The Unrealistic Expectations of Girls
When I say my life is crazy-beautiful, I truly mean it. Each day is a frenzy of obligations and deadlines – yet somehow my family and work finally feel really, really great. But as we all know, things shift so quickly and lessons are hard hitting….it’s always smart to stop and smell the flowers.
Here’s my most recent hard hitting lesson based on a story about a young teen and a grown woman – and the crazy-intense world we live in where girls are expected to do too much for too many people.
Let me put this in context: Girls are encouraged from very early on in their lives, to accommodate other people’s needs, to be pleasant and polite, to help make other people feel better and to play nicely. The steady message sent to girls is “Do for others even when it puts you at risk.”
Yes, kindness, team-work and being polite are all great attributes to keep in mind and to apply when possible….But the frequency at which girls are asked to accommodate is unrealistic. The way I see it, no one destined for a life of love and fulfillment can afford to enable selfish behavior. Not even superwoman.
Here’s what happened: My daughter was asked to participate in a fancy event. We agreed and started to prepare. The event host quickly began to make unrealistic demands on my daughter’s time to which we simply couldn’t oblige. In my house, we teach our children to focus on school and family first. Fancy events are not part of our family’s zeitgeist. Needless to say, at the last minute, my daughter was abruptly taken off the bill for said fancy event.
Now, New York is full of fancy events, and it’s frequent that we’re asked to participate in them. So it shouldn’t have bothered me. But this did. Not because we felt snubbed by fancy people, nor because we deeply cared about the event. It bothered me because it offended me to my core. It was counter to everything I stand for and against our family’s values.
I am not here to sell my kids out for other people’s dreams, not even my own. As moms, we’re here to help our kids understand right from wrong – beauty from ugly, to guide them down smart paths, to lead them towards brilliant and safe experiences and to show them how to love themselves – first.
As the mother of a teenage girl, I know there are a million and one things just waiting to distract her. I see her being pulled this way and that way. It’s my job to keep her focused. So, I try my best to be the grounding element in our house. And when I see too much movement around other people’s dreams, I slow everything down. Parties, sleepovers, gadgets. All on pause. I’ve been told I can be a bit overprotective. But until someone shows me a guaranteed path to raising successful kids, I’m sticking to mine. My plan is based on Love, Guidance, Intuition and a Hands-On-Everything approach.
When we pause, we have a moment to think deeply. This is what I’ve come up with: Girls are not for sale. They have big plans and important things swirling around in their heads, which soon enough will come out and be brilliant. Our girls are not here to fit into other people’s schedules. They’re actually preparing to be leaders. Let them.
I have a teenage daughter and she is lovely, smart, sarcastic, undeniably beautiful and most of all gentle. Get in line Fancy People – I know she’s got it!