Raising daugters


I have two daughters. Alison is twenty and Eliza is seventeen. When Alison was born, I was twenty-six-years-old and I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I didn’t understand what a huge responsibility it is to raise a child. I knew that I would never sleep through the night again. I knew I was going to have to provide three meals a day and bathe them regularly. I anticipated the tears, skinned knees, the fabulous hugs, and the heart-stopping smiles. I didn’t know I wasn’t going to be able to read a book for the first seven years; that I would feel like the most vulnerable part of me was walking around the world and there was very little I could do to protect it. I didn’t know I wouldn’t go to the bathroom alone for years. I had no idea how angry and frustrated my children could make me. But these aren’t the responsibilities or worries I’m talking about. What I am talking about is the social responsibility of raising good citizens. This is not the kind of lesson you teach merely by talking. 

Parenthood is primarily about showing. It is active. It must be demonstrated. 

I want my daughters to be women who give their seat on the bus to the elderly and the infirm. I want them to be women who say “thank you” and “please”. I want them to be women who take the time to put themselves in another’s shoes; who pick up garbage on the street; and, whose first reaction is always kindness. I want them to be funny and likable. I hope that they will value and be good to their friends. I want them to vote. I want them to march for what they believe in. I want them to know when a kind word or a simple smile is what’s needed the most. I try to remember that our children are ALWAYS watching what we do and how we do it. This is physically and mentally exhausting. It requires you to be the best you can be all the time. It takes discipline and endless patience. You have to know when to correct them and when to praise them. They need to know when to say “yes” and, maybe more importantly, when to say “no”. The scariest part? I don’t think we’re ever done. I know I’ve made a ton of mistakes, but I hope I’ve done enough right. The thing is, only time will tell. 

Article by Anna Quick Palmer