On Raising a Well-Balanced Girl

I've reflected a lot lately on being a mom. If I can look back on the day & feel good about it, I'm a happy girl. But let's be honest, in the world of Mommyhood, a lot of days are a mixed bag. Toddlers are tough, kindergartners are tough, teenagers are tough. You get your sprinkled moments of pure joy & the moments that make you think that you're a mom superhero, but in the in between moments, when you are combing peanut butter out of your daughter's hair or using 18 wipes to clean a poop diaper, it can be easy to forget. I'm trying to remember to be purposeful. To be intentional in what I say. To avoid making name calling even if it's just to be silly. Nothing bad, just things like weirdo...which, hello!? Kids are weird. But hey, they get the killer weirdness from their weird-ass parents. It's a badge of honor really.

I've had some random wounds come bubbling back to the surface lately. Things that people said about me, lies about who I was, am or will become. Things that I had no idea were tucked into a crevice somewhere, only to be slowly eating away at me.

It's naptime, so naturally, I was on Pinterest & saw a pin for a blog post called 100 Things I Want to Teach My Daughter. It made me think, with everything I've reflected on...what do I want to teach my daughter? What do I wish I had learned before the ripe ol' age of 29? They say you should be the person you want your kids to be. That's so easy when they are coloring on your walls or feeding the dog every last drop of their dinner or having a level 10 meltdown in Target when you quietly let them know that they will not, in fact, be taking home that stupid Barbie that she swiped when you had your back to them.

I'm sure I could come up with 100 things I'd like to teach my girl, but maybe this can be a running list. Or maybe you guys can help me add to the list. In any case, make your own list. What do you want your kids to learn?

1. God loves you NO MATTER WHAT, all the time, day or night. He's hopelessly, desperately IN LOVE with you.
2. Beauty exudes out of you. The more beautiful you are inside, the more beautiful you are on the outside.
3. Kindness & grace above all else.
4. Say what you mean & mean what you say.
5. Belly laughs are a cure-all.
6. Things always look better in the morning.
7. When you fall in love, fall as hard as you can because it's totally worth it.
8. Your weight has no bearing on who you are as a person.
9. You will always be so beautiful because of who you are.
10. Your Daddy has the biggest crush on you.
11. You will never use Trigonometry in real life.
12. Get deeply entrenched in books.
13. God gave you an imagination - USE IT.
14. Chocolate tastes better than skinny feels.
15. Long, hot bubble baths are good for your soul.
16. No matter what mistakes you make, we will always be your soft place to land.
17. Love Jesus simply because He loves you like crazy.
18. There will always be MEAN GIRLS. Some girls are just mean. Be better than they are. It'll drive them nuts.
19. Cowboy boots go with everything.
20. A good, hard cry is sometimes the best thing for you.
21. Romance movies are ridiculous, but super fun to watch.
22. Take a million photos. You will be so glad you captured every moment.
23. Do what you love. If you don't want to be a doctor or a lawyer, don't. We don't care. We want you to find what you love & turn it into a career.
24. You don't need to change a single thing about how you look. God made you PERFECT in His image. Plastic surgery is giving God the stink eye at what He made. Don't offend the Big Man.
25. Find good quality, LOVING girlfriends who have your back. Don't settle.
26. Boys like long hair.
27. Daddy will tell you that he wants you to live with us forever & never date...I want you to date. Good boys. Who love their mamas. And call me ma'am. And bring you flowers. And then, I want you to fall hopelessly in love with the one who can't live without. Make sure he's good - no douches.
28. Family isn't always blood related. Fall in love with people.
29. Be a good friend. Not a fair weather friend. Weather storms with people & show them that you genuinely love them.
30. Periods suck. Being a girl can suck sometimes, but most of the time...it's pretty frickin' awesome.
31. As much as it will kill us, your heart will get broken. Maybe more than once. This, too, shall pass.
32. Play video games when you're an adult. It's super fun.
33. Be nice to your siblings. Don't tell them they are adopted like I told Aunt Rachel. We don't want to have to pay for their therapy bills.
34. LAUGH all the time. Laugh when you're sad, laugh when you're happy.
35. Find joy in life.
36. Be grateful for what you have & don't have. Start your days being thankful for your blessings because the things you take for granted could be the very thing someone else is praying for.
37. Everything tastes better dipped in ranch.
38. Workout because it's good for you. That's all. Don't worry about having a perfect body. Worry about being a good person.
39. If you ever lose your way, Jesus will guide you back.
40. Learn to care about other people.
41. Do not feel entitled to ANYTHING. Everything you have is a blessing.
42. It is possible to find the PERFECT pair of jeans.
43. Foundation is meant to enhance your skin - it is not meant to make you look like an Oompa Loompa.
44. People know a fake when they see one. Be who you are. Be genuine.
45. Be creative.
46. You never have to be afraid. Never. God is always with you. You won't understand everything that happens in this crazy, fallen world, but you can rest in knowing that God wants the BEST for you.
47. Say sorry first. Holding grudges hurt you, not them. FORGIVE, FORGIVE, FORGIVE.
48. People love honesty. Be honest. Being open about what you are feeling or going through, opens the door for others to do the same. Use your honesty to help people & change lives. Your honesty gives others the courage to be honest.
49. I was put on this earth to be your Mama & I will spend everyday of my life falling more in love with you & working to be the Mama that you need.
50. I love you & I like you.

