This is for anybody who has a daughter or indeed for anybody who is somebody’s daughter. I am supposed to be older and wiser these days, especially now that I am a mother myself. And yet as I raise my wonderful girls, I realise just how much I don’t know. However, I do know what I want to tell my daughters and what I wish somebody had told me. So dear daughters, here it is, here is what think you should know. This is from the heart. This is for you.
1. You are beautiful. Just the way you are. You will often think otherwise and others will make you feel like you are not. You will doubt yourself, you will find flaws with yourself. You will feel pressured to look a certain way and you will not be able to win. This doesn’t change even when you grow up! You will compare yourself to others and you will find yourself inferior in so many ways. You will be your own worst critic.
And yet, you know what? We are all unique. We come in all different shapes and sizes. Some people are tall, others are small. Some girls are curvy, some girls are skinny. We all have different hair, different skin, different eyes…the list goes on. It will be easy to see the beauty in others but much harder to see it in yourself. But please believe me: you are beautiful. You are perfect. Just the way you are. And even though I understand, my heart breaks every time you think you are not.
2. You can be anything you want to be and don’t ever let anybody tell you different. You are smart, you are brave, you are good enough. You are equal to boys and men – you are equal but not the same. Know that I am truly amazed at your talent – you can do things I can’t. You are a much better version of me. You are special. You are one of a kind. And I wouldn’t have you any other way.
3. I love you unconditionally. I will never expect or want you to study something you don’t want to – though you will have get your GCSE’s first so you can make these decisions! Aim for a job you love not one you think you should do. Don’t settle for second best. I don’t mind if you are a waitress or a lawyer as long as you are happy.
Equally I am happy with your choice to be in a relationship or be single. Know that I love whoever makes you happy (as long as they treat you well!) Have as many relationships as you like. Marry only if you want to. Have children if you want to, don’t if you don’t want to. Be whoever you are. Know that I will never pressure you to be or do anything different. Go with your heart. Follow your dreams.
4. Know that for as long as I live you have a home with me. No matter where you go and how far you go, you can always come back. No matter what choices you make and whatever happens to you, you can always come home.
5. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Go and make your own! And you will make mistakes: some will be bigger than others. This is absolutely fine by me. I’m still making my own! And I hope that you do too because if you never make any mistakes you never take any risks or any of the chances that come your way. Take a chance, take a risk or you will never know what could have been. Go out there and set the world on fire. If it doesn’t work out then put the fire out and start again. Learn from your mistakes then go and make some more.
6. You won’t ever please everybody. It’s not possible and why should you anyway? Know that there will be friends, there will be people who support you. You will have your own personal cheerleaders who stand beside you and encourage you to be all you can be. You will have friends who stand by you even when they think you are wrong – you will call these your best friends.
But, you will also come across people who don’t like you or just don’t get you. And that’s ok too. Remember you are not for everyone.
7. You will have your heart broken. Whether it’s by another person or by something that happens or doesn’t happen, you will get hurt. More than once. When this happens take your time, look after yourself and you will mend. It will feel like the end of the world and like nothing will ever be ok again. But it will be alright in the end, I promise you. That doesn’t mean it will stop hurting altogether or that you will forget. But it will get easier and you will be happy again.
Equally you must take care of other people’s hearts. They will give them to you so try hard not to break them. However, sometimes the right thing for you is the wrong thing for somebody else and you will have to put yourself first.
8. We are totally winging it, too! I don’t know everything by any means. Nobody does. I’m doing everything I can to be the best person and best mum that I can be, but I still screw up sometimes. Just when you think you finally know what you are doing, life throws something else at you and all you can do us try and work it out. Sometimes being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! I give you advice based on what I know and what I have experienced and I try to say and do the right thing. But, everyday I’m learning and making it up as I go along – just like everybody else that I know
9. Believe it or not, I was young once, too! I get it. I understand more than you think. I was scared, I was insecure, I didn’t know who I was going to be. Please know that you can always talk to me about anything and that I will always listen and never judge.
10. I wouldn’t change a thing. Because all roads led to me having you. I know that I have been through a lot but that I am also the luckiest person in the world. Being your mum is the best thing I ever did and I know that I have been blessed.
So dear daughters: don’t be afraid. Go out there and make the world your own knowing that you are loved to the moon and back. Know that you mean everything to me. Know that I believe in you. Know that you be anything you want to be. Know that you can fly.