Raising A Girl Made Easy - Gutsy Girl Club

Parents Speak Out: What I Wish I'd Known Before Having a Daughter

by Heather Freeman, click here to get all our posts.

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by Heather Freeman, click here to get all our posts.

 

Do you remember the enthusiasm you felt upon that initial spark: “Hey! We’re having a baby!” What would you say to yourself now, these many moons later? Would you warn yourself off, or encourage yourself forward? We at the Gutsy Girl Club wanted to know, and we bet you do too. So we asked parents of girls from across the country one simple question: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you had your daughter? Oh boy, did you all deliver with the advice! From the cynical to the hilarious, you shared tremendously practical insights for aspiring moms and dads (or those that may want some reminders). This is precisely the type of knowledge we here at the Gutsy Girl Club aspire to curate and share in our quest to offer the ultimate girl power resource for the entire parent of girls community. The advice starts with can’t miss parenting fundamentals.

Sign up to receive the Raising A Girl Made Easy Newsletter and we’ll throw in our free guide: 5 Things To Tell Yourself When You Have Nothing Left In The Tank.

Here’s what we heard.

Becoming A Parent

"Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”

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"Mommy brain. You won’t remember a thing, don’t worry it happens to all of us."

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“You are the right parent for your kids, whoever you naturally are, and they are the right kids for you. If someone constantly needs to compete, it says more about them than it does about you.”

- Submitted by Laura Sanford (Buzzfeed)

 

A Girl's Identity

"She may be way girlier than you are.

Even if you've done your best to create a gender-neutral play space stocked with trucks, trains and all sorts of "boy" toys, she may develop a passion for princesses and Barbies and pretty pink ballerina gear out of the ether. Some girls just naturally flock to the girly stuff. “Samantha is my girly child. She loves to carry a purse, wear jewelry, and lip gloss is her favorite thing in the world. She asked me at age 4 if I could buy her high heels and a bra,” says mom of three Kelly G. Phillips.

 

"Telling them they're beautiful is not enough. I want to tell them this all the time. Because they are. But when I do, I feel like I also have to say a whole host of other things — you're kind, thoughtful, smart, creative, funny — so they don't ever think it's just about being beautiful.


You can't help but see yourself in your daughters. Despite the fact that my girls are these dynamic, smart, beautiful creatures (see above), I can't help but see in them the things that drive me most crazy about myself — namely, my need for approval and deep fear of criticism. And because of this, I am working on being kinder and more forgiving — to them and myself. Also, my thighs. I admit it, I worry they will inherit my thighs. And then I feel bad for even thinking that.


You will always be the most important role model. My girls' library is filled with books about amazing women from history. We talk regularly about Hillary Clinton, the upcoming election, and the possibility of a female president. I point out trailblazing women in the news, and most recently, we celebrated the women's U.S. soccer team with an almost frenzied excitement. But at the end of the day, the woman they look up to most is me — their mom. They talk like me, walk like me, and turn to me to answer any and all questions they have about the world. If I am being honest, I am overwhelmed by this responsibility. I know I am going to make mistakes along the way. Big, bad mistakes. I am certain they will hate me for these transgressions at some point or at many points. But something I didn't know until they were born is that one day, if they are lucky enough to have daughters of their own, much of their frustration with me will disappear — as it did for me with my own mom. Being a mother helps you understand your mother."

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The Day to Day: Girl Life

"The social terrain gets rough early.

My daughter is in second grade and experiencing social strife — namely, her beloved BFF wants some space and broke up with her in a note," Chicago mother of two Christie O. Tate (no relation) told TODAY Parents. "It's a heartbreaking situation for my kid, but every time I talk about it with other mothers, we revert to the single available narrative: how mean girls are. I didn't realize it was our ONLY explanation for the complex social navigation our daughters do in these young years."


Though girls can be mean to each other, that doesn't always make them "mean girls," Tate said. "The other girl isn't a mean girl — she's trying to get some space. We need more narratives for the great emotional and social work our girls are doing."

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"Treat Yourself: You are allowed to take a break once in a while even if it’s for just 30 minutes. Go take a nice long shower, eat your meal in one sitting or get a manicure/pedicure that you so badly need. If the mommy is happy, everyone is happy.
This could be an endless list and I could do add 100 more things I wish I knew. But it’s a joyous journey discovering new things too and it’s absolutely fine to be surprised by your motherhood experiences."

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Trupti Gupe Ram

 

 

The Parenting Journey

"There will be moments when you feel like you have let yourself or your children down. Nobody is the perfect parent, nobody gets it right 100% of the time."

- Submitted by Nellie Gillis (Buzzfeed)

 

“Don't be afraid to reach out for help, you’re not alone.”

- Submitted by Jenn Theriault (Buzzfeed)

 

"You need good people around you.

You do not know everything about parenting, but thankfully, asking questions and getting help is not a crime. Perhaps, some of your relationships will drift apart as you have a new lifestyle, but remember that it is about quality, not quantity. Make sure to surround yourself with people that will encourage and supports your current season. It could be your own parents, siblings, relatives, friends or an older couple you look up to.

As you ask for help and questions, see to it that you are not looking for it in the wrong places. Listen to their guidance, but be a filter of these pieces of advice and not a sponge."

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Casey Bunn mom & creator of Handsocks

 

Forever Changed

"No matter how exhausted you are, or how desperately you need a little time to yourself, there is no other job in the world as awesome and rewarding as being a mom."

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"You Will Never Be the Same. Parenting changes you. I expected this, but I didn’t expect just how radically it would. It’s not like you turn into your mom or dad overnight, but your values, perspective, and habits get realigned to one single creature: your child (or your children, if you have more than one)."

