Daughter. Daughter. Daughter.
I can say it a hundred times and yet it doesn’t feel real. I am so used to being a boy mom. I buy shorts and dinosaur t-shirts and endless spades and diggers and trucks. We spend our time peeing in the garden and our bath time ritual consists of ‘bum and ball cleaning’. Boys are easy and laid back and get on with it. Girls? Well, they terrify me.
I’ve been referring to this baby as ‘Pip’ since conception and up until Wednesday as ‘it’. Even though doc has confirmed multiple times (Kate, see no penis) I’m still in denial that I will be bringing a female into this world, and just what that means.
I don’t know if you’ve seen this ‘Rules for my daughter’ post that has been circulating the Internet lately – it’s a list of 35 ‘instructions’ for girls, from their moms. I’ve read a few and whilst some are sweet (“Reserve I’m sorry for when you truly are” and “Question everything except your own intuition.”) there are some that are just so bullshitty. Like ‘always wear good underwear’. Please, I’m not even wearing a bra today (sorry, colleagues) and I can promise you that doesn’t make me less smart or womanly than someone in a R1000 boulder holder from La Senza.
So, whilst you may not be nearly ready to enter the world, your turns and flops and kicks remind me that, ready or not, in 3.5 months you will be here and I need to chat to you about the kind of person I want you to be, and the kind of girl mom that I want to be.
Rules Advice, For My Daughter.
- Don’t let them take advantage of you. Ever. Take this from someone who, for 33 years, has been a people pleaser. It gets you nowhere
- That being said, be generous. Not with money alone, with time and character and kindness.
- Don’t let the sexist win. Again, from experience and something I am still dealing with daily. Do you know that I got this in an email last week:
Bad of him, right? Even worse of me. I have done nothing about it. Remember this when your turn comes, as it will. Do not let people bully you on account of you having a vagina, a pretty face or double x chromosomes. Do not accept discrimination, lesser pay or lesser respect. Only you, and your peers, can change inequality around.
4. Lunch with me, call me, Let’s hang out. Sure – I am and will always be your mom but I want us – at a reasonable age – to be friends as well. I want us to talk and laugh and do stuff together, not for any occasion, just because. I am going to love your company.
5. You are not a princess. Don’t let people treat you softer because you are a girl. If you start it, finish it. if you fall down, pick yourself up. I will treat you the same way I do your bother – with a fierce sternness and love. I vow to not go soft on you just because you are pink and he is blue. Don’t lessen yourself because of your gender.
6. Work really hard. Please don’t go by the ‘marry rich’ mantra that some may.
7. Learn how to manage money. I was never taught and at the tender age of 21 plus some I am now finindg myself drenched in sweat on sleeless nights as I worry about my financial future.
8. That being said – treat yourself and buy nice things. I will try to not berate these decisions, but will try respect and encourage your financial independence.
9. Be polite, always.
10. Be interested. Learn. Explore, Be inquisitive. Check your facts and do your research and don’t just let a question linger. be so hungry for information that you feel like you will never be satiated.
11. Eat healthily. Enjoy your food. Splurge on junk but long for balance. It’s all about the 80/20
12. Hug me. All the time
13. Never ever let yourself be in a position where you feel like you are being a bully or are amongst bullies. These people are not good for you, despite what you may think or feel at the time. Be fair to everyone. Support the underdog. Always take the position of empathy.
14. If you are ever being bullied, tell me. I want you to talk openly and freely with me without fear of feeling judged.
15. If you want to play with trucks and diggers and spades, I encourage that. If you want to dress in pink tutus for 8 days in a row, I also encourage that (slighly less ;)). Try not to be defined by gender – your brother has a doll that he adores and I am so proud of him.
16. Use your wit and brain and character to get ahead.
17. Enjoy being a kid. Dont rush to grow up too fast. Adulthood is a no return purchase that really isn’t as fun as they all make it out to be.
18. Look after yourself but don’t feel bad about your weight, your looks or your figure. There are much bigger things to worry about – like which country to explore, which book to read or which retirement village to put me in when I’m old and crazy.
19. You are amazing, And fiercely loved. And you always will be.
I get to see you every 4 weeks, and it is the romantic date of my life. I can’t wait to be able to see you daily, for the rest of our lives. You are going to be the perfect addition to this little triangle-turned-square.