I’m sharing my thoughts on the way we use the internet and why we need to change in this post – Raising a Daughter in an Online World.
Raising a Daughter in an Online World
Most of you have probably noticed a lot more family related posts on the blog lately.
Don’t get me wrong — my primary focus here is still dessert. Just ask my hips. They’ll agree.
However — the difference between a blog and a recipe site is that a blog reflects the author’s personal life. And right now, my hobbies have taken a backseat to my family life. Babies have a way of shifting your focus don’t they? And having an eight year old son gives me tremendous perspective. Even in my most frustrated, exhausted moments, I look at him and remember how quickly this passes, and how I will long to shrink my sweet Lucy down to infant size and breathe her in, if only for a moment.
With that being said, I’ve discovered that raising a daughter is so much more emotionally taxing than a son. For years and years I swore I never wanted a girl — most of you know my story, and I think that planted fear in my heart. However — I realized that I have an opportunity to right so many wrongs from my past. I can nurture and love and support her, and maybe through that, fill some of my own gaping holes.
All that aside, I have found that having a daughter forces me to look inside of myself and view the world through different eyes. Instead of looking at things from the perspective of an imperfect, insecure women with a jiggly belly that is unproportional to her twiggy legs and bony ankles, I view the world as a woman who loves herself as much as she loves her child. I view things as a woman who is beautiful inside and out, flawless in the eyes of her creator, loved unconditionally, and forever supported and cherished.
And I am sad to say that when viewing things through those eyes, I find that I deserve better than what I sometimes see. But because I don’t love myself as I love my child — perfectly, consumingly, unfailingly — I have been settling.
That makes me sad.
Because what I have found is that we are extremely lacking in a sense of supportive community. What I have found is that women wield our motherhood like a weapon instead of a blessing, parceling out judgement and insults to boost our self esteem. What I have found is message board after message board, Facebook post after Facebook post, hurling insults at mothers for anything from formula feeding to working outside the home, to co sleeping, to what kind of car seat we use.
The internet has come such a long ways from eight years ago when my son was an infant. Now smart phones are practically required, and we all have a tiny computer at our fingertips 24/7. I can only imagine how the internet will have grown and expanded it’s presence by the time our daughters are adults. And this is the legacy we are leaving them.
With all the current events in the news, I think that as women, we forget that we too, are not always treated equal. That we were granted the right to vote LESS THAN ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, that we are STILL not given equal opportunity and equal pay, and that domestic violence is the NUMBER ONE CAUSE in injury to woman between the ages of 15 – 44.
So why, again, do we insist on tearing one another down?
We are the only ones who TRULY know the heartache and joy of motherhood. We are the only ones who know what it’s like to have to worry about things like how we dress if we go out with our friends so we aren’t “asking for it”, to make sure we have pepper spray or a cell phone in hand when out late at night. We live a life full of indescribable happiness and fulfillment, but also fear and worry and constant multitasking. We are healers and child bearers and a soft place to land. We are underestimated, victimized, and often held to an unfair standard.
As if that weren’t enough, we treat each other with cruelty and a lack of compassion.
I don’t know what the future holds for my daughter. She might be President, or a stay at home mom. She might long to breastfeed her baby but after despairing night after night while her baby hungrily cries, turn to formula as a last resort. And I’ll be damned if she’ll ever find out that I was once hiding behind anonymity and typing out judgement to other mothers on the internet.
So what I am asking you today is this — look at the world through the eyes of your child. Someone who is perfectly, unconditionally, unfailingly loved. And create the kind of online community you think they deserve. Be supportive, be kind, be helpful and be mindful of the fact that we all have a story. Regardless of what or how we feed our babies, where our baby sleeps, or what our philosophies are on television (I admit to using the TV to babysit occasionally, so there), we all have one thing in common — we love our children. And loving children can be a very difficult and lonely job.
Don’t we need all the help we can get?