So…raising a daughter. About that.
I never thought about the intricacies of it when I was pregnant and daydreaming about being my little girl’s best friend and braiding each other’s hair. Although for the record, we really do braid each other’s hair. Once she started growing up and maturing, life hit me in the face with a bag of rocks. Newsflash: raising a daughter is serious business. Laila has always been far too smart and mature for her own good. I know, I know…everyone says that about their children. “Oh he’s way too advanced for that class and he’s just bored, that’s why he has a D” or “She leads the pack, it’s not her fault that the other girls are being bullies around her! She isn’t the one participating”! No. I know what my daughter’s strengths and weaknesses are, and she is one smart cookie. What I worry about is that she will go down a bad road, or be taken advantage of, or just lose herself in the sea of hormones and expectations that the tweens and teens inevitably brings on.
I started noticing that Laila was too mature for her own good about two years ago. Flash back to my six year old daughter asking me about bras and makeup and generally things that no six year old has any business worrying about. I did have a moment of internal panic…have I been too uncensored in front of her? Have I been too candid to where she’s picked up on things outside of her pay-grade? Whatever the answer is, I took note. It was becoming more and more apparent to me that when she was allowed to play with makeup and nail polish, she wasn’t feeling “pretty like Mommy”, she was feeling GROWN. That’s a dangerous thing in my opinion, and the reason that I take raising a girl so seriously. I remember what it was like to be a tween and feeling these things: I got to play with makeup and all of a sudden, I felt 16 and fabulous.
Luckily I was fairly sheltered and I didn’t get set loose on the world looking like Tammy Faye Baker, but you get my point.
I’ve been so worried lately about how to raise Laila! How to make sure that she is kind, living up to her full potential, perceptive, aware…all of the things! Are her new chokers that she got for Christmas too grown? Is that enough coverage for a sleeveless shirt? SHIT, I got her little cupcake lip glosses because they were cute, and they’re so pigmented!!!! I realized that I was spending so much time saying NO to her and bringing down the hammer that I wasn’t saying anything nice and uplifting. I wasn’t spending time with her and just doing Mommy-Daughter things.
So I’ve decided to split my focus. Worry less about appearances (not too much less, put that lip gloss away girl!) and more about being intentional and coaching. It’s not just makeup that makes her feel “grown”, it’s the ignorance to what being grown really is! Thankfully she is smart enough to understand that when I sat her down and spoke to her about the joys of being 8, not 18. I have a long way to go with her, and LAWD KNOWS that I am dreading middle and high school. But I’m going to make my focus more about her behavior and (a little) less about appearances. I hope that when she is older we will be biffles for life, but right now is just not the time to be my daughter’s friend. Hopefully she appreciates that when she is actually grown.