3 Valuable Lessons I Hope my Girls Learn From Their Millennial Mom
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Surprisingly to me, my girls have taught me so much about myself. Paxton, my one-year-old, is a natural lover of fun. She can find the fun in just about anything. Not to mention, she will straight smother you in kisses and suffocate you in hugs. But, it’s Paxton’s innocent love for life that often reminds me, even on my hardest days, that I’ve got all the love in the world. And Peyton, my four-year-old, is like a walking affirmation machine. “You’re such a good mommy,” she often reminds me. Some days, I’m not even sure she knows how much I need to hear that. Peyton’s affirmations teach me, even on the days where I feel like a complete failure, that I’m actually slaying the game. Together, they teach me to be confident and to be fearless.
But, it’s the Millennial Mom in me that wonders, What valuable lessons am I teaching them? What am I teaching them about their character or their integrity? What am I teaching them about being a little girl, who will one day grow up to be a young lady?
There’s something in my heart that yearns to raise two strong girls, who seize each day and live their lives out loud and unashamed. Two girls who are sure of themselves, and treat people the way they’d want to be treated. Two girls who understand their purpose, and align that purpose in making a difference in the world. Two girls who know self-love and the power of prayer.
All-embracing, there are three lessons I hope my girls learn from me in life:
1) You are exactly who God says you are.
I’ve talked to so many Millennial Moms about this over the years, and the feeling is very much mutual. We feel a heightened sense of responsibility to teach our girls to take pride in embracing who they really are-- who God says they are. Perhaps, this need stems from our own experiences, growing up, often subjecting ourselves to who we thought the world wanted us to be. We know that a time will come when the world will try to tell our girls who they should be. And when that day comes, we want them to understand that they are so much more than that. We want them to be so grounded in God’s vision for them, that when they are faced with the adversity of the world, they will simply, “laugh without fear of the future,” because they know, regardless of what anyone ever tries to project on them, they are exactly who God says they are.
2) Speak from your heart, baby.
I’m learning every day that effective communication is a key component to any personal relationship, which is why I hope my girls can learn healthy communication, finding their own voice to be used for good someday. So, what does this look like for my four-year-old, who is often referred to as “Chatterbox” around the house (sorry, P!), or my one-year-old, who hardly even speaks in complete sentences yet?
When my kids are unable to find words to explain how they feel, or what they need, they immediately become frustrated. So, my focus in teaching Peyton and Paxton communication is working on how they communicate. I give them frequent reminders like, “Use your words. Tell me what you want,” or I’ll simply guide them to the word they are searching for. Something else, which comes pretty naturally with Peyton, is being intentional about offering open-ended questions. Ultimately, giving her a chance to reflect on the topic in real-time. I ask simple open-ended questions like, “Well, how does that make you feel and why?” or “What do you think about that?” I’ve learned that open-ended questions allow her the opportunity to think extensively, leaving room for her to be as detailed as she can in communicating their responses.
3) It’s completely okay to feel.
When we hide or suppress our emotions, they never really go away. It’s like putting makeup over a bruise or a scar. From far away, hardly anyone will recognize it. If someone gets close to you, they may be able to see it, slightly. But, you can always feel it, and you will always know it’s there. My prayer is that Tim and I can teach our girls to never suppress their emotions. To face their troubles head-on. To manage their emotions. To acknowledge their emotions. And to cater to their mental health.
Emotional intelligence is key, especially for young women. We are emotional human beings, as it is! So, the best thing I can do in parenting my girls is to cultivate a safe space to feel whatever emotions they are feeling. I would never want to invalidate their feelings, even if I didn’t understand them. Whether they're feeling sadness or silliness, I want them to know it’s completely okay to feel.
So, to the Millennial Mom with hopes of raising strong, communicative, happy humans, I hope you find inspiration here. I challenge you to consider the lessons you are currently teaching your little one. If you are comfortable, share some of those lessons below! I’d love to hear from you.