My daughter was born bold, confident, and strong-willed. She came into this world five days late and after 50 hours of labor. From the second she was born, she wanted the world to know. Since that magical moment, she has allowed her confidence to continue to soar — and I don't dare get in her way.
You see, my daughter is one of those few people who genuinely does not give a rat's behind about what other people think. At age 5, she doesn't walk — she struts. She easily strikes up conversations with adults of all backgrounds and ages. She befriends little toddlers and tweens alike. She doesn't hesitate because she does the one thing we all wish we could do on a daily basis: trust herself. This over-the-top self-esteem first began with my daughter's wardrobe choices and has continued ever since she was a tiny 1-year-old.
Today, you can often find my daughter pairing her favorite leopard leggings with a pink tie-dyed dress. If it's cold, she throws her faux-fur leopard coat on top to perfect the outfit. She often resembles Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians. And you know what? She holds even more confidence than the animated character, too. How else would you explain her insistence, and I really mean insistence, to wear a nightgown to school?
"Honey," I said. "That is a nightgown. You can't wear pajamas to school."
My daughter rooted her feet into the ground. "Mommy," she said. "This is a dress, and I'm wearing it to school."
"Ok," I said. "Wear whatever you want."
The very second we walked into her school, one of her friends asked, "Why are you wearing pajamas to school? It's not pajama day." My daughter looked this little girl in the eyes with her pigtails held as firm as her beliefs. "This is a dress," she stated boldly. "I am wearing a dress." From then on, I started looking at her confidence a little differently. Now, I strive to mimic it.
I'm starting to see the value and importance in listening to yourself and making your own path. My daughter, with her style choices and everything she does, simply proves that she trusts herself, and following her lead, I'm starting to do this more and more.
For starters, I apologize less. I won't say, "I'm sorry" for my children acting like children, for a messy house, or for being an opinionated woman. My daughter has taught me that it's OK to speak my mind and let others know it. If people don't agree with what I have to say, then they simply don't have to listen.
I never thought I'd learn anything from my tiny child at such a young age. I'm grateful that she was born with such confidence. As her mother, I will do my best to let it continue to blossom by listening to her desires and opinions, because that's something I wish for all little girls and women everywhere. They are the next generation, after all.