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To my daughter—I wish you confidence, courage + kindness

How do you teach confidence and courage? One day at a time. 

To my daughter—I wish you confidence, courage + kindness
?: Eva Grace Photography

I was 20 weeks pregnant when I found out I was having a girl. It came as a shock; I was sure the baby was a boy.


It wasn’t until later, after my daughter Sawyer was born, that I started to think about what it really meant to raise a girl. What did I wish for her? What was I afraid of? What were the challenges she would face simply because she was a girl?

And the biggest question of all: What was my part in it?

A lot of my thoughts went to my own upbringing. I was lucky, I think. I was surrounded by love and support in a way that, looking back, enabled me to flourish into the person I am today. My parents divorced when I was four, but their love, given apart, taught me about kindness, humility, strength, and confidence. I was secure in the knowledge that I had a foundation, people I could count on, and a home within their hearts.

Last week I was up at an ungodly hour, tossing and turning in bed. You know that feeling? When you are subconsciously working something out, just at the edges of your mind, and you can’t quite get a hold of it? It was like that, all nervous energy and thumping heart. Eventually it solidified.

Sawyer, my little baby, was a girl. And that she was going to grow into a woman.

The ramifications momentarily blindsided me. What does it mean to be a girl in today’s world?

Growing up girl means insane pressure to be beautiful, thin, and endlessly “cool” on social media. It means that she will be met with inequality in the workplace, face the risk of sexual and physical assault, and have to work harder than men for recognition in academia.

It’s not all bad. She may also be a mother herself one day, if she chooses. She may be an engineer or a poet or a doctor or a dancer. So much opportunity if only she can gain the confidence to reach out and grab it. If only I, as a mother, ensure she’s given the opportunities she deserves. That all girls deserve.

What a gift. What a beautiful responsibility I, along with my husband, had been given.

Since then, I’ve made a conscious effort to meditate on how I want to raise this girl, this reflection of her father and myself.

In that time I’ve realized three things that I want for her—

1. I want her to have the spirit of an explorer

Confidence is built one day, one moment at a time.

I want my girl to have the self-assurance to explore if she wants to, to have adventures if the mood takes her, but also to relax. To me, having a spirit of exploration is about listening to your inner voice. It’s about honoring your curiosity, and seeing things through to the end. But it’s also about kicking back after hard work, and letting yourself unwind, guilt-free.

What does this mean day-to-day? It means taking risks. As a parent, this is hard. It’s an instinct to cover our babies in bubble wrap next to a warm heater so they never get hurt or feel the slightest touch of cold. It’s hard to let our kids feel uncomfortable. But it’s essential.

Teaching our kids to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable will help them tap into their own sense of adventure. It won’t limit them experiences they might have had if only they’d had the pluck to say, “Yes!”. It’ll mold them into people who try new things, talk to new people, and persist when the going gets tough.

Having the spirit of an explorer will serve her when being a girl means getting creative and making the life you dream of, no matter what obstacles this world may place in her way.

Adventure has been at the core of who I am, and who I’ve tried to continue to be as a mother. So, for me, passing this sense of adventure on is akin to passing happiness on.

2. Have courage, and be kind

This one I stole from the live-action Cinderella movie.

Being courageous doesn’t mean that you’re not afraid. Quite the opposite. Having courage means being afraid, but facing your fears anyways. It takes thought and effort, and will challenge you.

I wish for my daughter to face her fears head on, and conquer them.

In practice, this is comforting her after she takes a fall, then encouraging her to try again. This practice will build self-assurance, and a willingness to take risks, even in a world where everyone is watching on social media.

Note to self, start doing things that scare me more often. Isn’t that the greatest thing about having kids? As we ponder how to be the best parents we can be, and how to foster the attributes we deem positive in our children’s lives, it reminds us to work on those same attributes in our own lives. Who knew little humans could teach us so much?

Of equal, or perhaps even greater value, is kindness. This world teaches us a “me-first” attitude. It rewards those who take for themselves, those who lie and those who draw outside the lines of ethics. Not always, but a LOT.

I wish for my daughter to make the kind decision. The decision that spares hearts, or encourages the downtrodden. I want her to think of others before herself. I still want her to think of herself - there’s no doormat training happening here - but I want it to be in the context of the people and the world around her.

Have courage, and be kind.

3. Above all, LOVE.

Through it all, I want my daughter to remember LOVE. I want her to feel surrounded by it, embraced by it, buoyed up by it. I want to make her feel like she can take on the world. This scary world with its bullies and bashers and beasts: I want it to fade into the background. I want her to see the beauty in it, in the small things, in the big things, and in the quiet things no one else notices.

I want the love she feels to move her to love also. Not just those immediate to her, not just us, her family and friends. I want her overflowing cup of love to give her the energy to love others, to love the planet, to love art and literature and science.

I want her to remember feeling loved. I want it to be familiar, like the beating of her own heart. That want is so strong in me as a mother; it drives every decision I make.

Many of these things would be equally important had I had a boy, instead of the sweet girl that sits in front of me.

But somehow these three, these small pieces of how I want her to see the world, loom big and important in my heart these days for this baby who is growing up girl.

Haley Campbell is the founder of Beluga Baby and creator of the ultimate bamboo baby carrier. She is a regular contributor to Motherly and is an avid advocate for entrepreneurs, and for the new generation of mothers making the world their own.

We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!


A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.

$239.99

A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.

$219.99

A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.

$379.99

A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.

$29.99

A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.

$99.99

A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.

$15.99

A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.

$79.99

A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.

$99.99

An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.

$24.99

A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.

$59.99

And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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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.

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