"You need to get tough, girl."
These are words from me my daughters are not unfamiliar with. They're said in an affectionate, sometimes playful way, but they are words I want my girls to take to heart. I was raised in a family of girls. I am raising sisters. I come from a family of strong women; I am surrounded by amazingly strong women in the women I choose as my friends. I plan to raise strong, tough women.
Their father dotes on them, and they dote on him. As much as him, and myself, want to protect them from the ugliness,disappointments, and struggles of the world they cannot always be pampered Daddy's girls. I hope every little girl gets to experience a daddy that's her first love and fiercest protector and supporter like my sisters and I did and my girls do now. But as their mother as much as I love to snuggle them in kisses and cuddle them at night I also personally bear the responsibility to raise tough girls.
Here's why I think it's important to raise tough girls
1. Other girls: Girls and women can be petty. They will ridicule, manipulate, and some will do what they can to tear them down. A girl needs to be strong enough to stand up to her; to walk away from her; to not be pressured into being her.
2. Boys and men: Not every man is going to dote on them and pamper them, whether it's the first boy that breaks their heart, the one that lets them down later in life, or the one that makes acceptable or unacceptable demands of them at work or in school. Again a girl needs to be able to stand up to them, walk away from them, and not let them destroy them.
3. Independence: One day they will hopefully want to marry but I don't want their survival and existence to be grounded in the need for a man. A girl that can survive and exist independently will be one that finds herself with a man that is her equal, not one that she stands behind but one that she stands with.
4. Self Esteem and Confidence: It doesn't matter if it's their body and appearances, their relationships, their careers, and even their own family or friends at times the pressure to be different, the voice to be better, the nagging that says "not good enough" will rear its ugly head. A girl that can shove past her insecurities and walk forward past her doubts and mistakes is a girl that can succeed.
5. Balance: In our changing times girls will have more opportunities than ever before. There is a new girl emerging, and it is an amazing opportunity for every girl's future. The possibilities are endless but in the pursuit to do it all, to be it all, to have it all with family and ambitions a girl that has the strength to find herself a balance, to find peace in where she's at, will be able to move towards the thing we all seek and the thing we all want for daughters: happiness.
6. Grit and Determination: The world of opportunity is at their fingertips but nothing is given in this world. A girl that has a determined nature and is full of grit will find what she's looking for in the friends she keeps, in the man she marries, in the career she pursues, and in the life she lives.
We no longer live in a time where our daughters go from the protective care of their parents into the protective care of their husbands. The possibilities and hopes for them today are endless. So, daughter, as your mother I will do my best to make you a tough girl, confident to take on the world that awaits you.