I have a room full of trophies: Volleyball, swimming MVP, track medals, four -hr ribbons, reading book challenge, high honors, journalism awards…small trophies, big trophies, medals. All with marble bottoms and shiny exteriors. Some heavy enough to be used as a weapon.
The other night my daughter asked me, “Mommy can I have a trophy?” My defenses flared up for a second. These were my trophies that I worked hard for, and I had won. A few years ago, my answer would have immediately been, “No, baby girl; you’re going to have to earn your own.”
But the longer I sat with those feelings, the less they made sense. Why was I so protective of my past wins? What lesson was I trying to teach my kid?
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always been a high achiever, and I want my kids to work hard at what they love. But I also know that there is enough to go around.
What is the point of locking up some old marble and plastic?
So we went in together to the display, and she picked up the one she most wanted. It was not the largest, flashiest one. But the little purple, plastic trophy with a chipped golden swimmer on the top gave her the biggest smile.
She continues to sleep by it night after night and tells everyone, “My mom won a trophy and gave it to me.”
The thrill I experienced when I first received this trophy cannot even compare to the explosion of love in my heart when I see that little curly head hold that trophy like it is the Hope Diamond.
What I have realized is that to raise my daughter, I need to raise myself consistently. I need to raise myself above my insecurities. Raise myself above the external validation that eventually led me to burnout. Raise me up and out of the toxic mindset that everything in life has to be complicated.
As mothers, we have the power to instill a sense of pride in our daughters. We can teach them that they are inherently worthy. My daughter will have to earn her trophies in the outside world – and I will be there to cheer her on. But inside our house, she will know that she is a winner, no matter what.
Dr. Errin Weisman is a life coach, podcaster & all-around badass doctor mom in southwestern Indiana. Besides being sassy, she enjoys getting mud on her shoes, teaching her children to catch tadpoles, and reading a great fantasy novel. Her website is https://www.burntouttobadass.com/, or hang with her on Instagram for laughs and encouragement @errinweisman .