When my youngest daughter was born, she wasn’t particularly planned. We already had a boy and a girl. They were well out of diapers and were gaining more independence. It was a good place to be.
Emma was a complete peanut when she was born at 5 pounds, 13 ounces. I would stroll her through the mall, and women would stop me to tell me how pretty she was. As a preschooler, her light brown curls and to-die-for long eyelashes won the hearts of her friends. As an elementary school girl, her tomboyish charm helps her fit right in with the boys, too.
Each day, she amazes me with her ability to be herself. Even in my 40s, I still struggle with that — I am not always a confident mom. In fact, I struggled with confidence most of my life. I always blamed the quiet nature of my childhood on shyness. But the truth is that I lived in fear, always afraid to speak up for fear of being confronted or embarrassed. I always was the little pig-tailed girl who hid behind my mother’s legs and would cry if someone looked at me funny.
But as I raise daughters, I think I should teach them how to be confident women. Don’t get me wrong, I try to take advantage of any teachable moment I can. But in her short time on earth, here’s what a little eight-year-old girl has taught me about being a confident woman.
1. We’re better together.
From the time she was a year old, Emma showed giftedness for gymnastics. At the age of three, we started her in classes which have now led to making the competitive team. At times, I have to trade my mama bear, my daughter should be the best attitude for a team spirit. In fact, one day I was asking her how she was doing (okay—full disclosure— I was kind of trying to compare). But she looked me in the eye and said, “Mom, each girl does her best to contribute to making the team stronger.” A wise word stemming from such a young heart.
As grown women, how often do we compare our looks or lives with others and often feel bad about ourselves as a result. We are stronger together. We should pray more for each other and with each other. Let’s make more of an effort to understand others’ struggles and rejoice in our strengths, working as a team. No comparisons.
2. Just be yourself.
We all wish we could be a better housekeeper, taller, thinner, and more talented—the list could go on. But my 8-year old with her tomboyish swagger and matter-of-fact demeanor is perfectly okay with digging up worms and burping the alphabet with the best of them.
So today, start being happy with who you are. I know I ask a lot, especially on those fat days. Deciding to be comfortable in your own skin is the best gift you could give yourself.
Deciding to be comfortable in your own skin is the best gift you could give yourself.
3. Don’t worry.
I get tense, I fret, and the mama bear rears her ugly side sometimes. I’m a mom and it comes naturally. But my daughter has taught me it’s not worth it, whether it’s over my weight or the state of my messy house. Her tender young heart resonates I love you no matter what and a trust beyond measure. Her goofy antics and incredible snuggles melt away all of the stress of the day.
Just like my eight-year-old, be sure you enjoy life more. Jump on the trampoline or get your mud boots on and jump in the puddles. Will you learn along with me? What unexpected things have your kids taught you?
Lori Clapper is a radio personality, freelance writer, editor, speaker, mom to three kids, and is married to an incredible guy.