Inside:Raising girls. The lesson P!nk taught me about imperfection and mothering
I was laying on the table in my OB/GYN’s office with that clear goo all over my belly.
The ultra-sound tech moved around the little wand trying to get a clear picture of the bean sized being inside me, so she could officially tell us the gender of our 2nd baby.
For me it was a mere formality. I already knew what we were having.
It was going to be a boy.
I’d been having dreams since I was a child about being a mom of all boys.
I could almost picture what each one of them looked like with matching toe heads and bright blue eyes. Four carbon copies of the 4 year old boy sitting on his father’s lap a few feet from me.
So, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind…
“Are you ready to find out what you’re having?” the tech asked in an annoyingly perky voice.
I nodded at her with a bit of a smug grin.
Sure, why not, let’s just make it official.
“It’s a girl!” she said
My husband and I stared at her, mouths gaping for a few uncomfortable seconds.
I finally managed to spit out, “Umm, no, you need to look again. I’m pretty sure it’s a boy.”
This was clearly not the reaction she was expecting.
She made a confused face and said to us, “Nope, it’s definitely a girl. Now you’ll have one of each, that’s great, right?”
I could tell she was hoping to move me from shock to joy over her happy news.
I was kind of spoiling the moment.
But I simply looked at my husband, eyes filled with confusion and fear.
How is this possible?
It wasn’t that I didn’t want a girl.
Having been certain from such a young age that I was destined to be a mom of all boys, I held a secret hope that maybe a daughter was possible.
I had been a total girlie girl growing up and loved the idea of frilly dresses with matching bows, hosting doll tea parties and watching all the Disney princess movies.
The fear for me was not in having the girl, it was in raising girls in today’s world.
You’re so mean,
When you talk, About yourself, You were wrong
Change the voices, In your head
Make them like you Instead
What was I afraid of exactly?
I know too many fellow mother’s today, friends, family members or just acquaintances that are extraordinary. Yet they don’t recognize their own value or they don’t have the confidence to put it forward.
I think much of it comes from the fact that despite the insistence of the progress we’ve made, most girls and thus the women they become, are still not comfortable in their own skins or confident about their choices.
We are still the “pleasers” and we continue to look to others to define who we should be, what we should want and how we should behave.
We conform, because we too often look to external affirmations, rather than ourselves, to determine our self-worth.
The whole world stares so I swallow the fear,
So cool in line and we try, try, try,But we try too hard, it’s a waste of my time
Done looking for the critics, cause they’re everywhere
They don’t like my jeans, they don’t get my hair
We change ourselves and we do it all the time
Why do we do that? Why do I do that?
It’s not surprising
Considering the mixed messages that persist both for young girls and for moms about everything from their appearance to their life path.
No choice is the right choice and no matter who we are or what we do it’s not enough.
This is what scared me about having a daughter.
Was it possible to save her from this pit of inadequacy that threatened to swallow her whole and spit out a shadow of her real self?
I really didn’t know if I would be able to combat all the other voices and influences in my daughter’s life and keep her sense of self intact.
More than that, I doubted my ability to help her learn to do it for herself, so she could live a life where the opinions of others are put in their proper place and no one’s matter more than her own.
I think this is why, shortly after that fateful day in my OB’s office, I found myself becoming a die-hard fan of P!nk!
Not the color, but the rocker/song-writer/mom.
Sure she’s got some crazy hair, tattoos, and her life has had some messy moments, but the fact that she is so imperfect is kind of the point.
I love that she has always been so unapologetically flawed.
Through this persona and her music, P!nk communicates a desperately needed message for girls and women today.
One, which doesn’t just encourage, but demands that we be more accepting of ourselves.
Since my daughter is now only six, it will be some time before I find out for sure.
BUT what I am certain about already is how much more grateful, then fearful, I have become about mothering this little girl.
She has forced me to be fiercer, to take more risks and to embrace my imperfections, because she is always watching me.
Therefore, I must see myself through her eyes.
I must be the kind of woman I hope my daughter will become and I have no choice but to genuinely like that person.
No, it’s not always easy, but in those moments when I hear too many voices telling me I’m not enough, I just turn up the volume and sing along with P!nk.
Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like you’re nothing
You are perfect to me