Menu

My daughter isn't who I expected she would be—but she is *exactly* who I needed

The daughter I dreamed of was blonde with blue eyes like ice, always in frilly dresses and dainty shoes. The daughter I have is rambunctious, mud-loving, loud and fearless.

My daughter isn't who I expected she would be—but she is *exactly* who I needed

The daughter I dreamed of was a princess, wearing pink ruffles and lace, dancing around rooms elegantly and peacefully having tea parties with her dolls. The daughter I dreamed of was blonde with blue eyes like ice, always in frilly dresses and dainty shoes.

However, the daughter I dreamed of was not the daughter I have, and that's okay.

The daughter I have is rambunctious, mud-loving, loud and fearless.

The daughter I have despises dresses and all things girly. She is forever barefoot and adorning rompers that give her the full range of motion to get in as much trouble possible.

The daughter I have has wild, brunette hair and deep blue eyes like that of a moody ocean on the cusp of a storm.

The daughter I have dances like no one's watching, headbanging like a rock star from the '90s.

The daughter I have doesn't take "no" for an answer and constantly pushes the boundaries.

The daughter I have is not the daughter I dreamed of, and that's okay.

What do you do when you realize that all you dreamed of isn't what the future holds? You look up to the skies and laugh at the universe's sense of humor. I dreamed of the daughter I thought I wanted, but I got the one I needed.

My beautiful, crazy, spontaneous little girl makes sure no two days are the same. She never fails to make me laugh until my sides hurt, her crooked, mischievous smile lights up every room. She pushes every button I have until I swear I could strangle her and then she'll stop and dance on the spot and I'm suddenly angry no longer.

My daughter toddles around the house leaving a path of destruction in her wake like that of a category-five hurricane, helping herself to the pots and pans in the cupboards, splashing in our dog's water bowl, unfolding the laundry and finally pulling all her books off the shelf into one big pile of clutter. Then she scales her slide, stands up straight, daringly letting go of the sides and lets out a scream akin to a tribal war cry. It's almost as if she is proclaiming her conquest "I came, I saw, I destroyed!"

I look around at the destruction, and part of me wants to cry but I look into those indigo eyes and see the intrepid little goddess within and I forget the mess and, like my daughter, revel in the mayhem.

It's funny how the world works and served me with precisely what I needed. My daughter showed me how to relax and rejoice in the mess of life. I no longer worry about the little stuff (or the big things, like that pile of laundry that needs folding). I've learned how to sit back and enjoy the chaos, the fleeting moments, the times that I will one day look back and miss.

So, if your child isn't the one you dreamed of, that's okay. Instead of dwelling on the what ifs and the could've beens, think of all the wondrous lessons you can learn from them. Our daughters, our punky, unruly, boisterous, daughters, have so much to offer this world. They are the future of womankind and the world better be ready, for when they come they will take it head on, guns a blazing.

Sometimes when my daughter is soaking in the mud about to put yet another bug in her mouth (yes this happens more often than I would like to admit) I think of the daughter I dreamed of—that blonde-haired, dainty princess practicing ballet while listening to Beethoven. Then I realize that I am lucky to have a daughter who is audacious and fun-filled, who will never leave a person in her life feeling dull or bored. A daughter who will take life head-on, shattering ceilings and breaking down walls.

As I sit in my rocking chair, typing this, and watching my girl splash in mud holes and crawl around the grass chasing our exasperated dog, I think about how grateful I am that I was given this little free spirit and that I get to watch her grow in all her muddy, bug-eating, wild-haired glory.

I dreamed of the daughter I thought I wanted, but I got the exact one I needed.

You might also like:

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less
Life