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5 Ways Your Daughter Will Completely Change You

Photograph by Twenty20

I always thought I’d be a boy mom. Don’t ask me why, it’s just how I pictured things. I saw the roughhousing, the noise and the go-go-go of boyhood as being an inevitable part of my future.

Then, my daughter was born. And everything changed.

She’s Made Me Softer

My friends who have known me forever will tell you that my little girl has somehow managed to sedate me. I was a little wild before her. A little dark and a lot of fun. But also highly unpredictable and prone to bad decision-making. I can’t explain how, exactly, but my daughter changed all that. Something about the bond we have just soothed that wild spirit of mine. Wanting what’s best for her has forced me to question every decision I make.

She is what's allowed me to settle down and embrace the calm.

She’s Made Me More Aware

For most of my life, I've struggled with body image issues. I’ve always been a curvy girl, forever wishing I could be just two sizes smaller. Just 15 pounds lighter. Just something less than I was. The things I’ve said about myself and my body over the years have not been kind.

But then, along came this little girl. I realized quickly she was forever watching me and forever listening. It made me painfully aware of how distorted my own view of my body was, and of how easily I could pass those issues onto my daughter, if I wasn’t careful.

Which is the last thing I would ever want for her.

I thought I was brave before motherhood but I was wrong.

She’s Made Me More Afraid

As a woman, I’ve always been aware of the dangers that can await women in this world. I’ve been a victim myself. But I somehow managed to evade fear regarding those dangers prior to motherhood. I felt capable of taking care of myself and of fighting back when necessary. I felt sure I was strong enough to avoid too much harm.

Then, I had a little girl. And every day, I watched her grow. My fear grew alongside her. Not fear for myself, but fear for her future in this world where 1 out of every 6 women will be a victim of attempted or completed rape. Where 60 percent of women are sexually harassed at work. Where 1 in 5 girls will be victims of child sexual abuse.

I never felt much fear before motherhood. But now that I’m a mommy to a little girl, I fear for her safety all the time.

She’s Made Me Angrier

That fear has, inevitably, made me angry. I’ll be the first to admit I was never much of a fighter for women’s issues before motherhood. I mean, sure, if you’d asked me to sign a petition, I would. When it came to voting, my alliances were always on the side of women. But equal pay, harassment-free workplaces, consent and all the rest—these weren’t issues I raised my voice about before motherhood.

Now that I have my daughter to protect, that mama bear instinct of mine is on fire each and every day, fighting for a better world for her to grow up in.

She’s Made Me Braver

I thought I was brave before motherhood but I was wrong. I let a lot of people walk all over me, never saying anything simply to maintain the peace. I let people get away with hurting me. I sat back and avoided confrontation whenever possible.

Not anymore, though. These days, with my daughter watching, I model the kind of bravery I hope she’ll one day embody herself. I speak my piece, I call out injustices, I set boundaries and I demand better—both from myself and those around me.

I also go after my goals a lot harder than ever before and take risks I maybe would have shied away from in the past. Because I want my daughter to grow up seeing her mom striving toward something more.

I want her to know what it looks like when a woman chases her dreams.

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