This isn't the column I was planning on writing this week, I was going to write something smart and sassy about the rise of the girl's girl in pop culture (yeah the girls).
But, I've been home with a kid with gastro, and it's left a lot of time for thinking.
How on earth do you raise an emotionally intelligent girl in today's society?
I was a sensitive kid and teen, perhaps this is why I feel so protective of my three-and-a-half year-old's feelings.
But every time I log onto social media I'm given advice on how to make my little one "more independent" or how to "support them through a tantrum" or "give them space to self-regulate".
It is exhausting and the advice is loud.
When I first became a mother I really struggled with the lack of sleep. I've always been a "healthy sleeper" (ie could fall asleep in minutes and sleep for 12 hours) and when that was rudely ripped away from me overnight I really struggled.
All those hours of settling and resettling in a rocking chair in my daughter's room was unhealthy for me. But so too was the hours of doom scrolling that seemed to go with it. I eventually worked out you can find absolutely any kind of advice you want on the internet. And co-sleeping was my family's solution anyway.
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Now, we're all finally getting some sleep, my biggest concerns centre around my daughter's emotions. More so than my son's. My little boy is very clear about what he wants and when it wants it. From what I can see, my daughter is often searching for the right answer or the answer that might please the question-asker the most.
What is that? Where did it come from? Is it built into us genetically or something I've bought out of her? I decided to do some investigating.
So, I've resolved to only listen to one (or maybe two) parenting experts. National treasure Maggie Dent, being one of them. And I'm currently listening to Girlhood on audiobook (because I am useless at reading non-fiction apparently).
To hear Maggie normalise the types of feelings little girls have been known to have, settled me, it seems.
In an extract of her book (you can read it here) she talks about accepting emotional intensity.
"One of the things that we do need to accept as the parent of a girl is that emotional intensity is quite normal and not a sign that there is something wrong with your little girl, or something wrong with your parenting," she said.
Maggie suggests parents support their girl to identify her feelings, to help her understand her own unique strengths challenges and needs and to communicate with their children respectfully.
This hints and tips don't sound outrageous to me. In fact I quite like the respectful environment they promote. But it is hard to remember to identify feelings in the middle of a showdown about putting shoes on.
My challenge of raising my emotionally intelligent and confident (albeit sensitive) little girl will remain I have no doubt. Just when I get a handle on this parenting thing, it seems that a huge developmental shift comes along and it all changes.
But I am excited about raising a little girl in an era where the girl's girl is trendy, thanks for that Taylor Swift!
I appreciate how busy you are, filter out the time wasting content with...
This week I suggest Sally Hepworth's Darling Girls. I am a Sally Hepworth stan, I'll grab anything of hers I can get my hands on. But this one has been my favourite so far, I'm still thinking about it a week after I finished it.