My mother was right. My daughter is exactly like me. Must be payback for the years of torture I caused. Stubborn, opinionated, determined. These aren’t very desirable traits in a toddler, but I’m looking forward and I see BIG things for her.
Because we’re both so hard headed things can easily turn into a power struggle. What feels sometimes like her acting out and disrespecting me is just her testing out her voice. She’s got a lot to say and she wants to be heard. I won’t punish her for being herself and I won’t crush her spirit. I’m on her team. I think I can bear with her through these small years. Put aside my own stubbornness and praise her individuality, give her a safe outlet for self–expression within gentle boundaries and who knows maybe she’ll change the world. But at the very least I can be sure she’ll never let anyone push her around.
I’ve always dreamed she’d grow up to be some kind of activist but to be honest, she can be whatever she wants and I’d be proud as long she’s passionate about it. Because there is no true joy without passion and it’s hard to find passion when you’re trained to follow directions blindly. As a mother I want to nurture who she is instead of tell her who to be. So I’m promising to train myself instead of her, to retrain my own way of thinking.
I promise NEVER to:
1. Ask her to do things I won’t do myself.
For instance listen to me when I’m not to listening to her.
2. Take it personally when she’s having a tough day.
Her behavior is not meant to insult me or annoy me. Her opinions and emotions matter just as much as my own.
3. Force her into my schedule without giving her freedom to run and play in between.
To expect a 3 year old to sit still, be quiet, and behave all day is crazy. She is full of energy and she needs to move.
4. Do things for her that she can do herself.
She feels empowered by reaching the top of the jungle gym, I won’t trivialize that by giving her a leg up. I like to show her I trust in her capabilities by standing back and watching and only stepping in when she asks for help and truly needs it.
5. Apologize for being myself
I will be silly with her and not care who is watching. Show her it’s okay to be different.
I promise to ALWAYS:
1. Teach her respect by showing respect.
Toddlers with strong wills are hard to control. But do they really need control? Model respect to get respect.
2. Stand up for what I believe in and make sure she’s watching.
Lead by example. If I stand for my beliefs and let go of insecurities she will see that she can too.
3. Put myself in her shoes.
One of the pros of being so similar is that I can easily see her point of view and recognize when I’m not being fair to her.
4. Try new things even when I’m scared.
I’m not as outgoing as I’d like to be but I don’t want to show her that and I won’t let it stop me from trying something fun.
5. Praise individuality. Refrain from judging her or anyone else.
Just because her friends play princesses doesn’t mean she has to. She will never here put someone down for standing out in a crowd. I always tell her: “Normal is boring.”
I don’t always feel like embracing my daughter’s “leadership qualities” but that’s just me taking it personally. She is who she is and I when I had her I promised to love her unconditionally. I will try my hardest for the rest of her life to overcome my own strong will and show her what amazing things she can do with hers. I promise to be her personal cheerleader through life. Everyone else will try to teach her to fall in line I will encourage her forge her own path.
Katelyn is a Jesus-loving woman, wife, mother, writer, crafter, and decorator. She is a baby-wearing, breastfeeding, toxin free, GMO-fighting, gentle-parenting hippie and a firm believer in respect and rights for all. Katelyn is a completely transparent, movie loving, foodie, with the occasional foul mouth.
Katelyn is extremely close with her family. She is married to her high school sweetheart who is her biggest fan/supporter and together they have two beautifully unruly daughters.
Aside from all of her little quirks and flaws, the biggest part of her is loving Jesus. To Katelyn, loving Jesus means trying her best to live like He did by showing everyone LOVE and GRACE, even to herself. She tries to live outside the pressure of the world, to live out love with no inhibitions. She doesn’t fit the classic church girl stereotype but she’s never been one to do what’s expected – and she likes it that way!
Photo credit Katelyn Trulove