The Scary Truth of Raising Daughters

Having four daughters is a gift, a blessing I wouldn’t trade for anything. I love the bond of sisterhood and understanding how my children are wired in ways my husband will never fully comprehend.

On the other hand, it’s a lot of pressure. That’s how I feel at least. Being the same sex parent makes me the primary role model, the standard of what a grown woman should be. If I were perfect, I’d be okay with this, but seeing that I have countless flaws, bad habits, and tendencies I’m not proud of…well, suffice it to say I don’t want my girls to grow up just like me. I want them to be BETTER than me.

I want my good qualities to stick and my bad qualities to roll off. When they leave my nest at age 18, I want them unscarred by our mother-daughter arguments, so strong in their identity that any negative remarks I make in weak moments won’t dig under their skin so deeply they’ll need therapy to recover.

Problem is, I can’t choose what rubs off. For better or worse my influence is a package deal. Even if my daughters make a conscious effort not to be like me, I’m their default setting. I’m the voice they’ll carry around in their head for a long time. And while their father has a major influence, too (I wrote about fathers and daughters here, with more to come on that), I’m the one who spends the majority of time with them as their daily lives play out.

Read More

Love & Marriage

When my friend Greta got engaged many years ago, a man she knew from work shared a story I’ll always remember.

In essence, he told her the key to marriage is to love your spouse even when you don’t feel like it. Using his own life to explain, he described a period in which he and his wife hit a wall. They were fighting constantly and very disconnected. Their marriage hung by a thread.weddingday copy

Her birthday was coming up, and though he wasn’t in the mood to act kindly, he planned a surprise party. He forced himself to show love he did not feel, and it took every bone in his body to follow through.

As you can imagine, a surprise party was the last gift his wife expected. When she walked in the room and saw what he’d done, she looked at him dumbfounded. She’d been thrown for a major loop.

This man went on to tell Greta how the party turned his marriage around. By treating his wife differently, she treated him differently in return, and with every inch one of them gave, the other gave an inch back. Before long they set in motion a new dynamic that helped rebuild their marriage, which became stronger than ever before.

Read More

The Parenting Choice You’ll Never Regret

“Just give her extra love, Kari. Just give her extra love.”

The words were so simple, yet exactly what I needed to hear. Once again my father came through with flying colors, offering advice to ease my anxiety.

It came during a time when I was worried about my daughter. It wasn’t anything major, just a situation that had popped up.

And though I knew better, I made the mistake of getting on Google. It led me on a wild goose chase that served no purpose except to freak me out.

That’s why my father’s words were timely, because they centered me on a core truth. They gave me control in a situation beyond my control. They reminded me that no matter what anyone in my family goes through at any point in time, love is always the answer.

Read More