Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Raising A Princess in Social Media World

"Mommy, I don't want to be smart, I just want to be pretty." -P

When I found out at my 20 week ultrasound that my baby was going to be a girl I was elated. I had secretly been hoping and wishing that I would have a girl. I'm not really sure why, but that is just what I wanted. When it came to fruition--I gasped in delight. Truly, I would have loved a baby boy just as much, but was hoping for a girl. My little P is everything that I had ever dreamed that she would be, and many more things that I didn't even know that I wanted. She truly is everything!

When I was a little girl, I used to dream about my adult life. AND nothing is like what I thought it would be...Except for my daughter. She is exactly the child that I had always pictured. A green eyed, brunette, with wavy hair. She is quite literally my dream girl. I fall more in love with her each and every day.

Over the past month I have started to think about the values and beliefs that I want to convey to my daughter through her childhood. I make a mental note each time she does something that scares me. For example: look both ways before you cross the street, say SHE instead of Her when referring to a friend, don't pick your nose in public (or at all), don't eat your boogers in public. Those are mostly little things. BUT I stress over dropping the ball. I am constantly worried that one of these little golden rules that I managed to grab in my childhood will be lost in hers. Then I wondered, why do I feel this way?

I truly think it is because of many factors, but mostly because of social media and the media in general. Everywhere you turn girls are confronted with social media posts that send them conflicting images of what a woman should be. That wasn't as prevalent when I was young. I am worried that the messages I am trying to send my daughter will get lost in a sea of information on social media.

This feeling started about a month ago on the way home from school one day. I was making chit chat with P on the way home. She had been struggling with tracing her letters at school and I was trying to reassure her. I mentioned that tracing would make her smart. She responded matter-of-factly, "Mommy, I don't want to be smart, I just want to be pretty."

My heart broke into a million pieces for my perfect baby girl who is so so beautiful. I knew that this wasn't something that she was getting from me. It is something that she has taken in from those around her, and from the images she has seen on TV and Movies. That is not what I want my daughter to believe--that you have to be beautiful to succeed.

While I tried to reassure her that she is beautiful and that there are more important things in life than being pretty. She kept repeating the same mantra over and over. I mean--Am I over reacting? I don't think so!

So I have really focused on giving her daily affirmations. I comment on the way she looks, but I make a conscious effort to comment when she does something intelligent. I point out when Belle on Beauty and Beast talks about loving to read. "See Piper, Belle is very smart. She loves to read."

I wasn't sure if it was actually working though. I just want so badly for her to be the strong willed little girl that I know her to be. AND I know that she is. I am terribly afraid that she will be send signals that she needs to cater to those around her, and that she shouldn't speak up for herself and what she feels is right out of fear that it might,"cause a scene."

Then last Friday night I got the sign that my affirmations and talks were having an effect. We went to P's Spring Fling at her school. We were waiting in line for the jumpy slide and a woman tapped me on the shoulder.

She said, "I just wanted to let you know that you are raising one tough girl." I asked her what she had witnessed. She said that she walked into school to pick up her child and had witnessed another child push her child all the way to the ground and then head on a rampage over to my child.

As he started to push Piper down--she shoved him right back exclaiming, "don't you push me down! That's not nice!" She then preceded to tell him to apologize to her and the other little girl that he pushed.

I had to hold back the ugly tears from escaping my eyes, because I was so proud of her. I was always the type of child (and adult now) that let's people walk all over me and bully me because I am afraid to hurt anyone else's feelings. NEVERMIND that they had hurt mine! My daughter stood up for herself and her friend. That is exactly the type of woman that I want her to grow up to be.

I hope that it continues to blossom as she grows and that she doesn't loose that quality.

For those of you with girls, how do you plan to try to combat these messages with your daughters?

Until Friday!

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