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"___ like a girl"

___ like a girl.

I love this shirt from Daring Girls, which my 6-year old daughter proudly wears.

This summer, we’ve been spending a lot of time talking about what it means to do things “like a girl.” We’ve had many moments of:

Biking like a girl.

Being loud like a girl.

Getting messy like a girl.

Laughing like a girl.

Hiking like a girl.

Persevering like a girl.

But the thing we’re not focused on? Being “perfect” like a girl.

From an early age, girls receive so many messages about how we’re supposed to behave. We absorb what it means to be a “perfect girl” and reflect that back to the world.

These expectations become so ingrained that I've caught myself inadvertently communicating the same unrealistic standards to my daughter, without even realizing it. Encouraging her to be quieter, cleaner, and behave according to a script others have defined for her.

It’s uncomfortable to intentionally challenge my own perfectionist standards – and even more uncomfortable to encourage my daughter to do the same. After all, having a child who behaves according to “perfect girl” standards would make my parenting job a whole lot easier.

But it’s precisely this discomfort that creates the space for my daughter to engage in the messy, beautiful, imperfect process that is figuring out who SHE wants to be. To “__ like a girl” in the way she defines it.

This week, my invitation to you is to identify where those “perfect girl” standards may be holding you back, experimenting with what it feels like to “__ like a girl” on your own terms.

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