments. Remind her over and over again with words and with hugs that no one can love her like you love her.

20. Always be her home. When she’s not feeling well or has a broken heart, let her come to you. Welcome and comfort her. When big things happen, like when she  is engaged or pregnant, she will run to you to share her news. She is your daughter and if you are her home, she will always return to you. Her home. 

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