My daughter, Katherine shared this with me this morning, knowing full well it would make my day. She was right.
This sage advice, from AnnaGrace’s 5 year old sister, is something I fervently believe all women would do well to strive to pass along to their female children.
“I care if I do something that’s special. I don’t want to marry someone if I don’t have a job first.”
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a flag-waving, bra burning statement about women’s rights – although I’m certainly an advocate. It’s more a message to women – and a message about empowerment, self-confidence and believing in yourself.
All too often, women define themselves by the men they date, starting as early as high school. It’s not unusual for women to make our decisions based on what’s important to men and build our lives around them. Sometimes, we get in such a hurry to marry and live the bullshit “happily ever after” that we’re taught exists, from the very earliest moments of life, that we forget to stop and think about what really makes us happy. What we might want to do with our lives, over and above potentially having a life partner and raising a family.
In my world, the path I’ve tried to set my daughters on is pretty focused. I hope I’ve taught them (and continue to teach the little ones) that life isn’t about someone else fending for you and being responsible for your happiness and success. That getting an education and going out into the world and getting a job and endeavoring to figure out what exactly it is that you’re not only suited for, but passionate about is key. And it is, and should be, as much a part of life’s journey as going to school every day is when you’re a kid.
For the record, to my way of thinking, having a job isn’t about having money, it’s about experiencing life and finding passion. About having skills and using them, and thinking about what it is that makes you happy, fulfilled and purposeful. It’s about spending your days doing something you love – even if it takes you awhile to figure out exactly what that is.
I have a number of girlfriends who went to college, did well and graduated with no real sense of purpose, direction or passion about any kind of career path. Many of them, whether they admitted it or not, went to college and majored in Finding a Husband 101. And many of them were successful.
In many instances, many of those women went on to marry well and live lives of affluence, fueled mostly by the career successes of their husbands. They have beautiful homes and perfectly mannered children. They drive nice cars and have every material possession they could ever want. And yet they often yearn for more.
As is all too common, at some point, each of those women that I know have found themselves adrift. Wondering about purpose, yearning to do something and to feel connected to some kind of career. Some of those women find themselves divorced or widowed and without any skills or ability to support themselves and totally and stranded in life – completely dependent on others.
This video resonated with me so much, as Katherine knew it would, for a variety of different reasons. But most importantly, because she knows that I really feel passionately about what this little girl is saying.
Being a wife and mom is wonderful. And there’s no rule that being a great wife and mom and having a career are mutually exclusive – no matter who tells you differently. But empowering yourself, and your daughters, from the earliest of ages, to understand how important it is to value yourself, learn skills, have a career path and resolve to do whatever it takes to do what you’re passion about – that’s what matters. Men will come – or they’ll go – but only you will look out for you. That’s just good, common sense. And getting a job is just part of that equation.
In fact, I might even go so far as to call it the best Life Insurance Policy you could ever have. What say you?