Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Place for My Girl

With all the women in the media recently enjoying the spotlight--for better or worse, I've had many thoughts culminating about what I want for MY little girl. Granted, she's only 4, but already I see how the world works on her.

Whitney is a very VERY loving person. She is very concerned about others. She is very sensitive. She can't watch Beauty and the Beast (because she thinks the mob will hurt the beast) and other TV shows because she's THAT concerned about the character's well-being.

In preschool she loves being a helper and teacher to other kids.

Whitney can be quite the drama queen--she will cry at the drop of hat and then quickly be laughing a blink later. I don't know where she gets it from. I don't go around the house all day long doing those things.

She's really concerned about how she looks--if things match, if the shoes are pretty enough, etc.

She is really REALLY smart--but not really aware of it.

I've been observing all these traits for the past few months, and I've been thinking how I can help shape her strengths and shrink her weaknesses. Now I'm not naiive. I do have Joshua, I know there is only so much moulding and shaping you can do, and ultimatley she'll make her own person, but I do hope I can create an environment to foster the best in her.

I guess part of it is example. She really picks up EVERYTHING. When I get really flustered, or panicked, I sometimes utter.."shhh." (To avoid a four letter explative with the same beginning consonant blend). Well, when Whitney couldn't get up the hill this morning on her trike, she said, "shhh..." too. Great. Every morning when I go running she tells me, when she gets big she wants to go running too. That's great--I want her to be healthy, but not overly obsessed with how she looks. I don't want her to be the type of girl who eats a piece of cake while at the same time blurts out, "I shouldn't eat this, I'm getting fatter by the bite." I want her to enjoy her life, who she is, and be happy with herself enough to enjoy that piece of cake too.

I don't want her to be swayed by what other people think. I want her to stick to her morals and never let anyone tell her she doesn't have the talent or intelligence to meet her potential. I want her to be able to do anything she wants to do--which means she needs to think that she's capable herself.

I don't want her to think that she needs a man to complete her. I've seen many women and friends who have often thought their life won't be complete, that they won't be a whole person if they don't have a man in their life. Don't get me wrong--I love men (Steve that's you). But I also love myself too--and know that if anything happened to Steve--though I would be very very sad and a part of all the experiences I share with him would seem empty--I know I could make it too.

Now I hope with this post my friends don't think I'm a ranting angry feminist. But I do consider myself a feminist in some ways. I want my little girl to be a strong woman in a world which challenges the role and credibility of women every day. I'm not perfect at this--I often feel that Whitney gets the short end of the stick because Joshua requires so much attention. I guess that's why, when I see different women portrayed in the media, I want to do a better job of this.


At 12:33 PM, Blogger Anne Marie said...

You have SO many great thoughts here. I do not have a girl unfortunately, so I haven't really thought about the challenges/opportunities girls have living in our day. I totally agree with you on your ideas of helping a girl feel confident and self-assured enough so she doesn't become obsessed with her appearance and obsessed with finding her "other half". You will do a great job raising your sweet girl! (I have actually been thinking and researching about helping boys succeed in our society. With four sons, this is definitely on my mind a lot. I appreciated reading your perspective on raising girls.)

At 2:16 PM, Blogger heidi said...

i love the paper bag princess. it should be doctrine. especially since i strongly dislike the whole princess phenomenon we are experiencing right now.
you are right on on so many points-
a-my entire primary presidency and i agree about raising our daughters to be smart can usurp a myriad of problems later in life. we don't need anymore jessica simpsons.
b-whitney is ULTRA smart. reagan misses her.
c-you are doing a GREAT JOB. whitney can't go wrong with your example.

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Robyn said...

What a great post! Being a parent really is much to think about! Your little Whitney sounds like such a sweetheart! I think you're doing a great job. I love the shhhhh story!

At 8:35 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Nice post- I think you painted an accurate portrayal of her. You should print this post off and give it to her when shes' a little older... I think she would like that.
PS> You're such a good mom!

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Jenny said...

Sarah, you don't need to worry one bit about Whitney because she has you for a mom. I think moms have the greatest impact on their kids and you are a wonderful example for her!

At 9:50 AM, Blogger April said...

Sarah! Such a sweet post! Whitney is so lucky to have a mom that cares about her so much! I LOVED reading a little bit about her personality. She is such a cute little girl! David and I have talked a lot about some of these same things. It's scary to be raising kids in this world, huh?

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Katrina said...

With the parents (YOU) Whitney's been so blessed with, I think she'll do GREAT and be a wonderful person and think smart and be who she is! She's got too many pluses on her side.


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