A Letter to my Daughter on her Second Birthday: Embrace the Bossy

Natalie Aurora,

This past week you moved on up to the toddler room at your new CDC. As your father and I went to pick you up, we spoke to your caregiver to see how the day went. Quickly, the caregiver you had spent 8 hours with noted your bossiness and stubbornness.

Apparently, you went around the room telling kids “no, no, no” to get down from the table and when you were done playing with Play-Doh, apparently it was time for everyone else to be done as well—“all done Play-Doh... put away”.

Your father and I chuckled, not surprised that your sometimes bossy mom and stubborn dad created a child with those very same traits. We thought nothing of it, but then the very next day, your teacher commented on it again.

"She wants to be the teacher in the class," she said.

This time, you wanted to dictate the schedule/activity, and if they veered away, you weren't pleased. In your defense, you were just used to how things ran in your last class.

Your first worldly lesson--things are always changing, and you will have to adapt.

All of the comments were made in a light-hearted manner, and again, we laughed it off, but dearest child I thought long and hard about your bossiness.

Baby girl, your momma might be a leader/boss, but that has come with its trials. I've had to fight to find the delicate balance between a leader and being someone "bossy." You are way too young to understand it now, but eventually, you will.

Those traits you exhibit are wonderful traits, but they will need to be crafted and refined. As they say, your greatest strengths will also be your greatest weaknesses. You will have to work hard to ensure your good intentions aren't missed because people think you're just a bossy woman. Unfortunately, that's the world we currently live in.

I pray it will be different when you're older, but I don't necessarily believe a cultural shift will happen that quickly. Your male counterparts will embrace their "bossiness." They will be called leaders very early on, and their assertiveness will be seen as a very manly and positive trait. Unfortunately, the same won’t be said about you.

Instead of turning away from those traits; instead of being hesitant to call out deviations in guidance, schedules, or when your peers are doing something wrong (like climbing on tables), speak up baby girl. Don’t be shy. Your heart and mind are in the right place.

When you hold an opinion, don’t apologize unless it’s necessary, especially if it’s contrary from popular thought. You are allowed to think critically and champion your beliefs. This will get tricky, but don’t worry, your father and I will guide you.  

Keep challenging yourself. If you see that the other girls are staying behind, encourage them to come with you. They often say it’s lonely at the top, but I am here to say, it doesn’t have to be. You will go farther in life if you foster community and a support system.

This leads me to my second thought. Other girls are not your enemy. If you find that you can’t be friends with females, you need to take a hard look at yourself. We need to be the kind of women that encourage other women. That is the ONLY way you will break glass ceilings and change the world.

I know you won’t understand much of this at 2-years-old. But already, you’re being defined as too bossy, and I want you to know there is no such thing.

Charge on peanut, you will go far.

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