When I first found out I was pregnant with my first baby girl, I wondered how to raise a confident daughter, one who would be strong, fearless and most importantly 110% happy with who she is.
Just One Of The Guys
As a child growing up, I don’t recall being unhappy or lacking confidence, as far as I can remember I was a very happy confident, strong and curious girl.
From an early age I played hockey, starting out on an all boys team, and eventually moving on to play in an all girls league. From time to time I would return to the boys teams and play hockey for both boys and girls leagues. I do not recall ever once thinking I was not strong enough, good enough or worthy enough to play on the teams I was a part of.
While playing with the boys, I viewed my self as, well… One of the guys! I always got along better with the boys, I was never really into dresses, make up and barbie dolls. I really just wanted to play, get dirty, be rough and play sports, that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy some of the perks of stereotypical girl things. I played with My Little Ponies, and I enjoyed doing my hair and nails from time too time.
As I grew older and my body changed from a young girl into a young women, I tried to hide what was happening. I would literally duct tape my boobs flat, and wear a tight-fitting bathing suit under my clothing to hide my breast. I did not want to have boobs, boobs meant you were seen differently by boys.
I had never questioned or worried about how I looked in the eyes of my peers or other people for that matter, but something changed in my pre-teens. My self awareness of how I was perceived by other people changed, I began to worry that I didn’t have the cool style, that I was not the right height, shape or size to fit in with the cool crowd.
The girls I grew up with began using makeup, following all the cute boy bands, and even started dating. I felt just a little torn on who I was and what I wanted to be.
Magazines and TV shows geared to my age group were all about the latest make up trends, the right clothing, the best boy bands, and how to’s for landing that boy in your classes affection. It seemed to me at the time that the point of being a 13-year-old girl was to be pretty, and have a boy friend.
I protested for as long as I could, purposely dressing like a boy with a bit of a girly flare, but try as I may I eventually grew up to fall hard for a boy. I soon found my self swooning over boy bands, buying make up and even quit duct taping my boobs. I quickly learned that boobs, were in fact my best assets for fetching the cute guy I was after.
Late Teens- Early Adulthood
I began to struggle with my self-esteem and body image, despite being told how beautiful I was and what other people loved about me. I could not make my self happy with my own body image, at 4’11 I was the shortest girl I knew, I had always wanted to be tall and thin. My years of sports left me with more leg muscle than my skinny counterparts, I had a booty and the biggest boobs out of all of my friends. This made finding clothing extremely difficult for me, all the cute fashion was designed for smaller lanky girls.
I was not very outgoing, or funny, I did not think I was cute or pretty, nor did I have a huge friend base so being popular was most certainly not my niche. How in heck was I ever going to fit in? Who in heck would want to date the boring computer gaming geek?
Eventually I did find my own way, and I did make many great friends, I even dated a little bit. My self-esteem was never terrible, not great but not terrible, there were things I did like about my self, and I was pretty strong in my own rights. I wouldn’t have taken any guff from anyone, and most certainly would give you my two cents and often a fist if need be. I sort of grew into who I was, and figured out what I wanted out of life.
I slowly grew up to be a young adult, and by my late teens I had a boyfriend who lasted longer than 2 days. He would eventually become my husband, and we would have 3 beautiful children, 1 boy and 2 girls.
After having my son, my self-esteem took a dive for the second time in my life. Moms everywhere can agree, the post baby body is something we all struggle with! And society as a whole does not exactly help a new mom feel like the amazing warrior she truly is!
Actress’s bouncing back into shape seemingly overnight after a new baby, the countless “mom” exercises tossed in our faces from magazines, TV shows and books. It’s all so overwhelming, especially when you are so exhausted from raising a new born baby.
It took me almost 5 years, to get into some sort of new happy with my body, just in time for my husband at the time and I decided to add a new addition to the family.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant with a baby girl I worried about how I was going to raise a strong confident girl, I was just one women facing an army of social barges of what “beauty” was.
I read books, articles, searched the web, combed over my own childhood memories, and even asked for advice from the strongest women I knew. I had formulated a plan before Addie was even born, I knew in order to execute that plan I would have to change my perspective on my self as well.
Surrounding Ourselves With Positive And Love
I began to adopt a new language, I would never vocalize the words, fat, ugly, not enough, or just a girl around my daughter.
I told her every day she was a strong beautiful young lady, I let her lead the way when it came to which toys she wanted to play with, what outfits she wanted to wear.
Anything her big brother was doing, she could do as well! By the time Rory came into the picture, It was second nature to adopt the same parenting skills with her.
I made of point of avoiding stereotypes, and saying things like ” that’s lovely on you BUT you could do this and it would be better” I always make sure they know that their choices are great no matter what.
What ever interest my daughters have, we pursue, Rory is interested in being an engineer, and Addie an artist. I do my best to encourage them to keep dreaming big, and working hard to get there.
Recently we have been talking about women in history, and how some very strong individuals have worked very hard to make it possible for women to be and do what ever they want to be and do.
My mom came across a book series last year, that I can not praise enough! It tells the tales of Cleopatra, Amelia Earhart, Coco Chanelle, Yoko Ono, Mary Kom and so many more!!!
I wish this book was around when I was younger! The stories are short, and told in such a way that you can help but feel empowered and inspired.
Get your copy here
Life Long Process
Most days, I feel very strong and empowered, I don’t always question my abilities or my judge my self. However, there are days I struggle, some days I do not feel beautiful or happy with my shape and size.
I truly believe though that I have to keep trying to change my attitude, watch the language I use, and continue to empower my self to feel strong, brave, worthy and beautiful. If I fall, I get back up and keep trying.
I feel it is extremely important that we as women must empower each other, be kinder to each other, support and build each other up. We have the power to change the way society views women!
We will and can raise confident, powerful, women who will do many great things to change this world for the better, the goal is to NEVER give up on ourselves and keep being the strong confident women that we are.