I distinctly remember a conversation with a fellow mother while our 5-year old kids were playing together in the park. She asked me what my dreams were for my daughter when she grew up.
I asked her to explain further, and she reframed her question:
“Doctor or engineer?”
I stared at her blankly.
When I asked her what her ambitions for her son were, she instantly replied:
I replied that my daughter was too young to know what she should pursue later in life.
She wasn’t convinced with my answer and further probed me to know if I really had no expectations or ambitions for her as a parent.
I replied that her happiness mattered the most to me.
My philosophical reply had her looking at me like I was an idealistic fool.
But I have to admit she was far more progressive than the other parents I encountered because she didn’t discriminate owing to gender.
Ironically, one educated and working professional mother advised me not to have high ambitions for my daughter as she was a girl child. It would be best if I focused on her marriage.
A male relative asked me if my husband and I were investing in gold for our barely four-year-old daughter for her marriage and before the rates spike up. When I replied that we were focusing on and investing in her education instead and weren’t even sure if she wanted to get married or not in the first place, he looked visibly shocked.
I’ve wondered why we have these boxes for our girls and women. Why do we have this fear that freedom will lead them astray? Why can’t we let them explore and discover what they truly want for themselves instead of deciding for them in childhood?
While this philosophy of exploration and discovery applies to all genders, the Indian male child, in particular, enjoys more privileges when it comes to freedom, experimentation, and support.
The above conversations have made me reflect on what my daughter means to me and my wishes for her.
So, I play a genie and grant my daughter three golden wishes, albeit in my head. But the twist is that these are my wishes for her as a mother and not vice versa.
Here’s sharing my top three wishes for my daughter.
1. Focus on higher education and have a fulfilling career
As a mother, I’ve had umpteen conversations with my daughter on how important academic learning is.
Education empowers our children with the freedom to live their lives responsibly and purposefully.
My mother has always emphasized the need for higher education and a career. She told me to never to give up on my career or dreams for anybody and constantly reinforced the need to be financially independent. My wish for my daughter is the same.
I’d want my daughter to explore her talents and find her calling while being financially independent. I wish that she always has the zeal to learn and evolve into a sharper individual.
Having a career is not only about making money and paying the bills. It’s pursuing your passion, multiplying your talents, and truly enjoying the work you do.
Your career can be anything that you want it to look like:
It can be a traditional 9-to-5 job, an unconventional and radical career path not pursued by many, or a combination of diverse and unrelated careers you are passionate about.
2. Evaluate before getting into marriage, motherhood and raising a family
Marriage is a big step in anyone’s life, and it’s essential to know the person well enough before plunging into this long-term, legal commitment.
Marriage and motherhood can be catastrophic for a woman’s career if she doesn’t think through these decisions carefully.
Women find it harder than men to start and sustain a thriving career despite having a supportive spouse or family because of an unfair and discriminatory patriarchal system.
While I had a break in my career when living in the US as dependent on an H4 visa, I restarted it upon returning to India. While it was fun building something from scratch and making my career blocks of success with my multiple talents, I must admit it certainly wasn’t easy. Heck! it is still not easy.
So, I’d want my daughter to be proactive about her life partner choices, have open discussions about everything from the start. So, she marries someone who is wholeheartedly supportive of her dreams.
On the other hand, there are proven scientific benefits to being in a stable, happy marriage and also being a mother despite the hard work.
You’ve got to work hard to sustain a blissful marriage and raise a happy, healthy family.
Nonetheless, whether my daughter wants to get married and raise a family or not is entirely her choice.
3. Be an abundant individual
Usually, when we think of abundance, we tend to think only in terms of wealth. But abundance applies to every aspect of your life – love & relationships, money, health, and character.
I’d want my daughter to take ownership of her happiness and to let go of negative emotions, baggage & people.
However, perennial positivity is not just an impractical dream but also a self-limiting one. There must be a balance of all emotions to experience life and evolve into a better person.
Sometimes it’s braver to smile when there’s a raging storm inside of you. Sometimes it’s braver to cry it out or let the rage out instead of bottling up emotions.
I’d not want anyone to make her feel guilty for choosing herself above others, and I’d like her to practice kindness to herself.
I firmly believe when she practices kindness to herself, it creates a ripple effect as she extends that kindness to others.
I wish my child will be abundant & evolve into a sensitive, empathetic, kind & resourceful individual that builds her community and the world into a better place.
A Mother Wishes For Her Daughter
So, these are some words of wisdom for a daughter from her mother.
While my daughter means the world to me and came from my womb, she is an individual in her own right. I have no business dictating her future but will always remain her ardent supporter on the sidelines.
I don’t have any wishes as a mother other than her freedom, success, and well-being.