By Tara YKIHAYHT on August 17, 2012
Raising girls scares the living shit out of me. There, I said it. It isn’t because I am not confident in my parenting abilities; it is because I remember what it is like to be a teenage girl. Believe it or not, it hasn’t been that long since I was one <cough, cough>. I see my girls growing up and find myself in awe of what we (Farmer Bob and I) have created. I may be a bit biased, but I see beautiful, smart, amazing girls. At their ages now (10, 6, and 4) they are not so much concerned with appearance and acceptance, but times they are a-changing. Sooner rather than later I am afraid. What am I most afraid of? That they will grow up with this false sense of what is real and what is not. That their own self worth will suffer because of the falsities they see going on around them. That they will think that they need the approval of others in order to feel comfortable in their own skin. I know that as the main female presence in their life it is up to me to make damn sure that they grow up to be strong, confident women. This day and age, this may be the most difficult task I have ever attempted to accomplish.
With the internet, it is so easy for our children to have access to so many things that we never did. We never “met” people online; we met them in person and got to know them. We learned how to decide if a person was truly honest and true by looking in their eyes and watching their body language. We learned how to tell if someone really liked us for us and, we developed a “bullshit meter” to tell us when someone was looking for something else, something that we just weren’t ready to give. We weren’t afraid to walk away if our BS meter maxed out and the alarms started sounding. Now, as I told you all last week, I have made (and actually had the pleasure of meeting) some wonderful friends via the internet. I also told you that these friendships have not been made quickly and without some serious deep thinking not only on my part, but by my now friends as well. I may be overly cautious when it comes to the internet, but in this day and age I feel as if I have no other choice not only for my safety, but for the safety of my family as well. While the internet has this fabulous power and ability to bring people together, it holds many dangers inside it as well. At first "introduction" you cannot gauge someone just based on a name and a picture. You have absolutely no guarantee that you are actually getting the person the picture. It is so difficult to explain to my young children how sometimes people are not always what they seem and that they must be cautious. They get frustrated when I am constantly watching what they are doing when they are allowed to get on the internet. They don't understand that the internet does not have its own internal BS meter, that is what Farmer Bob and I are for.
I understand that we have a long, difficult road ahead of us. Mini-me has asked me multiple times if she can set up her own Facebook page. My answer is always longer than she would like it to be; 1. No, I will not allow you to lie about your age to get what you want, and 2. No, I will not allow you to lie about your age to get what you want. While I try to explain to her why honesty is so important, I also feel that it is important for me to teach her why other people do NOT believe that honesty is the best policy. That people will tell you what they think you want to hear in order to get what they want. It is not because I don’t want her to trust people; Lord knows I want her to trust. I want her to trust her instinct, her “bullshit meter”. I want her to be able to know when someone is pumping her full of crap in order to get something from her. I want her to be able to stand up for herself and say “No, I don’t have to tell you”. I want her to feel comfortable in her own skin to be strong, and confident, and smart. Comfortable enough to know that she is meant for something great and that she can be that on her own, surrounded by people that love her for her. That she is worth not only giving her best to those who truly care about her, but that she DESERVES and should DEMAND the best from others.
Self worth is such a difficult thing for us women to have an appreciation for. Sometimes I wish we were more like men in that we just wouldn't worry so much about what others think about us. That we could be comfortable in our own skin and not feel that we need approval from others, but I suppose that is what makes us different from them. I wish that we could appreciate ourselves for the magnificent creatures that we are. I wish that we could be comfortable in a crowded room of other women and not judge each other by what we look like, our hairstyles, our clothes, or even what kind of mother we are. I wish that we could avoid the competition and the status ladder that we all seem to be trying to climb. I wish that we could all be beautiful, amazing, supportive, equal.
My hope for my girls is that they, unlike so many young girls these days, have self-worth. That they recognize that they don’t have to have their ass hanging out of their shorts and boobs sticking out of their tops in order to be beautiful. That they don’t have to have the attention of every boy (or girl) in order to be amazing, that they can be smart, athletic, dramatic, musical, or any combination of these. That they don't have to be skinny, have perfect hair, or perfect clothes in order to be beautiful. That they don't need the approval of a man or their friends in order to be considered successful. That sometimes, being considered "popular" is not always a good thing. That as long as they are honest and true with themselves, THAT is what makes them beautiful. That is self worth, and they are worth all of it.
My dear friend Craughing is ready to tackle this issue head on. She is starting the Self Worth Action Project. Honestly, I believe that this is genius. We all need a reminder as to what makes us, well, what makes us US. What makes us beautiful, strong, smart, and FABULOUS. I join her in challenging you to join this project. Please follow the link and join her, you will find me there. Do it, you DESERVE it!
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