Lately, I have been contemplating the roles and trials of women, as well as the kind of world I want my 8 year old daughter to grow up in. Three strong, independent women head my list for the kind of parent I would like to be, as well as the kind of daughter I want to raise.
Karen heads that list. She went through an incredibly painful and emotionally damaging ordeal - there is nothing more paralyzing and frightening for a mother than the risk of safety and life of her child. Not only was Karen required to go through that private hell, but she also had to deal with betrayal from those she thought were closest to her. She did so with such strength and introspection that I am in awe. I hope, although I pray I may never be, that if I am tested as Karen was, that I will be able to survive and to find strength as she has done. Karen is my idol as a mother and as a woman.
Two other women I seek for myself and my daughter to emulate are Jada and Willow Pinkett-Smith and and Chrissy and Isabella Weems.
Recently, when Jada was asked why she allowed her daughter to shave her hair off., her response was incredibly profound. Her response was as follows:
why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don't belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power, or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit, and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It's also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother's deepest insecurities, hopes, and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be."
While I could never have said it so effectively, I have always held the same belief for my own daughter. She wears the clothes she wants to wear, she chooses her hair style and she decides who can be affectionate and when. I won't deny that it breaks my heart when she won't let me shower her with kisses, but it's her body and her choice. I get three cheek kisses as bed time - and I have to be okay with that. And while I know her outfits sometimes raise eyeballs and draw smiles - she chooses her own clothing. I want her to be independent and strong-willed; to know what she wants and to know that she can get it if she is willing to work for it.
Which leads me to my final "hero" - Isabella Weems, and her mother Chrissy. Isabella Weems is a sixteen year old girl with her own successful direct sales company - Origami Owl. When she was 14, she wanted to start saving money to buy a car. Her mother Chrissy encouraged her to start a business. She researched her product and decided on clear lockets with charms personal to the purchaser. With $350 of her own money and $350 from her parents, Isabella created her own business. The business took off and is now a national direct sales company with approximately $300,000 in sales for 2011. Chrissy and Isabella run the company together, with Isabella remaining the guiding force of what the company will be and do.
I am constantly trying to instill in my daughter that she can be and do anything she wants. This mother-daughter team is living proof that gender, and even age, do not have to be barriers to success, as long as our daughters are self-confident, motivated and most of all, encouraged by us.
Long live strong. independent women - and long live JDMoms!