On Bringing Up Little Girls...


photo by Sleepy Fox Photography at Billy Reid

Being a mother is an incredible gift. Trust me, there are days when I'm tempted to exchange my little present for store credit (just kidding... kind of) but the experience of nurturing a tiny soul and being someone's entire word is a feeling that just can't be duplicated. Thus far, our little family has been fortunate enough that I can continue to be at home with Lorelai. Trying to balance blogging, styling, teaching at-home preschool, meeting with clients/collaborators, fostering a loving intimate relationship with Mr. Jackson, running a (sometimes) smooth household and ultimately shaping a little person is a lot to take on. Sometimes I feel like I'm heaping all of these challenges onto my plate in order to feel/appear secure in my choice to be an at-home parent.

Yesterday I read something on Amanda's blog that just struck my heart and echoed every bit of what I have been feeling lately. Her words burrowed deep within me and made a little home, ready to remind me that motherhood is all I need, even when it seems as though there is pressure coming from all angles. Amanda says,

Because we live in a world that rewards a fast pace, sexy, free-spirited, and independent lifestyle, the importance of being a young, wholesome mother that focuses on domesticity is sometimes overlooked, scoffed at even! Ridiculous as it is, i have been criticized, even ridiculed, for being a young mother, and a stay at home mother at that. Therefore, in my own fleshy and insecure mind as a parent it is sometimes difficult when reminding myself that simple is indeed really good. Truthfully, there are days when it is pretty hard being confident in that seemingly transparent but not culturally celebrated ideology.
— Amanda Watters, It's The Little Things Blog

Though it can be difficult at times, boasting the title "momma" before every other accomplishment (and in lieu of some pretty impressive sounding words like MD or lawyer), it truly is the role that I am most happy to fill. There is something especially meaningful about bringing up a little girl. I have been gifted the incredible responsibility of building her entire sense of self from the ground up. I am who she will look to for an example of how to treat her body, how to use her mind. She will follow my lead and either respect herself and cherish herself or (heaven forbid)... not.

The whole process not only shapes her, it changes me, for the better. No longer do I linger on the scale, pinching and prodding when things don't look as taut as I think they should. I try my hardest not to mutter phrases like, "I'm so dumb" or "Duh, I'm just slow," like I have so eloquently said in years past. I expect more from peers, family and relationships because one day she will face a situation and take stock in what she has seen me find acceptable. I am leading by example and I am leading myself first, intentionally, so that I am qualified to do so.

Often I am blessed to see Lo light up and tell me things like, "I'm so beautiful" and "Wow, aren't I smart?" These instances, more than the trillion things I ramble on about when people ask if I'm only a stay at home mom, are what validates my decision. For now, I find comfort knowing that I'm the only one (okay, Mr. Jackson helps too) that is showing my daughter how to be a girl... and ultimately become a woman.

How crucial were your mother/sister/grandmother/aunt/care-giver's habits in shaping you as a woman? Are you parenting a little girl? I would love a little feedback... it really does take a (great big blog reading) village!