I’m a mother of girls. My makeup doesn’t belong to me. It is communal property. Ditto my shoes and handbags. Custody of the contents of my wardrobe is shared between us all. I suppose someone has to use them. Handbags are pretty but I learnt from years of dragging around a packed-to-ripping-point diaper bag that all I really need in life (bank card and lip gloss) can fit into my pocket so I don’t actually know what goes in a regular-person handbag.
I’m a mother of girls. More specifically, I am a mother of pink-loving, tutu-wearing, princess kind of girls. I am not a pink-loving, tutu-wearing, princess kind of anything. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I live in leggings and flip flops. Jeans when I feel fancy. My daughters love ballet. You’re lucky I can even spell ballet. I don’t know what being “fabulous” entails, but apparently this is the only way to be, otherwise, why is one even here?
As a mother of girls, I have had to learn to appreciate pretend tea parties with inanimate bears and balding, one legged barbie dolls. I am considered a legend when I correctly identify which one of two identical teddy bears is called “Cookie” and which one is “Cool-key”…the distinction between the two is of incalculable importance, you see.
I’m a mother of girls. I’m way out of my depth. I thought I was supposed to teach them all about being women, but I have slowly and all of a sudden come to realize that I have no idea what that even means. But the beauty in the confusion created by my illusion of inadequacy (it’s obviously an illusion because who of you knows the difference between Cookie and Cool-key?? Nobody. Only me. Thanks.) the beauty in not knowing is that I can’t force them into a little box of what it means to be a girl or a woman in this century.
I love how different they are from me and each other. I love that I get to watch their growth with no idea of what will be their “Thing” tomorrow. Their favourite celebrity could be Dora the Explorer today, and Serena Williams tomorrow.
If anything, instead of me teaching them, they are teaching me. As I teach them to love themselves just the way they are, I am forced to do the same. When I praise them for what the world will one day tell them are flaws, I look in the mirror and (try to) show love to every part of me that will never make it onto the cover of any glossy magazine.
Every time I tell them that they can accomplish anything and the sky is not even almost the limit, I tell myself the same thing. When I encourage them, I encourage me. Because I too, am a girl. Teaching them is teaching me, and I am eternally grateful for this amazing gift.
I am a girl…and I am a mother of girls.