It still surprises me when I remember that I am in charge of two very small female humans. I am myself a female human – some would argue a content and reasonably successful one – but this does not provide as much comfort as one might expect. Now that the eldest is beginning to converse with me about her hopes (for snacks) and fears (of hand dryers in public toilets), I have a renewed sense of panic that they are going to look to me for guidance in all walks of life and surely someone who once thought that Barack Obama was guest starring in an episode of Ally McBeal isn’t up to that sort of responsibility?
Nevertheless, here I am. I didn’t have my children particularly early or late in life, yet I somehow feel both terrifyingly under qualified as well as completely out of touch with the youth of today. One thing I’m sure of, however, is that being a girl is tough. My memories of growing up are relatively fresh and if I concentrate really hard I can still summon up that feeling of anxiety that came with leaving my own mum at the school gate; with battling my shy tendencies; with comparing myself to just about anyone else (particularly those with bigger boobs and/or smaller noses). I worry that these childhood memories will fade as I settle further into my new role on the other side of the dinner table, which is what prompted me to start thinking of ways to remember. At least for long enough to empathise with my daughters as they face the same challenges, that is.
A very good friend of mine bought me a keepsake journal, ‘My Prudent Advice’ (as pictured), when I fell pregnant with Anya and it’s probably going to disappoint her greatly to read that I haven’t yet put pen to paper. Not even on the first page where I’m just supposed to write my name and address! The rest of the journal is split into chapters demanding my thoughts and feelings on various topics from family, friendship and love to politics, fashion and travel. It may provide some comfort, however, to know that this is not because I don’t rate the idea or because I’ve prioritised The Walking Dead over getting started. Rather, I think it is such a beautiful and important project to take on that I’ve become a little daunted by it. The Contents page indicates that I ought to have advice for my daughters on being a woman, on finding their passions, on seeing the beauty everywhere. I can’t even fill in my eyebrows properly.
I’ve decided to ‘woman-up’ and pick up my virtual pen. The back of the journal promises that by recording my own advice, observations and inspirations my daughters will cherish this legacy, both as girls today and as women tomorrow. Who can argue with that? Granted, by choosing a blog as the media in which to do this I am committing myself to sharing my experiences with anyone kind enough to read it, but, who knows, maybe it might engage other parents and daughters in a collective discussion. At the very least, it’s bound to provide some laughs along the way – I mean, I can already hear my husband chuckling at my attempt at the chapter on politics and I haven’t even read the questions yet.
Anya, Ellora, this blog is for you. I hope that one day it helps you to figure out where you’ve come from and where you’re going. I hope you think of me fondly as I openly search myself for credible advice. I hope you forgive me if it appears at times that my opinions are conflicted or confused – I really thought I’d feel more like an adult by the grand old age of 31 but the truth is I’m still learning how to be the best version of me every day. Finally, I hope you know that I love you with all my heart and, while what it means to be a girl may change by the decade, some things never change. A mother’s love goes on forever.
The first chapter, ‘On Family’, is coming very soon (eek). If this is a subject you think you might be interested in then I would love for you to click ‘follow’ and/or leave a comment to let me know!