Raw and real, that’s what I wanted my blog to be. None of this fake me having my life together kind of mom. Most days I am killing it on having my chores done and my kids are happy, but I have my days. Days where I don’t have the fight in me to keep my kids from eating a second cookie, or putting away electronics sooner. You can even catch me on days where the laundry isn’t done, and I’m ordering a pizza. It happens, trust me.
Years ago I put Harper our 6-year-old in dance, she seemed pretty interested. A few lessons in I noticed something, she seemed so timid. Now if you know Harper, you know timid is not a word I would use to describe her. She is a spitfire and total sass. So, imagine my surprise when I saw her quiet and unsure of herself. It caught me off guard, but I chalked it up to her just never having done dance before, especially in a new group of kids.
Sadly, it wouldn’t be the last time I would see her hesitate to do something because of lack of confidence.
Recently, I realized as a parent that I was making a HUGE mistake. Yes, I’ll admit it I am not perfect. (shhh) Now let me justify why I’ve been messing up. As parents, especially parents of special needs kiddos, and parents of a large family, we tend to have to do some things in auto-drive. So, each night I lay out my kid’s clothes so that when I get home from the gym, they can be dressed and I can just help them with their hair and snacks. I lay out their clothes when they are watching their evening cartoon before we read their chapter book and go to bed. In doing it during this time I am just going dresser to dresser keeping in mind the weather for the next day, and the activities they might have. I wasn’t asking them what they wanted to wear or how they liked a certain outfit. I know my boys hate jeans so they have a dresser filled with athletic pants and comfy athletic tops, easy peasy. Girls’ however, have so many options!
Then one day, when I was having a lazy mom day and ignoring the normal routine I forgot to put out clothes. So the next morning when I helped Harper get ready for school I said “why don’t you pick something” and that friend is when I noticed it. She looked at me with her big brown eyes and said “Why don’t you pick mom, I like it when you pick”. I told her that it was her body and she could pick what she wanted to wear. I encouraged her to pick a top and then when she got to picking pants I could see the panic set in. She just did not want to make a choice. It was as if she knew that there were certain bottoms that went with it and she just didn’t want to make the wrong choice.
Now before you go crazy judging me, I am not the kind of mom who especially cares if my kid’s match (to some extent). We live off of hand me downs and community aid finds so matching is almost difficult sometimes! I could just tell that she wasn’t sure of herself and that was like a dagger to the heart. I helped her finish picking by laying out 3 options and telling her they all went great. She picked one and moved on, but I knew I had work to do. I knew I needed to really be mindful about helping her feel confident to make decisions, and not need someone else’s opinion. Which I should say is no easy feat because I could easily be the worst person at making a choice, ever.
I also started listening to podcasts about parenting girls, because I am always open for hearing someone else’s experiences and mistakes. Besides, it’s not like the murder stories I was listening to were solving any problems for me. One of the easiest things I’ve began to do is give Harper the choice in her clothes. Each night she lays out her own outfit, and not to often does she ask for help, unless she stuck between two choices. It gives us a good few minutes together, we chat about the weather the next day and if she has gym or an activity that would make a difference in her choice. Those few minutes together also often lead to some chatting, which is never bad.
Parenting is so hard some days, and I am always praying I’m not messing my kids up too badly. Sometimes we have to slow down, turn off auto drive and let go of the control a bit. For me, that can be difficult. It’s just another thing I’ve added to my list of things to work on.
So, if you’re out there reading and have raised a daughter, tell me, what’s something you do or have done to help encourage your daughter to be confident in herself?
If you are someone who loves to be in control, you’ll not want to look at the photo below. Shown below is a photo of Harper in one of her own outfits she laid out. She was so proud of herself because she matched the polka dots together, and the boots tied in because they were sparkly just like the polka dots on her pants.
Ah the journey of parenting!