Yesterday Mya got to pick out her backpack and lunchbox for school. It was a big day.
But as she was looking at the bags some thoughts started to cram their way into my brain.
She immediately saw the Dora backpack and said "That is the one I want."
I thought, "But what if the other girls think Dora is too babyish?"
Then she saw a Princess backpack and changed her mind.
I thought "Will the 'popular' girls like the princess backpack too? Will this help her fit in?"
She finally settled on a Hello Kitty backpack and a Strawberry Shortcake lunch box (the addition of a drink container was a heavy influencer in the lunch bag decision).
I thought "Did I influence her decision by my comments or lack thereof? Is this the one SHE really wants or am I imposing my preferences on her?"
Yikes! School hasn't even started and I'm already stressing out.
The thing is I don't want my daughter to be swayed by the crowd. I don't want her to worry about fitting in with the popular girls. I want her to make decisions based on what she likes and not what other people like.
However, as those thoughts bombarded me in the store I realized that I do want her to fit in. And a part of me wanted to "help" her make a decision based on what I perceived would be the most popular choice - since I know so much about kindergarten aged girls :). And all those feelings I had in school of wanting to be in the "popular" crowd came rushing back to me. It wasn't pretty.
I always wanted to fit in with the cool kids in school. Jr. High and my freshman year of high school were tough years. But then something miraculous happened. I became a Christian and suddenly I didn't care so much about what the other kids thought. I knew my life had worth regardless of which kids I hung out with. It was very freeing.
Not to say I don't continue to struggle with those insecurities and wanting to belong on some level. Some days are worse than others, but as a whole I like who God created me to be.
And I love who God created my daughter to be. I want her to get her worth from her Heavenly Father and not others. As Karen Ehman stated at She Speaks, "It is always best to be an original version of yourself than a cheap imitation of someone else." I want my daughter to live this. I want to live this.
I think the reason I want her to "fit in" is because I don't want her to be hurt. But getting hurt is inevitable (especially where young girls are involved). And honestly, how we react to "getting hurt" is what shapes us and develops character. It helps us be more compassionate. Which is another character trait I want my daughter to have. I am starting to realize how hard the job of mom is when it involves witnessing the "getting hurt" in your child's life.
I just hope that as her mom I can be a good example. That I won't let my fear of her getting hurt prevent me from encouraging her to be who God created her to be no matter what. That I can back her up and be a haven when the inevitable happens at school.
Double Yikes, this is a tough job and we've only bought the backpack!
Any advice from you seasoned moms out there?