Guilt and fear and clueless-ness are the free bonus surprise gifts with purchase that come along with each child you bring home from the hospital. A lifetime guaranteed membership into the “what the hell am I doing” of the month club. No one is immune to this challenge. We, the caregivers of our youth, the parents of all shapes and sizes, we struggle every single day to hold on to the grace that is sufficient for us, that makes us sufficient for them.
I know these truths. I know it enough that I want to write about it to the world to read and soak up and believe. But I am also just another parent, so I forget. I worry. I question. I doubt.
I am #blessed to be in the care of both a girl and a boy. The anxieties are strong with each one. But for whatever reason, they are different. Perhaps it is because I am a girl myself, or perhaps it is because our culture is aware of the differences, but either way I find I worry more about my daughter’s future than my son’s. I don’t know if this is correct, and I don’t want to unpack that quite yet. But the truth is, I find myself spending more thoughtful energy on wanting to create the right launching pad for my daughter to navigate successfully and confidently the world as a young woman and as an adult. I am careful to provide learning opportunities in a variety of different areas so I can prepare her to see all the choices she has for her future. “You can be anything you want to be” we say to our children, regardless of gender. But we really, really, really want it to be true for our little girls, don’t we? Is it just because I was a little girl once? Is it because I am worried about the future of young women and their careers and self worth? I don’t know these answers. But they are just some of the clutter of concern that collects on the counters of my brain.
We are not doing college visits. We are not taking personality tests to determine appropriate career paths. We are not selecting which sport to specialize in. This is all way too early.
Right now, we are playing. We are imagining. We are exploring. We are climbing and running and leaping and twirling. We are just having fun.
And I realize that while we are just focusing on these simple tasks, there are some major life lessons I can be teaching my daughter that will set her up for success. And I realized this not by exploring my own mind (because as I said, it is a major pile of crazy clutter up in there), but instead by watching TV. (“Yay TV!” you say. “I can do that!”) These three commercials just knocked it out of the park for me. Their marketing teams are #winning right now in my book. All of the feels. All of the right messages for young girls and their parents. If my daughter is going to be spending her days playing, I sure hope these messages are making their way into her brain and into her heart.
- Imagine everything you can become.
Barbie isn’t just pink. She isn’t just an inappropriately disproportionate body shape . She isn’t just for looking pretty. Barbie can be whatever you dream her to be. Thank You, Mattel. You get it. I hope these little girls do too.
- Falling only makes us stronger.
In our house these days there is so. much. falling. Between a little guy learning to motor and a little girl graced with her mother’s un-gracefulness, I am doing a lot of picking up, wiping tears, and kissing boo boos. It is exhausting. I can be kind of impatient about the whole thing. But this commercial taught me that the picking up is just the beginning. It is teaching them to get back up in the first place. To keep trying. In sports, and in life. Falling only makes us stronger.
- Keep building.
Imagination is an awesome tool. It takes us from what we can’t do to what we can. This little girl wants to grow and learn and imagine and I have to let her do it. I have to remind her to keep building. And I have to let her know I am so very proud.
Bravo, Television. For once you taught me that I may not have all the answers for raising my daughter, but I can learn a lot along the way. We can do it, all of us, moms and little girls alike. We can do it.