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What you say?

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What in this round-up resonates with you? Did we miss an important warning to future parents of girls? Please share in the comments! We’d also love to read your response to the all-important question: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before having a daughter? If you haven’t welcomed your daughter yet, what’s the biggest question in your mind before getting started? We so appreciate your continued input on this important topic because it helps to shape the future of the Gutsy Girl Club content. We’re here to serve your interests; we’re building this resource together. We look forward to connecting with you in the comments below!

 

Raising a Girl Made Easy, Click here to get all our posts.

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What's the one thing?

by Heather Freeman, click here to get all our posts.

Raising a girl is full of surprises.

No matter how many books, parenting forums, and Dr. Sears articles you read, nothing can completely prepare you for becoming a parent. Am I right? 

So. If you could go back to before your daughter was born and tell yourself what you didn’t know you would experience, what would you say?

Would you warn yourself off, or encourage yourself forward? We at the Gutsy Girl Club want to know, so, we’re asking parents like you from across the country one simple question:

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a mom?
Shoot me an email (heather@gutsygirlclub.com).
Let me know.

Oh boy, I can’t wait to hear what juicy advice you have!

- Heather

p.s. Interested in hearing what others have to say??? SUBSCRIBE and receive a rundown of some of the most common responses I've gotten. I think you'll be surprised.

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Gutsy Girl Forecast: 2018

by Heather Freeman, click here to get all our posts.

Hope this year is off to a great start for you.

Can you believe February is just around the corner?! Yikes, time is flying.

After a bit of down time, reflection, and visioning for the future, we've hit the ground running again and one of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend together with the Gutsy Girl Club is worthwhile.

We built the Gutsy Girl Club to help people build connection and bring girls closer together with who they are and the people in their lives that love them. That's why we've always put mothers and daughters at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationship to one another improves our confidence and ability to form meaningful and long-lasting relationships.

But recently we've gotten feedback from our community that life – every day challenges with stress, self-doubt, bombarding of negative news, and political discord, ---- are getting in the way of the personal moments that enable us to connect deeply with our girls.

It's easy to understand how we got here. The challenges we face have intensified significantly over the past year. Since there’s more negative news than positive, the focus of tucking our girls in at night has shifted away from the most important thing our relationship can do --- help her connect with her best self.

We feel a responsibility to make sure our programs aren’t just fun to read about, but also good for people's souls. So, we've studied this issue carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.

The research shows that when we use time together to connect with the girls we care about, it can be good for everyone’s well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with increased levels of confidence and long-term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos -- even if they're inspiring or informative -- may not be as helpful.

Based on this, we're making a major shift with how we grow the Gutsy Girl Club. I'm changing the goal of our club from focusing on helping give you relevant content to helping you enjoy more meaningful time together.

We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take a little bit for this new focus take shape and make its way to you. The first changes you'll see will be in the weekly Raising a Girl Made Easy email, where you can expect to see more opportunities to take action.

As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts on our Facebook Page. And the public content you see more will be held within a more intimate conversational space -- it should encourage meaningful connections between girls and their mentors.

For example, there are many experts studying the dynamics of relationships, especially the mother daughter relationship. We've seen people take way more action around tutorials than informative posts. Some posts help start conversations on important issues. But too often today, reading is just a passive experience.

I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the way people interact with the Gutsy Girl Club will change. But I also expect the way you do engage with the Gutsy Girl Club will be more valuable. And if we do this right, I believe that will be good for our community and our girls over the long term too.

At its best, the Gutsy Girl Club has always been about the personal connection – with self. By focusing on bringing out more of a girl’s identity -- whether it's her strengths, her values, or her beliefs about important issue in her life, -- we can help make sure that the Gutsy Girl Club creates a meaningful impact.

All my best,

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The Gutsy Girl Club, founder
www.GutsyGirlClub.com

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Helping her get through a tough situation is so much easier if you do this

by Heather Freeman, click here to get all our posts.

My daughter Bailey was nine when the Gutsy Girl Club got its start. She's now a freshman in high school.

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Right?

After a beautifully relaxing, fun, and eventful 2-week holiday break together, this week she's diving into her first round of high school class finals.

She has an incredible work ethic (like her dad), but at the same time she can sometimes get herself way stressed out....which puts her dad and I into overdrive for instilling a sense of reality in order to tether her back to earth.

One thing I've noticed over the years is that as much as it helps to tell her she can get through whatever is in front of her, it's never enough - she's got to believe it for herself.

So, last night I encouraged her to write in her journal. Following is the prompt I gave her.

  • Write a message to yourself.
  • First, imagine what it's going to look and feel like when it's Friday and you've completed this week of finals.
  • Then write it down. Describe it.
  • And.... if you feel moved, draw a picture of yourself. Maybe you'll be jumping for joy, maybe you'll be giving a friend a high-five. Whatever it is - put it down in your journal.

She headed to her room, opened her journal, and did the exercise.

When I asked her how she felt afterwards, she said she felt positive about the first day and could see herself getting through the week.

(YES!)

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A win, for sure.

She got up in the morning looking perky and well-rested (very different from the grumpster who has reared her head in the past).

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Of course, I couldn't resist. I still tucked a word of mama encouragement into her bag before she left for school. :)


She matters and the way she shows up in the world matters.

Help her see how she has it within her to face anything. Give her the wings to fly.

All my best,

Heather

 

 

GRAB YOUR FREE COPY OF THE CONFIDENT GIRL GUIDE ROADMAP

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