Keeping Up With...everyone else

I had an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday. A girl. A really nice, pretty, sweet, confident, friendly girl. Who wouldn't want to be her friend, right? Turns out, a lot of other girls.

This wasn't a first for me to hear this. I've talked to lots of girls/women/ladies about this topic over the last few years. I assured her that this was a fairly common phenomenon. It makes little sense to me, but this appears to be normal.

In high school, there is a group or genre for everyone. Popular, nerds, quiet, even loners have a group. It's somehow harder & easier in high school. You think as you embark on a new life, a new path, you will find more people that are similar to you as you venture out into the life you're meant to live. You will, inevitably, meet people who are interested in what you are interested in, & therefore, you will have friends that are even more compatible. This is how it should go...and maybe it does for some (or boys), but the common thread is that it doesn't.

Is it us? Is it the female population that makes it so difficult? Is it so much a competition that genuine, positive, uplifting friendships are less valuable than appearing better than your peers? I struggled for years to understand this. And obviously, I have all my sh** together & can say that this is clearly not me & I have never, ever competed with any other female. But for those of you who have fallen into that trap, let's discuss.

Where did we learn that this was socially acceptable behavior? When did we decide that appearing to have our sh** together was far more important than actually being a good, reliable friend? I prayed for years for a really close girlfriend. I had friends, great friends, in fact, but they came & went as life moved them on, & I found myself lonely. I wanted a girlfriend that I could call & be super inappropriate with, or one who I could call & say "Hey, wanna go wander around Target in your sweats with me?" A friend that I could do absolutely nothing with & be blissfully happy. I literally prayed for that friend for years. And God did, finally, answer that prayer a couple of years ago, but that didn't eradicate my questions as to why this occurs. I realize that as we get older, life gets in the way. Being a new wife or new mom can make these kinds of relationships difficult, but let's be honest: we all have nights where the house is quiet & we wish that we were sitting there with a girlfriend who gets us. 

So, why, when we all feel this way, do we sit on our couches alone watching Friends reruns? Why don't we make the effort? Are we prideful? Maybe. Are we lazy? Probably. Are we embarrassed? More than likely a big hell yes. But what is the point, when we all crave it & need it as normal human beings, of sitting our rumps, feeling sad & alone, when we all know we need each other?

Hey! I just called BS on all you girls! We all feel this way. It's not just you. So, get over yourself.

Go make a girlfriend. Odds are, she's just as nervous & embarrassed as you are that you don't have a girlfriend. Show your daughters how to be a girlfriend. That's what I wanna show my girl.

© andrea lebeau. Design by Fearne.