My four-year-old daughter Elliot and I have quite a few things “in common.” For instance, we both like shopping, wearing new shoes, going to gym meets, dancing, and singing Taylor Swift songs very loudly in the car. The things we enjoy together are 90% from what I have introduced to her. However, we have our differences. She is a lot more outgoing than I am. She is a better dancer than I ever was, even at four. I never liked makeup as a kid, but she can’t see me put on lipstick without begging me to put some on her. I don’t ever remember being any age and insisting on a bow the way she does. She loves playing basketball and getting dirty. She swears she wants to be a mom/waitress when she grows up. She is absolutely her own person. I dare not mess that up.
SHE IS NOT MY MINI-ME.
She is not an extension of me. I would love if she was as into reading and learning, but she isn’t. She would rather play school or Hot-wheels. I do introduce her to things that I enjoyed when I was younger. I loved participating in dance and gymnastics once upon a time. I put her in ballet last year because she danced around the house so much. I put her in gymnastics because she asked to go. Both have been great for her and she has excelled at both equally. She might do either one, or both, competitively one day. If she doesn’t, she doesn’t. I refuse to mold her into a mini-Misty. Or mold her into anything other than what she truly is. It’s important to remember that the dreams for our kids need to be for them, not for us.
Elliot is very independent. She quickly makes up her mind about things and once she’s done that, there is no swaying her. I love that about her. I love her lines of thinking and the things she says she wants to do in life. I would never try to sway her way of thinking to better suit how I THINK she needs to do things. If she told me that she hated gymnastics tomorrow and that she would rather do karate — ok cool where can I sign her up? I want her to explore new things on her own. As her mom, I need to encourage her independent thinking.
As her mom, I am her role model. I am the #1 person that she looks up to right now. For the rest of her life she will remember the way I do things and as much as I loved being my own person as a child, I have to let her be hers. Sure wearing the same color shoes from time to time or wearing our hair the same to dinner is cute, but it ends there. She is Elliot and I am Mom.
I always wanted to have a daughter, not so I can raise a small version of myself, but so I can watch a little girl grow and learn. Our daughters are our darlings…they aren’t something to accessorize and parade around. They are a blessing to a mother. Little girls are so impressionable; they often want to be 100% like their mamas. I love that she wants to be just like her mama. But I would rather her be just like Elliot.
“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think”- Margaret Mead