The thought of raising three daughters is usually an empowering one. I get excited and humbled when I think about the gift I've been given to raise my girls. I get teary-eyed when I think about raising these sisters. But when I read headlines like "Plus-Size (Size 10!) Supermodel Makes It Into Sports Illustrated" and "Another Campus Rape Ignored," I just want to cry in a corner. Because the truth is that raising girls is scary as hell.
It would be easy for me to make blanket statements like "they'll turn out alright." The reality is that I'm going to have to work really hard to raise them in a way that they turn out to be self-loving, beautiful souls who care for the world and the people in it. I don't want them worrying about squeezing into a ridiculous pant size and I certainly don't want them to know the name Kardashian. I don't want them to have to learn about eating disorders in health class and I never want them to have to take a "don't get raped" seminar their first week in the dorm.
It's a scary world for girls and as a mother of three of them, I feel a great deal of responsibility to teach them what I know so they turn out to be amazing human beings who are kind and loyal and smart and well-rounded and every other good thing a mother wants for her offspring. Here are 20 life rules I want to teach my daughters.
1. Love others deeply. Love is the foundation of every good thing in this world. Don't be afraid of it.
2. Confidence is the most beautiful thing. Do not doubt your ideas, your voice, your beauty, your gifts. You are an incredible creation. Know that and your self-confidence will take you far in everything you aspire to do.
3. Your body is yours. Take good care of it. Appreciate it. You decide how it will dress and how it will behave. You decide how you use it. No one else.
4. Eat good food and never apologize for it. Life is too short to worry about the newest diet craze. It's also too short to eat food that isn't really food. Eat delicious food your whole life. Learn to cook. Learn about the world through the things that you eat.
5. Make mistakes and don't be afraid to tell me when you do. Don't be so afraid of messing up that you don't try. Let yourself make mistakes. And when you do, learn from them. Pick yourself up and keep going.
6. Spend lots of time in nature and books. We learn most everything about ourselves and the world from these two sources. Seek beauty in the outdoors and in the words on a page. Find yourself in those places.
7. Travel all over the world. The more you see, the less you'll know, this is true. But you will grow a bigger heart, kinder eyes and a tender spirit when you meet and experience other cultures, places and people.
8. Let your voice be heard. You are smart and wise and you have good ideas. Never let anyone stomp on your ideas or squelch your voice.
9. Celebrate everything, big or small. Every triumph deserves a party.
10. Be a better friend than anyone has ever been to you. Friendship is a gift and can so quickly vanish from our lives if we aren't careful.