Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Capable, Confident Daughters

My daughter and I have similar upbringings. We went to virtually the same type of grade school – small, parochial. We went to the same type of high school – small, Catholic, all-girl. (We have yet to see whether she’ll follow my path in college.)

Anyway, when I was in high school, in the mid-70s, (practically the middle ages), girls sure seemed different. Of course fashion was different, although I can’t help feel like we’re going through a bit of fashion déjà vu recently.

What I’m really getting at is that girls today are incredibly confident. I mean CONFIDENT. In fact, even for this middle-aged mom, they’re a little bit intimidating.

This past weekend, my sister and I went to my daughter’s school to watch her in the high school musical. As we sat in the theater, we watched the parade of girls march by, chatting and giggling. We both remarked how these high school girls look and sound so…old compared to when we were in school.

I know they’re not. They still can’t get up in the morning and they whine when they don’t like dinner and forget where they put their gym uniform and they burst into tears at the smallest things. But, at least on the outside, they seem so sure of themselves. Maybe it’s a façade, but I don’t remember looking or feeling that way AT ALL back in 1975.

Back then, I wasn’t even a dork. To me, the dorks were the kids who were smart and cared little about their appearance. But at least they had an agenda and a purpose.

No, I was sub-dork. I was so unbelievably unsure of myself that I could have easily ended up with the worst of the worst, in terms of friends. Thankfully, I didn’t, but I think it was only good fortune that I got out of there alive.

First of all there was hair. Since the beginning of time, hair has been such a huge part of a teenage girl's identity. I was in high school when curling irons were just barely invented. (Pre-internet, post-horse and buggy.) Nevertheless, they didn’t help me. I had ZERO clue how to make my hair look attractive. My hairstyling skills consisted of washing my hair. That’s it. That’s the list.

Today, girls have GREAT hair. They all seem to know how to make it look GREAT…all the time. Even when it’s unstyled and casually tossed up into a ponytail, it looks amazingly GREAT. How did they figure that out? Is it something in the water? No, I know! It’s programmed into their brain via the cell phones that are always stuck to their ears!

And their skin – it seems flawless. Sure, a few have acne, but nothing like the acne I had. Dermatology must have made leaps and bounds in the last 30+ years because I’m not seeing girls that were as splotchy and self-conscious as I used to be.

But the biggest difference is the way they talk to boys. First of all, they actually talk to them. I think I can recall a total of ten conversations I had with boys back in high school. And no, not because we didn’t have boys at our school. It was because I had no idea what to say. I had no concept of how to talk to boys – how to be friends with boys. To me, they were a different species and the conversations I had with my girl friends would never be of interest to guys. And even when I tried to talk to boys, I did it so badly and so AWKWARDLY, that it had disaster written all over it from the word go.

The best part is that girls today don’t feel like they have to have a boyfriend to be cool. When I was in high school, that was not the case. Finding a boy to like and to like us was a mission…an obsession. It’s one of my few regrets in life – that I wasted precious time on that. My saving grace was the fact that I developed lifelong friendships that I still treasure today.

In any case, I’m glad to see that things have changed. I’m happy that my daughter and her friends are capable and confident and possess way more self-esteem than I had back in high school. The important thing to know is that even though the girls of today look great, they feel even better about themselves on the inside. And for that, their moms are very, very thankful.


At 7:51 PM , Blogger kenju said...

I could have written this, except I could take to boys easier than I could talk to other girls...LOL
I had no confidence whatsoever back then. I look at photos taken of me back then and I wonder why I couldn't see that I was attractive enough and I had no reason to lack confidence at all. But I did. Luckily, my girls are like yours and sometimes the way they carry themselves makes me so proud I almost burst!

At 8:01 AM , Blogger Manic Mom said...

I feel the same way. I was so scared of boys back then, so afraid to talk to them, and I look at girls today and they are like, powerful, and unafraid! How did they get this way!!! And will Diva be this way!?!? They are assertive, and strong! And that's a good thing! Right? right! Great post!

At 9:48 AM , Anonymous diana said...

Just had to leave my two cents worth here. I too have a daughter who just turned 20 and is so completely in tuned to the world around and not as naive as I was at her age. She attended a Catholic grade school and a Catholic high school and now is in her 2nd year at Marquette University. We live in Milwaukee also. Life is so much more intense than my growing-up years. The Millennial's will one day be labeled the greatest generation also. I believe that. Anywho, just wanted to chime in here.


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