Seven promises to my future daughter (who is currently nonexistent)
1. I promise not to use you as an extension of my vanity.
I will never push you to pursue my interests. When you’re a baby, I will not dress you as a mini me. As you grow older, the way you cut your hair is your decision. I will not constantly insist that it looked better long if it’s short or short if it’s long. If you aren’t super girly like me, I will not harass you to wear more makeup or own more pink clothes.
2. I promise to laud your accomplishments, big and small.
This isn’t limited to grades, standardized test scores, the number of soccer goals scored, or perfectly played piano pieces. Not all achievements are quantifiable. I will be as proud of you when you’ve mastered potty training as when you can make and stick to a budget (which you’ll learn from your dad).
3. I promise to be there for you, if you need nonjudgmental and unbiased advice.
Unless you are in a situation that is exactly the same as one I had experienced, I will never dispense advice based on what I would do. I will remove my worldview lens in order to help you decide what’s best in your circumstances. I will never project the outcome I want onto you as what you want.
4. I promise to respect that your career choices are just that — yours.
I will support those choices so long as you’re happy, healthy, and self-sustaining. If you never want to work a corporate job, that’s your prerogative. I will never think I’ve failed as a parent if you don’t want to work in an office, if you’re innovative and can do what you enjoy for work.
5. I promise to be an example of how to be in a loving, committed relationship.
You will never question whether you’re genetically wired to love and to be loved, for fear that extreme dysfunction is hereditary. You will never wonder if your parents were together for your sake, or because they wanted to be. You will see what a relationship rooted in reciprocated affection, respect, and values looks like.
6. I promise that while I may not be your friend, I will always be your mom.
I will never overstep boundaries and pry for details about your life, only to criticize you later. I will take for granted that in college, you’ll party (and probably have sex, much to your dad’s dismay), but you should talk to your friends about those events. In turn, I will never rely on you to solve my problems; I will always confide in your dad and my friends, so you will never have to worry about those things.
7. Most of all, I promise to love you at every stage of your life.
As a tiny baby, as little girl, and as the young woman you grow up to be. I will never make you feel guilty for leaving the nest (though you are always welcome to visit). I will never psychologically beat you down so that you doubt the strength of your wings. Instead, I will look forward to our dynamic changing as you get older. I will never treat you as your grandmother treated me.