I refuse to raise a polite girl

I will not teach my daughter that she needs to morph into a watered-down version of herself to make other people more comfortable.

polite girl

When my daughter was very little, a teacher called her sassy. "She can be a little much," she warned. "Just something to look out for."

I replied politely, "Yes, I'll look out for it." I smiled as I walked out of the room and thought, I'll look out for it. And I'll welcome and cultivate it.

Because I decided a long time ago that I refuse to raise a polite daughter.

I am a people pleaser. My daughter is not.

Where I am measured, my daughter is unrestrained.

Where I am diplomatic, my daughter is honest.

I have spent years learning how to stand my ground, speak my truth and not apologize for myself. I agonize over whether or not I said the right thing or spoke too much or revealed too much. I have spent the better part of my adult life unlearning conditioned behaviors—smile, be sweet, go along—enforced by a culture that teaches women that our value is defined by the way other people see us.

I do not want that for her.

My daughter speaks her mind. My daughter is loud. My daughter does not censor her thoughts. My daughter makes people uncomfortable with her occasionally tumultuous emotions. My daughter is perfect.

And as much as our culture thinks I should, I refuse to try to change her.

Must she be respectful? Yes. Kind? Absolutely. Polite? I'm not sure.

Because the idea of politeness goes beyond pleases and thank yous (which we do ask our children to say). For girls and women, politeness also includes ensuring that we make other people comfortable. We do this by smiling when we are angry (or quite frankly, just don't feel like smiling), by being friendly when we are annoyed, by putting others first when our own needs are screaming at us, by talking quietly when our inner voice is raging, by playing small when our ideas are huge, and hundreds of other ways our society has decided that good little girls should act.

Well, I am not raising a good little girl. I am raising a person.

A poet. A warrior. A fashion designer. A scientist. A dancer. A space-taker-upper. A change-maker. A demander of fairness.

A loud, fiery, in-your-face girl.

I will not teach my daughter that she needs to morph into a watered-down version of herself to make other people more comfortable; that the needs of other people are more important than her own. To put it plainly, other people's comfort is not her responsibility.

When she talks back to me, I won't tell her to stop; I'll teach her how to hone her argument.

When she apologizes for needing something, I'll tell her to say it again, this time louder and without the apology.

And when someone else tells me that she's sassy, I'll say, Thank you, we're trying.

So, to my loud, fiery, in-your-face girl, I know the world wants you to act a certain way. You'll grow up facing messages everywhere you turn, trying to tell you how to act, eat, dress and be on this earth.

And it's scary. To exist in a world that tells you that you, as you are, are wrong.

But you know what's scarier? You, my darling daughter. You, with all your fire and zest, are the scariest thing they've ever seen—because you, and the millions of girls just like you, are going to change the world.

And I am so proud of you.

For all the fierce little girls out there.

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Sunday Citizen

I live in the Northeast and when I woke up this morning, my house was freezing. It had been in the mid 40's overnight and we haven't turned the heat on yet. Suddenly, my normal duvet felt too thin. The socks on my bare feet too non-existent. Winter is coming, and I'd been drinking rosés still pretending it was summer.

I couldn't put it off any longer. It was time to do my annual tradition of winterizing my home—and I don't mean making sure my pipes and walls have enough insulation (though obviously that's important too). I mean the act of evaluating every room and wondering if it has enough hygge to it.

If you've never heard of hygge, it's a Danish word that means a quality of coziness or contentment. And what better time to make sure you have moments of hygge all throughout your house than right now? As far as I'm concerned it's the only way to get through these dark winter months (even more so during a pandemic.)

So I went room by room (yes, even my 4-year-old's room) and swapped in, layered or added in these 13 products to get us ready for winter:

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So, what's new this week?

Micuna: Innovative and stylish baby gear that grows with them

Since 1973, Micuna has been perfecting the art of sustainably handcrafted baby furniture. Made from wood sourced from the north of Spain and Germany and manufactured in sustainable certified sawmill companies only, their modern and minimalist high chairs are perfect for families who don't want to sacrifice their aesthetic for function. What's more, they hold themselves to the strictest of European and American safety standards, resulting in only the best for parents and their littles.

Habbi Habbi: The easiest way to expose kids to a different language

Created by two best friends as an expression of their effort to be intentional parents, Habbi Habbi Reading Wand & Bilingual Books are the easiest way to start your kids bilingual learning without the screen. Their innovative and engaging play-based tool brings language to life through a tech-enabled wand and "tappable" books that give kids instant feedback, from vocabulary and phrases to musical tunes. The content is as intentional as the books are beautiful highlighting topics like emotions, female role models and diversity.

Countdown to Mama: 14 mama-tested, mama-approved presents to get excited about a new baby

Founded by a mama who came up the idea at the end of her own uncomfortable pregnancy, Countdown to Mama is the only advent calendar-style mama-to-be gift box out there. With a range of "niceties to necessities," she made it her mission to curate a collection of mama-loved products that thoughtfully usher her through the biggest transformation of her life.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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It's 2020, but for American mothers, it's still the 1950s

Once a woman in America becomes a mother, our society transports her back in time. In an instant, generations of sexist ideas and structures descend back upon her.

We like to think that women have come so far.

We have our educations. Today, our education system not only allows girls to thrive, but it has enabled the first generation in history—Millennials—in which women are more highly educated than men.

We have choice. Access to family planning has given American women life-changing control over their fertility and the decision to start a family.

We have basic respect. Today, our marriages are built on the principle that partners are equal regardless of gender.

We have careers. It's utterly common for a woman to return to work after having a child.


We have acknowledgment. And our culture even declares that caregiving is essential work for both mothers and fathers.

We have possibilities. And all of the potential our lives as women hold now gives girls the hope that anything is possible.

But the truth is that American motherhood has the veneer of being modern, without any of the structures to support our actual lives today.

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