MomViews: Women Who Support Other Women
Having a strong support system is one of the key ways to success. Some women find that support in each other, while others may never overcome their competitive ways. If done right, competition can be a good thing. In this MomViews segment, Sarah Joan from Just Simply Sarah discusses her experience with raising three girls in a world where positive female relationships aren’t always seen every day.
MomViews: In life, you come across many different people. Some are willing to accept you for who you are, while others will find something about you that they don’t like. How have you been able to see beyond the differences in them?
Sarah Joan: It’s funny how when you are younger all you want to do is fit in. You tend to be afraid that your differences will set you apart in a negative way, and that you must hide them to fit into what others want. It took growth and discovery through my early twenties to realize that differences and diversity among us are what make people interesting. It was ok to be different and I had to learn to be comfortable and celebrate not only the differences in others but the differences in myself. One thing that I have learned is that you cannot change people. They will be who they are, even if you do not agree with it. So you need to accept someone for their differences and love all of them, flaws and all.
MV: You mentioned in your blog how you’re a firm believer that life is better when it’s shared with others, and I agree. Are there certain things you won’t share on your blog because it may be misunderstood by another mom?
SJ: That is a good question. Out of respect for my daughters and husband, there are certain things that I will not share with readers. I have to remember that my daughters won’t always be little, and what I put out there for the world to see never goes away. When I write, I always think “will my daughters be upset by this someday?” and if so, I omit it. Motherhood and marriage can be hard, and it’s definitely not all glamorous, but I do believe some things should be kept within the privacy of your family. Besides, I much rather focus on the great and positive things we are experiencing and celebrate that. In my blog, I pride myself on being honest, but I also am careful not to use it as an outlet to vent.
MV: As a mother of three beautiful girls, how important is it for you to help them understand that you can have positive relationships with other women?
SJ: This is huge for me. I am a high school teacher, and I see firsthand the destruction that girls place upon each other when they look at each other as competition, versus being on the same team. Women today already have so much working against them in this world, we need to promote and protect each other. We have to realize that when other women have accomplishments, it’s not anything against me. We should be a community, not competition. We are a sisterhood, that only we can understand.
I see the cycle of competition forming in my own little girls. I hear comments like “my dress is the prettiest” or feel sad if a friend got a toy that they wanted. It’s not always easy, but I remind them that it’s not a competition. They are both so beautiful and that we need to feel happy for others. I feel that positivity and learning to be happy for others is a skill that needs to be taught, As a parent, it’s hard teaching those lessons, especially when society is filled with competition, but I’m hoping someday it will pay off.
MV: What role does your husband play in helping your little ones have a good self-image?
SJ: My husband is great with our daughters. He is always building them up with compliments about how nice they look and how smart they are. He really encourages them to go out and be active. He shows them how to work with their hands and not to be afraid to get dirty, Its important to us that they learn the skills to be independent.
MV: What tips can you offer other moms who want to raise confident and positive little girls?
SJ: The biggest piece of advice that I can give is that you need to lead by example. Our daughters’ little eyes are constantly watching us and how we treat others. We have to be confident in ourselves and give them good examples of female relationships. It’s not always easy, but we need to be the women that we want our daughter to become.
Join me next week for another segment of MomViews, insights from moms like you.