This motherhood #3 Girls - listen! You are the future of the world!
Yeah okay, so are sons. But today it's International Women's Day, and it's all about the women and girls, so there! I have two daughters, and these are the three things that I would say to their young adult selves about life, ambition and love if they were here with me in all their glory today.
Always keep an open heart. Never lose your sense of wonder. Honour your dreams - always. And most importantly, stay true to who you really are. Because life is not a rehearsal. If you choose motherhood, know that it will be the deepest, most rewarding life experience that you will have. It won't be easy - god no - don't expect it to be easy. But nothing that was ever worth doing in life was ever easy. The key to happiness will lie in teaching everyone about balance and give and take. There's a washing powder advert being shared on social media that features a woman running round at an exhausting pace, doing anything and everything for her children, her husband. Her father, now an old man in his 70's, comes into the picture. And yes, the point of it all is for him to admit that he made a mistake. He brought his daughter up to be a quiet and dutiful servant whose sole purpose in life was to meet the needs of others while denying that she had any needs of her own. His clever, highly capable, brilliant daughter. It's great that the advert says something that so desperately needs to be said. That this is a regret. But really - why is this still happening in households across the world? Don't let this happen in yours. If you have a family or if you chose to have a family, let them know that you have needs too! Get them to lay the table, help with cooking, pack their school bags. Get them to massage your feet in return for making the dinner! Dance to your favourite music in the kitchen. Make your feelings and needs heard. Your daughters and sons, and their future partners, will thank you for it (I certainly thank your grandmother for bringing your dad up in this way).
Have ambition, be determined to succeed in whatever it is that you love and choose. Because if you love it and if you choose it, you will work hard at it. And hard work achieves big results. But realise that only paid work, or work that is in the public doman, has any value in our society. That is a fact. It's a fact that I struggled with when I was doing the incredibly important job of mothering young children. A job where, for many years I practiced small practical tasks day after day without trace, without record or recognition, where altruistic acts of kindness and gestures borne out of love and an open heart, went utterly unnoticed and unvalued to the world outside our front door. And this bothered me. Because no one gave me an appraisal, I didn't get a pay rise for doing a good job or an award for giving up my time, my energy. But you know what? I wish I hadn't cared. I wish I hadn't believed that those things were the most important things in life. Because they're not. Relationships are. And all of those acts of love and kindness did not amount to nothing. They amounted to you.
You will know when you love someone - believe me, you just will. If you find someone that you love deeply and feel a strong connection with, it will feel like a dance when you're together. You will work well as a partnership and imagine yourselves as parents, carrying, swiftly going about daily life, as two cooks working side by side in the kitchen. But it won't stay the same forever. Expect change and expect growth. Without this your relationship will wither and die. But the most important thing I have to say about love is that you must first love yourself. So be accepting, be understanding, be gracious when you say the wrong thing, or forget to do the right thing. You are perfect just the way you are. Know this in your heart and you will be resilient, you will respect others and you will shine like a star throughout your life.