I think there are a lot of mothers out there who will agree with this statement: Raising girls is hard work. I mean, being a woman is hard enough. You’re supposed to be smart, sexy, nurturing, strong, sweet, funny. You’re supposed to work and take care of your home, and there is always a percentage of the population that will look down on a decision to work or a decision to be a stay-at-home-mom (I work FROM home, so I have a foot in both camps). You’re supposed to find time to read, clean, workout, look presentable, have close friendships, be sexy for our husbands, and make our kids look perfect.
And there is always that smidgen of doubt in our heads telling us we’re not doing enough.
And then there’s raising daughters.
I’m mostly concerned with my eldest. She is smart, but not ‘wicked smart.’ She’s an athlete, but she’s not naturally athletic. In other words, Libby has to work for her achievements. She’s above average in most categories, but not quite ‘excellent.’ She’s not one of those girls who can eat anything and still be skinny, if anything, Lib runs more on the chubby side. She’s doesn’t have the genetics to be tall. She is blessed with great skin, good hair, nice teeth, nice eyes. Enough good that it’ll balance out in time.
It’s just getting her through these years, these pre-teen and then teen years, that is the tough part.
I remember how mean girls can be, and I think she’s already felt that. I’ve tried to teach her not to take it to heart, just to walk away, but other females can be harsh (and there are still mean girls when you are in your 40’s). I’m trying to teach here to be resilient, and to know what to listen to (an honest opinion from a good friend–or from your mom), and what to ignore (those who have fun taking bits out of you).
Because she isn’t ‘gifted,’ she has to work hard for her victories, which is good. When something comes easy to a person, it’s just as easy to give it up. Her wins, whether they be in school, swimming, or lacrosse, are earned. That’s good, I think.
I’m trying to teach her, without shielding her, about the haters of the world. Trying to teach her that there will always be those slinging negatives in your direction, but not to take it too seriously. Trying to show her unconditional love. Trying to model good relationships, both with my friends and my husband. To teach her how to dress appropriately, how to speak appropriately, how to act appropriately.
Trying to teach her empathy, sympathy, and kindness. I think she understands differences in people better than most because of her little sister’s disabilities. She’s kind without being soft, I think.
I guess it comes down to teaching her three things: Confidence, kindness, and hard work. With those three things, she can call the world her own.
And I won’t know if I’m doing my job correctly for at least 15 years. That’s the hard part.
You gotta love Frankie in E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. She’s that girl that I would love for my daughter to become. The summer between her freshman and sophomore years at Alabaster Prep, an exclusive East Coast prep school, Frankie goes from geek to beauty without really realizing what has happened. And during her sophomore year, she learns all about the pluses and minuses of both.
When Frankie returns to school, she is shocked and pleased to be noticed by her major crush, Matthew Livingston. But becoming his girlfriend means she supposed to leave her smarts behind, to only be noticed for her looks and her new curves. Frankie is reluctant to leave her brains behind, and hates that Matthew and his friends expect her to be little more than a pretty face.
Frankie finds a way to use her more than adequate intellect, secretly inserting herself into the all-male secret society on campus, The Basset Hounds. Throughout the book, Frankie weighs her choices with the consequences she may face, and decides that the risk is worth the reward. In the end, Frankie realizes that may be she isn’t as smart as she thought, but she is smarter than her new friends thought. She learns the importance of honesty and friendship, family and loyalty. Frankie learns the value of staying true to herself while also being true to other things that matter: family, friends, school.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is a great story for teens over the age of 12. There is a little kissing and thoughts of more, but there is also a story of a smart, confident girl learning the lessons of life. I really enjoyed this one.