I have daughters.
Two in fact.
And it can be a tough world for girls.
It always has been.
They are lucky, though, that they live in the U.S.
Where their individualities can be celebrated.
But, there are still obstacles that girls must overcome to live a fulfilled life.
And as a mother, it's my job in my household to strengthen my girls to become fabulous women.
I allow my girls to express their uniqueness.
With their hair, their clothing, their accessories.
In hopes that if they are allowed to be creative at a young age, it will continue throughout their entire lives.
Creativity heralds itself in many ways.
Books and film.
We try to show our girls all of it.
Not just "age-appropriate" material.
This notion that permeates the parenting air really needs to stop.
I mean, I'm not out showing my children porn by any means, but they see stuff.
In art and film and in photos.
Of beauty and love and life.
Because it's out there.
And if anyone is going to show it to them, I want it to be me.
I want my daughters to know about their bodies.
How they work and why certain things happen.
I've written about this in a past post.
Zoe still tells me "that I'm too young for this mother!"
So I keep talking.
I hope the mothers of boys are teaching them that girls are to be respected.
That a girl should be able to express herself as she wishes without some sort of message being attached to it.
A message that they think means "I can do what I want to you."
I want my daughters to respect their bodies and to know that their body belongs to them.
So we talk about boundaries.
And saying no.
We haven't gotten too deep into this yet, though.
They are young.
But, it's my belief that if they hear something over and over and over, it will stick.
I'm pretty liberal in my parenting manner.
But one thing I'm tough on...manners.
No feet on the table.
Sit on your butt.
Use the utensils in front of you.
They aren't decoration.
Put the napkins you are provided with to use.
And say thank you.
Call your friends' parents by Mr. and Mrs. only.
Nothing irks me more than having a friend of my children calling me Jennifer.
Kid, we aren't counterparts.
Respect has gone out the back door and down the road with many children.
Too much leniency at home in regards to adults.
My children are told numerous times before going to a party, play date, etc with friends this statement..."if you need to speak to (insert friend's name here) mother/father, what do you call her/him?"
I'm met with the response of "Mrs. or Mr. (Insert friend's last name here)."
And I hear Zoe informing her friends when sitting in the back seat of our minivan "her name's Mrs. Pramuk" when they mutter to her "what's your mom's name?"
Making and keeping friends can be daunting for girls.
The drama of some female relationships rears it's loathsome head very early on in school.
This is something new I now fear.
I don't recall having to fight for a friendship in 2nd or 3rd grade.
I think the biggest talks we have had in our home the last few years have been about friends.
Telling our girls when they should walk away from someone that they thought was "on their side."
What I've learned so far in my daughters'
school friendships...all is not as it always seems.
The girls who come off as sweet when adults are around aren't necessarily showing their true colors.
And we've had to say to Zoe "I don't think she's a good friend for you."
We aren't religious at all.
But, we are raising our daughters on the virtue of goodness equals everything.
And we explain the world's religions as much as we understand them.
My husband was raised Catholic.
So there's that understanding.
Buddhism is fascinating to me.
We try to showcase the world and it's differences.
And we show them that other people are struggling.
Or have struggled to get where they are now.
We watch the world news.
We watch documentaries on the civil rights movement.
We watch shows and read books about the plights of their Native American ancestors.
We have started to discuss what the Nazis did during WWII.
We research polar bears and climate change together.
So that they are aware.
So they know the world isn't just their neighborhood.
That it's big and can be scary sometimes, but that everyone needs to be aware of what's happening and if you can, you need to help.
Zoe has seen that the world can be unfair.
And that her friends can die.
And that helps motivate her to give back.
We give to the childhood cancer community.
We are working on the Illinois license plate.
We've explained to her that years of research in the area of childhood leukemia have kept her alive.
But that more research needs to be done.
New drugs need to be made.
So she never has to lose another friend to a brain tumor.
We teach them that knowledge is truly power.
To love school.
To love learning.
If they don't know something, let's look it up.
Having 21st Century daughters makes learning easy, actually.
Want to find out what a graffiti painting by Banksy looks like?
Look it up on the internet.
While you're siting in a restaurant.
Eating pulled pork sandwiches.
Then look up who first invented pulled pork sandwiches.
Having daughters can be daunting.
The clothes stealing (Gigi is always taking her big sister's things much to the chagrin of
But, I'm glad to have them with me.
Another set of estrogen souls for me to hang with.
And to bond with.
And to help shape into strong women.
I wouldn't know what to do with sons.
This is part of a group blog post my Homesteaders and Homeschoolers group is writing...
All three women are raising daughters.