I have a 5 year old daughter, Loie. As of this moment, she's pretty damn secure in who she is.
I feel an overwhelming and awesome responsibility to protect that sense of self that allows her to wear a paper cup on her head. To help her become a strong, confident, vocal, space-taking, move-making powerhouse, whether she wants to be a creative entrepreneur (however that looks in 20 years) or if she wants to up end things in her own sparkly way.
So I read Caitlin Moran's posthumous advice for her daughter.
And then I read Tina Fey's A Mother's Prayer for Her Child.
And I read the blogs and the posts and the don'ts and the dos. I watch documentaries and cry during P&G's "Thank You Mom" commercials. I pour through what-was-Motherlode. I'm in Facebook groups, I leave Facebook groups. Heck, I even write about it myself.
OUR DISPARATE, DIGITAL VILLAGE
We all know about the village. But, dang, when you move around and have a sister on one coast and a mom on the other, it can be maddening—even if they are both incredible women in their own right and continue to be sources of inspiration and empowerment, belly laughs and advice. The village is disparate. It's digital. It's both bigger than it ever was and harder, at times, to access.
And it's also riiiiight in front of my face. It may not be a dozen aunties clucking at me. But it is more than 100 creatives who are molding womanhood in their own way. I want that for Loie. Hell, I want that for me.
I am overwhelmingly surrounded by awesome women through Forth. So, I admit, I game the system. The parenting advice I want? I want to hear how the women in the women of Forth's lives helped shape them. Moms, aunts, sisters, grandmas, friends, colleagues, peers, teachers, bosses, mentors, lovers...I wanted to hear it all and use it all. Let’s claim the near and far village and celebrate the hell out of it.
So I asked: How were they inspired or empowered to become the woman they are today? How were they supported as a young girl? How did a woman nourish them in those heady early years of work (creative or not!)? How did a woman keep the faith as they leapt to an entrepreneurial venture? TELL ME SO I CAN DO IT TOO, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
Here's what some of them said and the lessons I'll take away, for me and the kid.
LESSON 1: Model grit. Wear tartan.
LESSON 2: Encourage them and say you're welcome when they (finally) thank you.
LESSON 3: Be the creativity you want to see in the world.
LESSON 4: Believe in them as much, no more, than they believe in themselves.
LESSON 5: Let them time travel. They'll be ok.
LESSON 6: Share your lemonade.
LESSON 7: Judge not, lest ye be judged.
LESSON 8: Accept mothering however it manifests.
LESSON 9: Build a tribe for her and with her.
LESSON 10: Nice girls finish first.
LESSON 11: There's a time for everything. It may be right now.
LESSON 12: Show her how to hustle and be kind.
LESSON 13: Let go of the monkey bars.
LESSON 14: Teach by asking.
LESSON 16: Look close to home and look world wide for inspiration.
LESSON 17: Keep showing up. With flowers.
Lesson 18: Encourage the sprint and the pause.
LESSON 19: BE MY WHOLE ME, ALL THE TIME.
Super mom powers activated.
Is there ever enough support and love we can give each other? As women supporting today and future women? As women supporting mothers? I'm pretty sure there isn't.
I watched the fabulous TedTalk, "If I should have a daughter," by Sarah Kay—filmed the very month my daughter was born—which Margot Harrington sent my way which includes the line Margot loves: "I want her to look at the world from the underside of a glass-bottomed boat / to look through a microscope at the galaxies that exist on the pinpoint of a human mind / because that's the way my mom taught me."
Whether you are a mom, know a mom, are an aunt, friend or boss, had a complicated relationship with your mom and sought out role models, cheerleaders, mentors and friends in other avenues, we salute you for being a part of someone's village, our village, for providing the kind words, the shoulder, the financial support, the endless love, the glass-bottomed boat and the microscopes. For protecting, providing, questioning, championing. Girls notice. The women we are? We notice. Today, Mother's Day, every day.
Many thanks. Much love.