Friday, July 11, 2008

Do you like Dora?

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?


sarah.flyingkites said...

Thanks for the touching post...and for your open heart! It looks like you really have a good perspective on this and she hasn't even started school yet! Praise God for Moms like you!

Jami said...

I love this post Megan! Oh man - life doesn't get easier does it now?

I just looked up Paige's school online and saw some pictures of the kindergarten kids doing their activities. It actually gave me more excitement for Paige than I've felt lately. Mostly I've been sad but I'm glad for the glimpses of how great it's going to be for them.

Mya will do so great. She is such a special sweet little girl. I LOVE her and though Paige and her are not in the same school, they will be able to share their experiences always - good and bad.

Megan - I think we're going to make it. We have each other too! :)

I love you!

Anonymous said...

Megan -
I was touched by your heart and as the grandma I would love to be able to spare Mya any of the heartaches that can come with growing up and developing friendships.

It is definitely harder with the girls as their more sensitive. When Keri and Kasey went through tough times with friends, it was so hard to see them hurt. I wanted them to be accepted. But as a mom you can't protect them from all the hurts. You just have to be there for them when they come home to give them the love and reassurance that they are loved and they are the special person that God wants them to be.

You (and Mya) will make it through those times when they come because your foundation is built on God and He will give you the wisdom and the love to guide her through those times and she will grow strong because of it.

I love your heart - you're a great mom!

Mom Kaeb

Renata said...

Oh Meg, it's only just starting & it sure is difficult! If your daughters school is like the ones over here any of those backpacks would fit in (they're all very popular here!) I will be praying for you as you head into this difficult time of starting to let go - just a bit! (from a very unseasoned mum - 8 months in front of you - I understand!) By the way I just love that quote of Karen's you included! - thanks
Renata :)

Erin said...

You're awesome...and right on.

megs @ whadusay said...

Thanks for all your encouragement gals! It really means a lot.

I am starting to get more excited for Mya when I think of how much I loved school, but there are definately moments and parts of school that when I think about I start to get fearful.

Letting go is tough!

Love you gals!

Samantha @ the Listener's post said...

Hey - I don't have a lot of advice to give, but I'm there with you on many levels, even though my school-starter is a boy.

Even in preschool I watched him struggle with wanting to fit in with the "right" people. Only it made sense in his mind at first that the "right" person to get in with was the bully in the class who wouldn't pick on him if they were friends. Smart in one sense, but heartbreaking in another. Eventually we got that all straightened out, though.

And about the backpack thing? First of all, I'm jealous that you get to pick out girl stuff! Second, try finding a "cool" backpack when your school requires that they be clear or mesh...

In Him,

Kim -today's creative blog said...

Thanks for stopping by.
I do the same thing with my son and things for school. I too want him to choose what he likes for him, not others, but I guess I am afraid he wouldn't be able to handle the criticism or I fear he might be labled.......the vicious cycle of parenting. It's so hard.

Marla said...

Very sweet post, Megan. I appreciated what Patsy wrote, too. Makes me wonder what I should/could have done differently... but I believe Mya will be fine because she has you as her most devoted advocate. (As well as her extended family and church family) Just make coming home a haven for her and she will be just fine.
Love, Mom

Holly said...

Someone told me once that being a mom is really easy -- you just have to learn to wear your heart, unprotected, on the outside of your chest.

Genny said...

What a beautiful post! I feel the same way about my daughter at times. And I loved hearing about your perspective change as a freshman...that is young to have such a grounded, mature realization. And how true! Thanks for sharing!