It’s A Girl! Oh Shit….
Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of…
When I am supporting a client and she gives birth to a little girl, my heart melts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m equally excited to meet a brand new little boy, but I have daughters. I know the experience of daughters. I know as a woman how special and amazing it is to see life (for a second time) through the eyes of a daughter.
I know the excitement of getting your nails polished for the first time. I know the thrill of a dress that spins and shoes that tap, I know the nervousness of a first dance class and I know all too well the self-doubt that comes from not being accepted by other girls.
My legs are too fat. My arms are too hairy. My eyebrows are too bushy. My voice is too deep. My feet are too big…. The complaints are endless and the obsession with self is overwhelming. Do boys do this?
So how do you build self-esteem. How do you teach a young girl that she is important and perfect when everything inside her says she isn’t?
I was ugly and had bushy hair. I wore glasses and braces and money for stylish clothes didn’t exist. I wanted to fit in and be well liked and the more I tried the more it backfired. I was lonely and just wanted to feel “normal”.
Fast forward to July 11th 1992. I gave birth to a baby girl and as she was placed in my arms, I thought to myself, one thought. I thought, she will have great self-esteem if it kills me. That’s it. If I can bestow one gift on this child, it will be the gift of self-confidence, of belief in oneself. She will not doubt herself and she will believe she is worthwhile.
These are some of the things I deliberately did to ensure the healthy self-esteem of my daughters.
I taught them from very early on that it doesn’t matter what other people think.
I taught them by example. I showed them that I didn’t care what other people thought. I discussed with them that if my actions and motives were clean and my integrity was intact, I could behave, look and dress in a way that felt good to me and not concern myself with other people’s opinions.
I complimented them WITH explanations.
-You’re so trustworthy. Even when no one is looking, you do the right thing.
-You’re such a good decision maker. You have this great ability to process the pros and the cons and make the choice that is best for you. I really admire that. Most adults haven’t even mastered that yet but you have.
-You put your heart and soul into everything you do. Whether it’s drawing a picture or telling a story, you really give it your all!
-I love talking to you. You always have such a great perspective on things.
I talked to them, asked their opinions and I listened to them.
I validated their strengths by including their opinions in my decision making process (when it was appropriate). They felt heard, not just listened to and that added to their confidence.
I provided them with structure and predictability.
They were able to have, and create for themselves, expectations. I believe that when children know what to expect, and their expectation comes to fruition, it builds their confidence. When they are thrown off, they feel insecure. (as adults, we feel similar to this.)
I made them feel like they were part of something GREAT, our family!
It is difficult to doubt yourself when you are part of a winning team and this family is by all means, A WINNING TEAM!
XO, The Rock n’ Roll Doula