Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Staying Close to Girls As They Grow

I think I was fated to be the mom of little girls. Growing up, I ordered around my three younger sisters and organized girly groups at school like the ill-fated “Stardust” club in third grade. (After a few months, the group dissolved over a leadership dispute: I wanted to be president, vice-president, and basically dictator-in-charge-of-everything. Strangely, the other girls in the group didn’t share my vision.) Ballet, cheerleading, sorority—I’ve spent my life in girl-world. Most of the time, I feel well-equipped to be the mom of two headstrong, expressive daughters, thanks to my past.

My girls are girly-girls, mommy’s girls, my little shadows. However you slice it, they identify strongly with me as their female role model, and they want to do EVERYTHING that I do. Making dinner, putting on makeup, typing emails—if they’re awake, they’re by my side. I generally feel like I’m walking my house with two little ankle weights named Bianca and Mia.

Though I sometimes miss having personal space, I love the closeness that I share with my two mini-mes. I’m enjoying it now, because know it might not last forever. In fact, the planner in me is already thinking ahead to the tween and teen years and wondering how I can keep my girls close as they grow up.

That’s why I was thrilled to meet fellow writer Cindy Hudson. Like me, she’s the mom of two daughters. She wanted to maintain a close mom-daughter bond as her girls grew, so she did something awesome—she created a mother-daughter book club for each of her daughters. To help other moms do the same thing, she wrote Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs (Seal Press/Oct 2009). And this fall, she followed up by releasing a meeting planner guide to help moms plan successful book club meetings with their daughters. The guide includes book suggestions, author interviews, even recipes that match the theme of each book. How cool is that?

My girls are still too young for a mom-daughter book club, but I’m looking forward to starting clubs when they’re old enough. And it’s great to have a resource like Cindy to look to for inspiration. If you're the mom of a girl, I urge you to promote reading, relationships, and a lasting mom-daughter bond by creating a book club with your daughter. The world needs more well-adjusted, well-read, connected girls with strong family bonds, and we girl-moms can use all of the support and help we can get.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. All views are my own.


Abby said...

First, a shout-out to Cindy, whom I know: Hi, Cindy!

This is so interesting to me because I feel like I was fated to raise boys. I am so far removed from girl-world. Sometimes it makes me sad, but it's all I know.

I read the funniest passage in Kyran Pittman's memoir, "Planting Dandelions." As the mother of 3 boys, she says little girls are now as strange to her as boys once were. She writes:

Whenever I babysit one of my friend’s daughters, I am at an absolute loss. I’m used to boys coming over and running off with the herd. The girls stay at my elbow, looking up at me expectantly. They want to talk. I never know what to say. “Crayons?” I offer, as if holding out a pack of cigarettes. “Something to read?” It’s awkward, like having a foreign exchange student over for tea. Boys are the devil I know.

Malia said...

Abby, it gets even more interesting when they become teens. My husband is a long-time varsity basketball coach, and six years ago he switched from coaching boys to coaching girls. It's hilarious to hear him talk about how different it is to coach boys vs. girls. I need to get him to write about it some day. :)