Thursday, July 25, 2013

frightening little females

Mike and I were having a conversation the other day about Bernadette's current overly emotional and very volatile and ULTRA willful state and I mentioned that I am scared that she is going to end up being just like me as a toddler, little girl, middle schooler, pre-teen and so on. I have made mention before of my less than straight edge days as a youth, and I would say that in general as a girl I was a little wild. My mom always says that her worst tantrum throwers were me and 2 other of my sisters, and growing up in a house with 6 girls, being put in the top 3 of those who can throw an awesome tantrum, well, that's pretty good.

I am the chubby baby
I was rebellious very early very boy crazy. And around middle school I became hella insecure about myself, and while that's not surprising for any middle school aged girl, I do think the insecurities led to some more serious stuff as I got older.

In the green dress on the right with the bright blond highlights. At 14.

I am definitely NOT going to open my closet of life secrets for the webs, while that may make for a really fun post. And even though major strides have been made since my faux-green-silk dress wearing pre-teen days, I still find myself back at square one sometimes when it comes womanly struggles and now I find myself needing to raise three little women of my own (so far). There have been multiple instances recently that have foreshadowed the difficulties that await me with these girls and I have forced myself not to read anything, or seek advice, because that overwhelms me and will come later, and to rather just take it one SECOND at a time, and blog about my fears.

Naomi: Mommy, I am just so frustrated.
Me: Why?
Naomi: Because all I ever think about is marrying James, and all he ever thinks about is pirates and play mobiles.

This conversation took place in the car several weeks ago. Naomi is not even 4 1/2 yet. Naomi has been seriously trying to win her little friend Jame's hand in "pretend", but not so pretend in her mind, marriage for months now.

The fact is that I felt the way that she was feeling that day in the car until my senior year of college. I was constantly crushing on someone and hoping so hard they would notice me, or in a relationship with someone who was not worth it, or breaking up with that someone and it was so emotionally draining. I certainly did not think that this sort of boy chasing would start to take place until much later and if that is my only reason for keeping her at home for school I will count it as the best reason.


Naomi: Mommy, I NEED to wear my pink dress tonight.
Me: Why?
Naomi: Because Mary only likes the color pink and I REALLY want Mary to like what I am wearing.

This conversation took place recently too and it scared me even more than the boy conversation. What woman that you know doesn't struggle with wanting to measure up to her peers? I know they exist, but I happen to be friends with none of them. This was one of the things I struggled with the earliest and the hardest as a girl, specially in the realm of vain things like clothing and looking good and in the end I would say that feeling like I did not measure up spiraled into a host of other insecurities which led no where good fast. I had no idea what to say to Naomi, but just to keep reiterating that she is beautiful in whatever she wears and that what other people think just doesn't matter. It still freaked me out.


Naomi: I am the beautifulest!
Bernadette: NO, I AM THE BEAUTIFULEST!!! (because she is always screaming)
Naomi: I am the beautifulest!
(over and over until I put a stop to it)

Competition and comparison between women is the absolute worst. It was something that caused major problems for me and between me and so many of my friends, and is honestly something I still struggle with. I just hope and pray that I can fake it enough to where they come out being better and little females than their mother.

I have to make more and more of a concerted effort not to talk about whatever dieting I am currently trying to do, and even the words that I use in reference to what I look like with Mike are often not ideal and I am trying to improve on that. I hate putting on workout DVDs with the girls around because Jillian has just gotten more and more sexy looking with each video and there is always at least one lady with only a sports bra on.

When the girls ask why we are working out I try to really play up that exercise is so good for us and important for our overall health, but I know somewhere in my body there are lots of other vain and selfish motivations, because I want to look GOOD!

They stare at me while I am putting my makeup on and occasionally ask why I am doing it, to which I will always respond that it is important for mommy to feel my best so that I can be my best, but again, I know there are vain motivations behind everything. And I know that there is no way to root up all that crap in my self overnight, nor is there a way to shield and shelter them from all the crap that young women face in the world today. And that is why is just scares me. And why I pray for them daily.

And why I am sending all of them to the convent.


  1. I hear you. I was just talking to my sister about trying to avoid bringing baggage from the difficult years of my life into my kids' lives. It's a struggle. I think being aware of it, like you obviously are, is the most important part.
    Good luck! It sure seems like you're doing a wonderful job with your girls.

  2. arg! These are things I worry about so much now that we're expecting a little girl. I keep hoping that I will be a good example of who Christ wants me to be so that they have an example to follow!

  3. Um, right, so Claire will be joining them at the convent because ditto what you just wrote. She is only 4 months old but already my mind is envisioning any number of terrible scenarios. God has heard from me more these last 4 months than ever before. These little ladies are surely our path to Heaven and sanctification. Holler.

    1. Holler back, Sarah. My Audrey will be doing the same. And her brothers are going to be a priest and a monk. Amen.

  4. I think one of the biggest ironies of parenthood is that we get to see all our faults again in our children. At least I do.,.and it drives me crazy.

    We joke that my girls already have room reserved for them at the convent. ;)

  5. Yes, yes, and yes. Ditto all that, except that I'm right at the cusp of all this, as my oldest (Lucy!) is 11. Blerg. In fact, I am unwinding after an hour-long conversation with her earlier tonight about why she isn't allowed to watch a particular tv show that "EVERYONE" is watching. She just wants to fit in, but we're more of a counter-culture kind of family. It's hard.

    But I agree-- particularly with girls--- self confidence/self esteem is critical. Really critical.

    Keep building them up. It sounds like you are doing a great job.

  6. Thank you for writing this! As a mom of 3 young girls, I am constantly worried about raising them "right". It is overwhelming to even think about it and I definitely need to take your, "one second at a time" advice to heart. Our oldest, who is 8, has decided to become a nun so I just going to keep praying for her vocation!!!!

  7. Yes to all of this. I think we all become parents with our own issues from childhood/teenagerhood. (Ahem. I was taller than my teacher in third grade). I second the convent idea. I picked girl names that would sound perfect with a "Sister" in front of them :)

  8. I really do think that the convent is the best place.

  9. Oh goodness, agreed. It is amazing how they pick up on everything, including our moods and attitudes and tone. I imagine this is how we are sanctified as parents, we are forced to clean out our baggage and face the future as better people that we were when we were younger. Yowsa - that's a TASK! I feel your pain 100%

  10. I've never commented before but I read your blog a lot- it's great!

    This post really hit home with me and I have two boys. With both pregnancies all I could think about was if this is a girl how do I raise her to be stronger and not struggle with self image as much as I I do. I was consumed by it! I hope that should we be blessed with girls in our future that I can figure out a way to navigate it, but for now I am thankful that my boys have a great role model in their father!

  11. I've got a boy, and he's not even 1, but I'm already struggling with how to handle my teen year baggage in parenting. Do I pretend I never made poor choices? How do I teach him the right things if I did wrong ones? It's rough-the convent sounds like a pleasant alternative!

  12. I've got mostly nothing for you. I only raised one girl (my oldest), but we struggled with all this. My next 4 are boys. The only things I can offer is that middle school is THE WORST for girls. They are so mean. I wish I had started homeschooling earlier so that my daughter was at home during those years. I didn't start until she was in high school already. My sister recommends the book Reviving Ophelia.