As a mom to a girl, I have come to realize that I need to educate my daughter on how to be an amazing woman. Reflecting on my last 30 years of successes and mistakes, I knew I needed to teach her how to celebrate being a woman. Plus, there is a national Women’s Day to do just this. So, here are thirteen ways I’d celebrate Women’s Day like a true boss:
- Embrace my equality
First, I will embrace women’s equality. We are equals in so many other ways than merely being able to vote. I am educated like many of my male colleagues. I am the breadwinner in my modern-day family. I got my own cars and a house. So after a rewarding day at work, I will reasonably drive home in my fully loaded car. I will park carefully in my two-car garage. On my back deck, I will raise my glass and toast that I accomplished all of this as a strong and determined woman.
- Celebrate the power of knowledge
Next, as a teacher and mother, I feel it is important that I cultivate a love of knowledge in young women. After all, knowledge is power. For the longest time, women were discouraged from education. A dear friend of mine, an amazing woman, has not stopped educating herself throughout her adult years.
I think she is in school every year. She’s always taking some kind of class. She holds 2 master’s degrees, 5 educational endorsements, an education, as well as an administration degree. She is more educated and earning more money than our school administration. My daughter will know education is imperative.
- Empower other women
In hand with encouraging our young women to further their education, empowering them is just as important. Previously, women were discouraged from having real career dreams, they were expected to only raise children. That was their place in our society. In the 21st century, thankfully, that is no longer the norm. Ladies, you do not have to get married. You do not need a husband to have a baby. Heck, if you feel you weren’t even meant to have a family- that is just fine. You truly can be whatever you want. Lawyer, Doctor, Single, childless, professional- whatever your heart desires. I empower you on Woman’s Day and every day I can.
- Recognise our accomplishments
Fourth in my celebration is a recognition of our accomplishments. I mentioned my good friend who prioritizes education. She has accomplished more than most people I know. I salute women like her. Let us give homage to accomplished women: Madam C.J. Walker, Frida Kahlo, Naomi Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Serena Williams, Indira Gandhi, and Madeleine Albright.
How about the amazing women who participated in the 2021 Olympics: Simone Biles for boldly speaking her truth. She is a role model. Katie Ledecky for winning more gold medals than anyone. She is an inspiration. Momiji Nishiya, one of the youngest gold medallists ever! Young women will look up to you for years. Women can accomplish anything, break records, win awards, and be firsts. We are amazing.
- Get my workout in
Whenever I watch the Olympics, I am inspired to push myself a little further in my workouts. I’m on the elliptical a little longer; I sweat a little more that week. Being a physically healthy woman is necessary. As women our hormones are enemies. They fuel cancer, wrinkles, cellulite- things that society finds unattractive. How do I counter that and influence my daughter? Physical fitness. I celebrate my cancer-free, crow’s feet, not so skinny body by taking care of it. I exercise daily to preserve my health which contributes to my serenity. I model for my daughter the importance of taking care of one’s body.
- Keeping my mental health in check
In addition to physical health, women need to cultivate mental health. In our society, mental health continues to be a taboo subject. Look at the backlash given to Simone Biles for pulling out of the Olympics. Our mental state needs to be checked, nourished, and acknowledged. It is as important as taking care of our heart, lungs, and brains. Bravo Simone Biles for being brave enough to share that you needed to take the time to focus on your mental health.
One way I address my mental health is by changing my inner dialogue regarding my not-so-perfect body. I am nice to myself. We need to acknowledge that our imperfect bodies are just fine. I notice how good I look in my dress and I tell myself I am attractive. I believe it. I smile and carry on with my day. My daughter sees this and I encourage her to do the same.
- Making time for me, myself, and I
In recognizing a need to sustain positive mental health, we need to nourish it constantly. Women are busy creatures in this day and age. We are professionals, caretakers, lovers, companions, parents and so much more all at once. Self-care is essential. If you don’t do it often, take the day we celebrate women, to take some extra special care of yourself. Get a massage or mani-pedi. Go to a movie alone. Or take a long, quiet drive. Pour a glass of wine, and soak in the tub with the door locked. It is not selfish; it’s imperative to restart one’s self. I always make sure to find time for me, and only me.
- A salute to scientific advancements
Now, science is paramount, especially these days. It has saved us from a pandemic, and it can move our world towards gender equality. Science has given us the answers to how our brains, bodies, and hormones, work. Men’s and women’s brains are wired similarly. Women may lean towards more emotional decision-making but in times of crisis that can be much needed. Science has told us that yes men tend to have more muscle mass making them perhaps “stronger” or “faster” in direct comparison, but it also has enlightened us that we are comparably just as strong and fast.
These scientific breakthroughs have allowed us to move into the workforce after having babies, delay having babies while in the workforce, and even making sure babies don’t perhaps inhibit our longing to remain in the workforce. In tribute to women, I salute scientific advancements.
- Celebrate women who take control of their bodies and lives
In addition, science has made way for us to take control of our bodies. It is our right; thank goodness, it is our choice! In the past women were forced to either keep children they were not ready for and could not take care of. Or they were pushed into a corner where they risked their lives to continue their living as they wished. A very close friend of mine had to make a difficult decision to end a pregnancy that she was not ready for. With the support of her partner and dear friends, science made it possible for her to make a safe, nonsurgical decision. It is one she will never forget, but she is grateful for the choice she was allowed. I will never stop reassuring her that her choice is powerful.
- Speak up!
Just as all social movements need a loud voice, the #metoo movement should continue to be yelled from the mountain tops. Girls, young ladies, college students, professionals, middle-aged women, should all continue to speak up. I wish when I was in college, someone would have told me to be loud. I just didn’t know how to stick up for myself, and I made bad decisions. I don’t want my daughter to be taken advantage of by not speaking up. Speak up until they can no longer ignore you. Tell them what you do and don’t want until they understand. If you have been hurt, let them know they are wrong! Let us all spread this awareness. Let our voices be heard.
- Sharing my opinion
Today, I’d like to offer my perspective. Women have an important role in our society. It’s not just our voice, it is what we can offer. Our opinion can help weigh a decision towards a righteous way of doing things. You can’t know right unless you understand wrong. We are the yin to yang. What we offer is an enlightening vision. In my home, I speak up about decisions; my home is not male-dominated. If I don’t agree, I say so. My daughter sees this. My husband has come a long way in his opinions on social justice issues. He is from an older generation than I am. He was raised differently. I have been a little bird in his ear for 30 years. I have educated him on the opposition, and it has made him a better person.
- It’s My Birthday!
Don’t forget that women are needed in society because without us there wouldn’t be any of us. So Women’s Day can be another birthday celebration for all women! With my daughter, I will have a slice of cake, make a special wish, and blow out the candles for all women.
- Challenge yourself and others
Last, but certainly not least, choose to challenge. Challenge yourself to empower a young lady. Challenge yourself to take care of your heart, mind, and soul. Embrace all the amazing women you know. Make Women’s Day an important day where you appreciate all that you are; I will.
Writer: Mary Montefinese