An Open Letter To My Daughters
Dear Andi and Ensley,
It is not ok to tear other women down to lift yourselves up, not now, not ever. Just because you observe it all around you and it is accepted as the norm does not make it ok. Despite the progress, other courageous women have made on our behalf; people still believe it is acceptable to mistreat, berate, publicly humiliate and shame women. Not you, you are better than that.
You will do your part to affect the positive changes that will get yourselves and your sisters into 50% of positions of leadership and influence. People will try to tell you or make you feel like you are not enough. I assure you, you are more than enough. They will cast doubt in your mind in your abilities to lead and make decisions in the best interest of others. Be aware that their behavior stems from their insecurities, not your inability.
Never feel like you have to prove yourself or your worth to anyone. I did not learn this early enough, and I wasted a lot of energy trying to make others aware of my skills, accomplishments, and experience only to be treated as if I was an arrogant braggart. In some circumstances, you’ll be damned if you do, damned if you don’t. May you always have the discernment to know when it is worth your energy, when to have the courage and stand up for what you believe, and when to walk away and pray for those that try to bring you down.
Have a grateful heart and always look for the positive because there is ALWAYS a positive perspective to be found. Whenever possible, be the change you want to see and demand the respect you deserve, even if it causes you to cry in public in the process. Develop routines and habits that strengthen your mind, body, and soul so that you can walk through adversity with grace and gratitude every time.
When your sister violates the unspoken code and contributes to the culture that holds women back, gently pull her aside and quietly teach her. For us to make bigger strides towards gender equality, we must have the clarity and courage to advocate on our behalves and behalf of our sisters. I will continue to raise awareness and influence change every chance I get, but we still have a long way to go.
In the meantime, be smart and avoid situations that don’t serve you and drain you of energy. In contrast, serve others every chance you get for you will find joy in doing so. Lastly, have fun and laugh. If you find yourself somewhere that discourages you from doing so, you’re in the wrong place. Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself from the table when love is not being served there.
Mychelle is the founder of Building Strong Moms which provides personal and professional development services to working mothers. She is also an author and professional speaker advocating for more resources and opportunities for working mothers.