Raising a Determined Daughter
I am that mum. You know, the one that you always see careening down a shopping aisle, madly chasing after her tearaway toddler. The mum that is counting to ten through clenched teeth as said toddler – ignoring all previous attempts to restore calm, heads straight for the eggs. The mum with the red face, struggling to latch the seatbelt while her toddler shrieks at a decibel only dogs can decipher. Yes, yes, now you recognise me. I’m that mum.
Please don’t shoot me daggers as she races in front of your shopping cart. Please don’t pull me aside and let me know that “back in your day, children were seen and not heard.’ Because when you’re the mother of a toddler – and a very determined one at that, the days are very long.
Remaining a calm parent and responding rather than reacting is without a doubt, one of the greatest challenges that I have faced so far. My parenting skills are far from perfect and I’ll admit that there have been days when I’ve literally counted down the hours and minutes until bedtime. I know that I am raising a very determined daughter. She is stubborn and strong willed. Some days, her defiance takes me to the point of exasperation and, on more than one occasion, complete and utter exhaustion. She is determined, impatient and full of attitude. These things I know.
I also know her to be kind. And loving. I have watched her attempt to save an ant from the tidal wave of car wash froth in our drive way and pull silly faces at her baby brother to make him smile. I have seen her master puzzles and hold up her end of a conversation better than children twice her age. She is sassy and confident and funnier than any Jim Carey movie.
Yes, I am raising a determined daughter. But, please, just let me enjoy my child. Let me focus on the amazing qualities that she does have, instead of constantly reminding me of her downfalls and judging me with your eyes. I know that you’ve heard this old saying before, but these days of pushing strollers and potty training will be gone in the blink of an eye. Don’t worry, I will discipline consistently and reprimand when needed – this girl knows the time out corner like the back of her chubby little hand.
However, I am also trying to remember that these very qualities I find so challenging right now may just one day be the very same qualities that I am most proud of. My every wish is that my daughter has the same strong will and determination later in life as she does today. I want her to grow up confident enough to speak her own mind; to refuse to give in to peer pressure and to dance to the beat of her own crazy little drum. I want her to lead and not follow. I want her to feel comfortable to just be herself, in her own skin, no matter what she looks like.
As grown women, too many of us second guess ourselves every minute of the day. We question what our mothers’ groups will say and wonder what the neighbours must be thinking. Just imagine all of the amazing feats that we could accomplish if we weren’t spending so many hours worrying about other people all the time. At the tender age of two and a half, my daughter has absolutely no self-reservation. She is completely and unapologetically her own person. I don’t think that I’m wrong in saying that this is what every mother wants for her daughter.
I laugh when she wears soccer boots to ballet and a bike helmet to the dentist. There is never a dull moment, and most days I can’t wait to tell the other mums about her latest escapade or hilarious comment. I accept that sometimes she needs more love and attention from me than others. I accept that running errands with a toddler is not going to run smoothly every time. Because this is our job as parents – to love and accept the blessings that we have, no matter the package it’s delivered in.
The next time you see me wrestling with my two year old over a carton of eggs in Woolworths, please remember this: I am raising a determined daughter. A girl who is not afraid of anything. And as hair raising and challenging as that might be, this is one quality that I don’t want to erase. For all those nightmarish grocery trips, I would still choose her over any other little princess.
Natasha Wilson is a mother of three wild babies, an avid crafter and self-confessed hoarder. Author of the craft blog and online parenting site, www.craftylittlegreyfox.com , Natasha features simple projects with gorgeous results – designed for little crafters and their mums to make together.