I jokingly did a Periscope on being a mom of girls and the challenges that we face as a response to constantly hearing about moms of boys. Being a parent to any child is difficult and I have no idea what faces moms of boys but I know intimately about the struggles in raising little girls. When you think of little girls, you think of these docile, beautiful little creatures sitting pretty having tea parties with their dolls. That’s what I thought I was getting into when the doctor announced that I would be having a little girl in 2010. What I got was the exact opposite. I have two wild, rough, rambunctious little girls that are fearless. When I look into their eyes, I find my own fearlessness and backbone. I wasn’t always as bold and brave as I am now and I certainly don’t want them to have the struggles I did growing up.

"Brave Girls" offers an introspective look at raising today's young girls to be powerful beyond measure. Check out more at www.aaronicabcole.com and enter the giveaway!

my girls that i’m raising to be brave

Growing Up {Not So} Brave

As a woman, I know all too well the struggles in finding balance between having a strong voice, being opinionated and then being called a bossy b!tch. I also know the struggle of hiking my skirt up too high so that boys will notice me or compromising my character and beliefs to be what someone else wanted me to be instead of who I am. Just a brief history of me and my childhood: I went to all girls schools until I graduated college with a brief 2 years in co-ed public school. But in grammar, middle, and high schools I was always 1 of a few black girls in the class which is a whole other issue for another post as my babies are that 1 of a couple in their classes as well. The good thing about constantly being in an environment of all girls is that we were able to struggle with our issues as girls in the community of girls we were surrounded with. It wasn’t a big thing when one of us was on our period. No one was really tripping when we wore bras. We all had attitudes, hormone issues, and self-esteem troubles.

"Brave Girls" offers an introspective look at raising today's young girls to be powerful beyond measure. Check out more at www.aaronicabcole.com and enter the giveaway!

My grandmother and I… I always thought she was so powerful…

But I was out of middle school when my issues hit. I began acting out and there were some things that were going on with me that I didn’t know how to communicate. I was lost in the sea of hormones and figuring out who I was as I entered high school–my first time being surrounded by people I didn’t know and boys. At that time, there were no articles running rampant on the internet about how to handle your girl going through puberty or blogs devoted to gentle parenting or great books like “Brave Girls” by Stacey Rodin, PsyD. My mom saw that I wasn’t talking to her about what was going on so she found someone that I could talk to. Someone who was (and honestly still is) the very walking definition of a beautiful woman who was doing everything I wanted to. She was this tall, beautifully featured, woman who was a mom of two, wonderfully funny, charismatic, and had character that was out of this world. She was bold but tactful, classy, and had an amazing wit about her that was so refreshing. We would talk about things we were passionate about (we both loved science and movies), hang out, and most of all, she trusted me with her kids. Her youngest sat on the potty for the first time with me and took her first steps with me. I would take her oldest to the movies and his sports games. She taught me that not only was it ok to be myself but that it was so necessary to find who I was and be that person proudly. I still miss Tracey and wish we hadn’t lost contact.

Brave Girls

"Brave Girls" offers an introspective look at raising today's young girls to be powerful beyond measure. Check out more at www.aaronicabcole.com and enter the giveaway!I received a copy of “Brave Girls: Raising Young Women with Passion and Purpose to Become Powerful Leaders” by Stacey Rodin, PsyD at the perfect time–both for myself and business as well as in this crazy role as a girl mom. For me, my blog is just tip of the proverbial iceberg of my dreams and reading Dr. Rodin’s book has put an even greater fire under my bottom to get things rolling in 2016. In 2010, Dr. Rodin started a program called Unleashed. Unleashed is a program that combines two of Rodin’s passions: helping young girls and puppies (two of my passions as well). In this program, she helps young, middle-school girls find their voices and develop their power in a 12-week afterschool program. To date, the Unleashed program has served 300+ girls and 400+ puppies. But even greater than this is how these 300+ girls are going to go on and help other girls–that trickle down effect is so real!

In her book that was released earlier this year, Dr. Rodin details the reasons WHY developing the Unleased program was so important. She goes into the psychological breakdown behind what these young girls are dealing with (where the silence comes from, how their attitudes are telling us more, etc) and it’s honestly so refreshing to see someone take such a positive outlook on dealing with young girls. In Brave Girls, she talks about the defining process that young girls go through in finding out who they are–not what they world wants them to be. My favorite chapter was on “Leveraging Gender Differences”. Men and women will never be the same but that doesn’t mean we can’t be equals–and not just viewed as such. The beauty of our differences from nature to nurture makes us equal if we play to our strengths.

Because I went to predominately all-girls schools, there’s a lot that I missed out on. Now as a mom of two girls, there’s a lot that I have to be prepared for. As Dr. Rodin points out in the book, there’s a lot of powerful women today that are still dealing with the same issues that middle school girls are simply because they were never dealt with but she points out that relationships between women are necessary to dismantle barriers and help each other.

I would love to share even more about this book but then this post would turn into a book itself BUT you can grab your copy from Amazon or enter the giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This book is a great read that offers insightful information on being a productive part of young girls’ lives.

To learn more about the Unleashed program and how you can become involved, check them out here.

**Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post but the opinions and thoughts are mine alone.**