I don’t have any sisters. As an adult, it isn’t something that bothers me too much but as a kid I really romanticized the idea of having one. If only I could have a SISTER – then I’d be able to do all the sisters-only things I couldn’t do with my brothers. We could share clothes, and giggle about boys, and go out and buy our prom dresses together, and plan our future weddings, and all sorts of other things I was deprived of without a sister at my side. So I’m thankful for my daughters and the things my daughters have taught me.
It’s funny how life turns out. I’ve been blessed with not one, not two, not three — but FOUR daughters that I get to see grow up as sisters. On the days that the two oldest argue over clothing or shoes (they are only 5 and 6!), I remind them that they are lucky to have someone to share those things with since I was sister-less. When my 2.5-year-old daughter takes the new toys of the older ones and they complain, I remind them that they could’ve been like me and not had any sisters to take their things. When they chase each other through the kitchen, angry that one has called the singing of the other “silly,” I raise my pointer finger in the air and open my mouth but they cut me off first:
“We KNOW. You didn’t have any sisters.”
I guess I must repeat myself. I’m mentioning a few of the challenging moments of having so many little girls (plus a brother) in the house but the truth is that most of the time, I feel like I must have won some incredible offspring lottery because of things my daughters have taught me. FOUR daughters — how lucky am I? Of course I try to impart the wisdom for a little sister that I’ve been bottling up my whole life to them, and I’d like to think that even at a young age, some of it is sinking in. I’m picking up a lot of wisdom in the process too, though. Being a mom to little girls is teaching me more about being a woman than I anticipated, like these little things my daughters have taught me:
Things My Daughters Have Taught Me
Politeness is overrated. Of course we want our kids to respect others, but there is a difference between showing proper manners and getting walked all over. For generations, girls have been taught that “sugar, and spice, and everything nice” is the way to go through life and looking back, there have been plenty of times when I’ve been too much of those things and not enough of me. I want my daughters to prioritize their own interests and goals and know that the things they want out of life matter. It’s okay to support the goals of other people but never at the expense of their own. As I’m imparting this strength to them, I’m improving my own personal boundaries of what I will and will not allow in my own life.
Being “girlie” is okay. I’m not a huge fan of princess culture and I’d rather buy my girls a LEGO set (in normal primary colors) than a Barbie doll any day of the week. It’s a rare day when I wear makeup or put any sort of product in my hair. I’m okay without all those extra feminine layers but I’m also okay if my girls end up liking all those things and more. Feeling pretty is a good thing – conforming to any rigid standard for beauty is not. Letting my girls be girls is all about letting them just be themselves and not encouraging or cutting down any gender inclinations they feel. Frankly, the same goes for my son. I’m even learning to take a compliment or two when I’m feeling especially pretty myself and to love the parts of my physical appearance and personality that make me a girl.
A little confidence goes a long way. When my oldest daughter, now 6, was about 3 she used to gaze at herself in the mirror for long stretches, pout her lips and eventually say, “I. Look. AWESOME!!” It was adorable. Now I’m not trying to raise a house full of narcissists but it warmed my soul that she valued herself so much in that moment. She’s since gone on to do other things that made her proud of herself — being given the sweetest smile award in Pre-K, and the best mathematician award in Kindergarten — and each time that she puts a little more faith in herself and her inherent and learned abilities, her confidence rises. The same goes for all my girls. I want them to be proud of what talents they’ve been given and any hurdles that they overcome. I can’t help but tell them that that they are pretty, but more often than that, I tell them that they are smart, kind and important. They like to remind me that I am all of those things (and pretty) too.
The things my daughters have taught me are still growing. What life lessons have you gained from having kids?
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