When my son was born, I was introduced to the pressure of parenting. I did, and still do, spend a lot of time thinking about the best way to teach, discipline, play, talk, be a role model, balance responsibilities, and everything else that goes into being the best I can be for the love of my child. Now I am a mom of three: my son and two twin girls. The girls are only a week old, and I have discovered the dumbfounding realization that their first example of what it means to be a woman/mom/wife will come from me. I know they won’t want to copy it all. In fact, I hope that they don’t. I hope they emulate the traits that mean the most to each of them, make them their own, and accept and discard all of my shortcomings.
But what kind of example do I want to be? If I had to paint a picture of the person I want them to see when they see me, what colors would I use? My answer to those questions are surely different today than they will be 10 years from now, but I hope that by sorting out what is important to me now, it will help me to live as not only the person I want them to see but who I truly want me to be.
So, for the sake of those two swaddled little girls just beginning their beautiful lives, I have decided to start to figure out who this woman is today, and what is important to her, before I start falling down the several-year rabbit hole of sleep deprivation and living on adrenaline that is known as parenting early childhood. When my girls think about who I am, these are some of the things I want them to know are part of me:
- The priorities are God-Family (however you choose to define it)-everything else.
- Being married makes you part of a team that shares responsibility. Each person contributes with what they do best, not based on how society says they should behave.
- Exercise and being active are a part of life, not a weekly chore.
- Electronics and social media are tools and fun distractions to be used sparingly, not as an extension of one’s arm.
- Be passionate. About faith, about love, about work, about sports, about books, about whatever moves you.
- Girls don’t have to wear pink. Or heels. Or makeup. But you can if you want. Only if you want.
- Being a female athlete teaches a level of self-respect that few other things can.
- Nature and open lands should be protected and enjoyed. Turn off the music and noise to hear your own thoughts on the trail/beach/waves/hills/mountains.
- Being truly present with friends and family is more important than where you are or what you’re doing.
- Every hour of the day does not need to be scheduled, nor should it be. Time should be spared for spontaneity and reflection on the rest of the crazy called life.
- Being a mom is simultaneously the hardest and greatest role of my life.
This list is really only scratching the surface. Luckily, I don’t have to hand each girl a double-spaced copy of everything I am, I have the rest of my lifetime to teach them. God willing, they’ll grow up to be awesome and teach me a thing or two about what their own version of woman has become.