Lessons for my Daughter

5 months ago Gemma Bell

International Womens Day

In the four and three quarter years, (and the exact calculation is important to the under-fives) since you burst into my life all squashy pinkness and noise you’ve already taught me so much: A fierce tiger love I didn’t know I was capable of, new levels of patience, sleep deprivation and all the words to Frozen. Most importantly, you’ve shown me how much more I have to learn. As I pick my way through parenthood deciphering the lovely and often baffling puzzle you are, I can truly say you’ve given me the opportunity to see the world differently. In return I wanted to offer you some of the lessons I’ve learned to help you on your way.

  1. Love comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. How it comes is not important but when it finds you, love big.

  2. Question everything. Except me. I’m joking! Especially me and those you suspect of giving you a “because you’re a girl” answer. Questioning is how we learn, you can remind me I said this when I tell you to stop asking “Why?”

  3. Humans are wonderful contradictions, you can be both delicate and powerful, gentle and assertive, thoughtful and care free. You can be all these things, embrace them. Don’t let society’s expectation dictate your characteristics.

  4. Get your sleep, most nights. There are going to be lots of late nights totally worth having but most nights get your sleep, you will feel better for it.

  5. Then make your bed every day. Not a housekeeping tip, but one of setting an intention to start the day well.

  6. Pink and blue are just colours, trains and dolls are just toys, football and netball are just sports, Physics and English Literature are just subjects. They have no gender, so wear, play, take part and learn the ones you want to.

  7. Your body is YOUR BODY. You choose what you do and don’t do with it (although please continue to brush your teeth).

  8. Cynicism is cool, and yes often funny, but you’ll find more joy in enthusiasm.

  9. It is life enhancing to find work you are passionate about but don’t worry too much about what you want to be when you grow up. You’ve listed teacher, mummy, vet, golfer and Barbie as options this week, so stay open to those possibilities. Find a life that means something to you and make work a part of it.

  10. To quote the love expert Trolls of Frozen “people make bad choices if they’re mad, or scared or stressed. Throw a little love their way and you’ll bring out their best”. Afford this kindness to others but afford it most to yourself.

  11. Don’t seek advice solely from Disney.

  12. And finally know that my love comes without condition. It does not depend upon behaviour, grades, language, life choices or looks and whilst I’m never going to be able to resist giving advice (see above list!), know that ignoring it will never change that.