Mothering. This is the toughest, most exhausting, biggest soul-bearing, rewarding, amazing work I will EVER EVER do. I’m pretty lucky that my girl came out wise beyond her years, an old soul, full of big feelings, bigger questions and a confidence I can only dream of possessing on my best day.
I am glad that she is growing up in the world of today. What a great time to see the world through a different lens. To watch all the women + men rallying, organizing and working for change. To bring kindness, equality and fairness for ALL into the daily conversation and practice. She has no idea why any of this is BIG NEWS, but me. I do. And all I can say is just wow. Cool times these are.
As a mom, I talk to s. a lot of being kind + fair. That we are our best when we are compassionate and nice to every person we meet. We read lots of books about strong women (and good people) throughout history and have talks (and endless questions) about why these books might be important today. She is a hyper-aware six-year-old who observes lots and files it away for later. Especially in these crazy times, my goal for her is that she believes she can DO ANYTHING in the world…because she can. I don’t get into the politics of why we’re talking about this but have found a few EASY ways to instill this confidence + conversation into our daily life.
First, inspired by a talk I heard Geena Davis give last year, I’ve found little ways to incorporate these lessons into screen time. Geena was moved to found the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media after watching children’s tv shows + movies with her kids when they were young. She was shocked to see that even though women + girls make up 51% of our population, they are represented only 3:1 in media. She founded her institute to commission studies and provide the research to networks and studios as a discussion starter. Then used her star power to influence real change in Hollywood…much of which is still ongoing today. My biggest lesson in listening to her speech was how SIMPLE it is to point this out and weave it into the discussion while your child is watching. Commenting on the disparities as you see them – addressing them, noting them…and moving on. “Gee, only 3 of the people in that big crowd are women – does that seem normal to you?” “Wow. They are only showing boys doing x, y, z, but girls can do that too, right s.?” These little nuggets, annoying at times to her screen-obsessed brain, provide good conversation later after we’ve finished our show and dig a bit more into the question…usually at her request.
In addition, we are big readers in our house. And we also love to gift books to friends. A few of our favorite femme inspired reads to gift + to enjoy:
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls – a great book profiling many influential women throughout history. Fantastic illustrations alongside a one-page story on each heroine, this is a great introduction to many COOL stories to inspire discussion.
This Little People, Big Dreams series is amazing. Great illustrations, clever stories to profile these superstars and enough history and guidance to understand JUST why these particular women stand out in history. Our faves are:
Lastly, we talk about current events that show people organizing and reacting to inspire change. Recently, we’ve discussed the Golden Globes speeches and dresses, the women’s marches and the WHY behind these, in very, very simple terms. We touch on kindness + fairness and talk about how not everything is always fair or right…and that it’s our job to help other people, especially if they are in trouble. Helping, that’s our job. She’s learned a great phrase to use at school if someone is injured, “How can I help?” We are building on this beyond physical pain and finding other ways to incorporate this attitude into our lives.
That’s where we are today…just having some fun discussions and talking about things that are relevant to her little six-year-old soul through books, television shows and things that happen in her life. I know these discussions are going to be needed and important to shape + prepare her for the world ahead.
She came out pretty special, having so much wisdom beyond her years already. I’m just here to guide a bit, and mostly sit back and learn. I’d love to hear any tips any of you have on parenting a little lady (or your boys) in today’s times of crazy.