I read a really lovely book the other week Things I want my daughters to know , and it got me thinking about the advice that I would give to my own daughters. It’s very hard to imagine a time when my girls will want their independence, when they will become opinionated and hormonal and tell me that I haven’t got a clue, that I’m so ancient I couldn’t possibly understand what they are going through. But the best thing about a mother/daughter relationship is that ultimately there is the chance that one day, albeit many years from now, they will sit you down and utter those magic words, “You were right!”.
And so I compiled a list, merely the tip of the iceberg, but here are the things that I want my daughters to know.
There is so much more to life than being beautiful.
You are so exceptionally beautiful, don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise, but don’t ever become complacent that beauty is enough. There is so much more to you both than being beautiful. Be kind, be caring, be smart. Be a good person, a good friend, a good partner. When your looks fade, although I cannot imagine a time that they ever will, be assured that your inner beauty will continue to shine through and you will always remain as beautiful as you are right now.
You don’t have to be liked by everybody.
As you grow, especially during your school days, being popular might feel like the most important thing in the world to you. And yet you have to remember that sometimes, those who are surrounded by others can often be the loneliest people of all. Don’t be a people pleaser, don’t follow the crowd, be yourself and if somebody doesn’t like you for it then it’s their loss. Choose your friendships wisely and remain loyal to them, through thick and through thin. And remember that whatever happens, there is no friend in the whole world like your sister.
Don’t give your heart away too easily.
There will come a time, hopefully in many years from now, when you discover boys and truly believe that you are in love. Believe me when I tell you, the best is yet to come. There may be several men (although I really hope, for your Dads sake, that there aren’t too many!) before you meet the right one and you need to learn to trust your instincts and enter into every relationship with your eyes wide open. If he loves you, he will love all of you. Don’t change for any man or stay with someone who makes you feel any less than his whole world. And if you have your hearts broken, which you inevitably will, don’t let it break you. There is someone out there for all of us, sometimes it just takes a while to find them.
Leave your hair alone!!!
You have the most beautiful hair, don’t make the same mistake that I made and destroy it through years of experimenting in a quest for the perfect hair colour that actually, doesn’t even exist. People pay extortionate amounts of money for hair like yours, take good care of it and please, please, please think twice before you cut it. I know that you won’t want to be Rapunzel forever but it really does take years to grow back!
Learn to say no.
If ever something feels wrong, however small that niggling doubt may be, learn how to say no. There is so much pressure to conform with your peers, with boys, with experiences and situations and it is so important to trust your gut instinct. Don’t ever be afraid to stand up and say no, be that in friendships, relationships, your career or even to us, your parents. Believe in your ability to make the right decision and you can’t go far wrong.
The number on your scales should never dictate your self worth.
Trust me when I tell you, there is so much more to life than being slim. Please don’t ever believe that you would be happier if you were ten pounds lighter, that you would be more attractive if your thighs didn’t meet in the middle or you could squeeze yourself into a size zero. Don’t waste your time following fad diets, slogging it out at the gym, worrying so much about gaining a few pounds that ultimately, you forget how to live.
Grow to be confident in your body with the knowledge that although it is important to take care of yourself, eat well, be active and stay strong, life is far too short to skip dessert. Remember that everything you see in the media is a smoke screen, that we could all look amazing with a bit of air brushing, a few clicks of photo shop, that women don’t look that way in real life at all.
Life is short, do what makes you happy.
I am sure that by the time you reach an age where you are capable of making your own decisions, we will have instilled in you the values to know right from wrong, to have the sense to think things through and weigh up all of your options. I hope that when it comes down to decisions with your studies, your career, your choice in partner or lifestyle, you are strong enough to do whatever makes you happy, whether that makes others happy or not. Sometimes in life you have to be selfish, even if that means hurting the ones you love, and if you can hand on your heart tell me that your choices make you happy, you will always have my full love and support.
Whatever you’re going through, I’ve already been there.
Sometimes it’s very hard to see past the fact that I am your Mum, thirty two and three years older than you both and, in your eyes I’m sure, completely out of touch with the youth of today. Believe me when I tell you, whatever it is that you are going through, I have been there, experienced it and lived to tell the tale.
However bad the situation, however despondent you may be, I have advice by the bucket load. Talk to me, share your lives with me, remember that once upon a time I was a confused child, a defiant teen, a young woman who more than anything just desperately needed the advice of my Mum.
Life is tough, but so are you.
More than anything I want you to know that whatever life throws at you, you will survive it. I wish that I could promise you that life was going to be easy and yet there is no way of knowing what lies in store. What I can promise you is that there is nothing in this world that we cannot get through together, and if ever there comes a time when you simply cannot find the strength to go on, I will be right there beside you fighting back for the both of us.
I will always love you.
And that, my darling girls, goes without saying.