How does a girl become a woman?
Girls Journeying towards Womanhood
Her first five years
At first your daughter doesn’t even know that she’s separate from you. Her understanding of what it means to be a woman comes largely from observing you and she learns by copying you. You show her how to take care of herself, not only in the way that you nurture her but also in the way that you cherish yourself.
A Mother’s Moment
Make five minutes each day just to be with her. You may already spend hours every day with her but this has a different intentional quality. Spend five minutes just sitting beside her and watching her, really watching her. Pay really good attention to her. Nothing more. Look at her face, her eyes, the way she holds herself, the way she moves, the way she talks. Smile at her if she looks at you.
Her pre-teen years
One minute your daughter is playing with her dollies and the next she’s wanting to borrow your eyeliner. Suddenly your little girl is dressing like a teenager and she’s worried that she’s fat. Her girl friends seem to have so much influence over what she wants.
Your daughter’s probably beginning to spend more time away from you and with her friends. Perhaps this coincides with you spending more time away from home too.
Introducing Girls Together Time
Through her teens
- You love aspects of watching your daughter grow up but you worry that it’s happening too fast
- You feel she takes too much notice of her friends’ opinions
- Something’s troubling her but she won’t tell you what
- You found your adolescence painful and you want hers to be easier
- You want to make her feel special when she starts menstruating but you don’t want to embarrass her
- Every morning you promise yourself that you won’t lock horns with your daughter but still you do
- Sometimes you feel like you’re losing her
Monthly Moment Together
Make it an unquestioned commitment that you will honour…
- whatever the emotional climate, however things are between you
- when the last thing you feel like doing is spending time together
- even if she has behaved badly and you feel she doesn’t deserve it
- even when you’ve already spent lots of time together that month
- even when life feels so busy that to find time seems impossible
Make it coincide with her monthlies
Message to mentors
Her late teens and into her twenties
- Your daughter is ever more her own person now
- Most or all of her life is lived away from your home
- She has a family of friends and colleagues who populate her life
- She gives you glimpses of the woman she is becoming…
- … and flashbacks to the child she was, and sometimes still is
- She needs you, and she doesn’t
- She wants your opinion, and she doesn’t
- She seems so sure of herself, and then she doesn’t
- You know that you need to trust her to make her own decisions now, but sometimes you can’t quite
- You know it’s natural that she make her life her own, but that leads you to feel like you’re losing her