I read this article over the weekend. It’s an interview with seven Catholic homeschooling moms on what they’re doing to make sure they are raising strong daughters. I absolutely love all of their answers, and it got me thinking about the kinds of things that I’m doing to make sure Squeaks is becoming a strong, capable woman of God.
Mostly there are things I want her to know. I want her to understand why we do everything we do and why it’s important. I want her to know these things.
1.) I love you. I will always love you.That doesn’t mean I won’t ever be mad at you.
2.) I can disapprove of things you do or decisions you make, but I will always always love you.Speaking of which, disapproval or righteous condemnation of sin is not hate or fear or being mean. It must be followed with loving urging to return the path that God intended for them.
3.) That goes for your own sins too. Go to confession often, and confess well. Find a priest that understands you, and pushes you to address the sins you commit most frequently. I don’t know what those will be yet, since you’re only seven, but I know that you will have them. You’re human.
4.) I am not going to be your friend at the cost of being your mother and keeping you safe (morally and physically.) That being said, I hope that we will be best friends, like I am with my mom.
5.) Your sibling(s- if I ever get not crazy enough to give you another) are the greatest gift and best friend God will give you for this period in your life. Treasure him. Stay close to him, even when you’re grown up.
6.) Your father loves you more than you will ever know. Fathers are so important, especially for girls. And yours happens to be a wonderful man who is full of faith and love and he genuinely tries to do what is best for you every day. Never forget that.
7.) I am making you work hard in school. I will continue to do so. Study hard, so that you can have all options open to you. Know how much I loved and treasure my education, and how important education is to our family. You will never have a worthless degree. You will always learn something about the world and yourself through a careful study of anything you care to set your mind to.
8.) If and when God calls you to be a wife and mother, know that you will feel used by God in a way that you never thought possible. And it is amazing.
9.) You are a daughter of God, and no matter how strong you are, you cannot do it on your own. Go to Him.
10.) Anxiety and depression run in our family. (It’s the only running we do. Hah!) Being stoic and refusing to acknowledge that you need help (like I did for what seems like an eternity after your brother was born but was actually like 12 days) is not being strong. Being strong is taking care of your mental health, even when it’s scary and overwhelming. I can help you. Come to me.
11.) I can help you with almost anything. I still go to my mom and dad for things literally every day. I want you to feel like you can do that with me and Daddy too.
12.) Don’t worry about your body. Yes, be healthy. But I have been a size 2 and a size 22 and literally I felt better about myself at 22. Being skinny doesn’t turn you into the person you want to be. It doesn’t make people love you. It doesn’t do anything except change the number on your dress. So run around, eat good food, keep eating vegetables, and be healthy. But never obsess over your size. Because it. does. not. matter.
13.) Learn your manners. Teach your children their manners. Don’t get mad at me for forcing you to learn your manners. Always send thank you notes too. They’re awesome.
14.) There is literally nothing that cuddling with your mom, taking a nap, and an hour in Eucharistic Adoration can’t make better.
15.) This world is over in a minute. Being a strong woman usually doesn’t mean doing things that make you popular or your life easier. Your goal (and mine) is to get to heaven, where the strongest women ever, Our Lady and the Saints, will be waiting for you.