Pictures by Mily Cooper Photography
“I want her to be a strong woman.” That was my first thought when we found out we were having a baby girl. Isn’t it every mother’s? Our society has come a long way, but it’s still tough to be a woman sometimes. We are gently pushed into certain career paths, we hit glass ceilings, we are expected to have certain personality traits and are judged for having others.
The older Lydia gets, the more I’ve been thinking about how I can encourage her to be a strong woman.Encouraging Her to Speak Her Mind: Women are often taught to be accepting or cooperative. Teamwork and cooperation is important, but so is being able to speak up for what you want or need. How do you do this with a toddler? We’re starting simple. Encouraging Lydia to ask for what she wants, honoring her when she does, and modeling that same behavior as adults.Standing Up For Those Less Fortunate: Strong women who have made a mark in the history books? They stood up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. Whether fighting for freedom from slavery, the right to vote, or the right to work……throughout history our strongest female role models have fought for the rights of many. As a teacher in an inner-city school, I hope to model this behavior for my own daughter on a daily basis. But, how do we ask HER to do that? With the people she knows. If a friend is sad, we ask her to help. If someone needs something (as simple as a snack or a toy) we encourage her to speak up. It makes me so proud to see her starting to do this on her own!Removing Negative Descriptors for Strong Behavior: Bossy? Aggressive? The B-word? Funny how you rarely hear men being described this way, right? In our household, we are trying our best to remove these words from our vocabulary when describing behavior. Instead we are using words like strong or phrases like “thank you for trying to help, but it is ____________’s turn right now.”One of my favorite things about raising a daughter? I get to see female leaders everywhere and share them with her. Our partner Zenni Optical? They love female leaders too! They’re working to celebrate the positive impact these leaders have on our communities, and to ensure that they can be seen physically through the gift of stylish and affordable eyewear.
Zenni Optical makes beautiful, affordable glasses AND sunglasses like the ones Lydia and I are wearing in these pictures (side note, she wears these sunglasses EVERYDAY and refuses to take them off even after dark). Their curated collections allow all family members to purchase affordable prescription or non-prescription glasses with ease.
To celebrate Zenni’s vision of strong women and raising the next generation of them……we are teaming up with them today to give one of YOU a pair of glasses. Yup, even prescription ones! So mamas, what are you doing to raise the next generation of strong women?