Advice for my daughters from

Advice for my Daughters

My beautiful daughter

There is a poem called Walking Away by C Day Lewis that ends:

‘…how selfhood begins with walking away,

    and love is proved in letting go.’

It feels like every time I blink we have reached yet another milestone and I have to open my hands a little bit more, give you a bit more freedom and start letting you go.  I know it is part of the circle of life, you are growing up, but as your mom I wish I could just keep you safe from the world.   The world can be a big and scary place, but it is also wonderful, exciting and beautiful.

I have to let you go, give you a chance to make your own mistakes and send you into the world.  Here’s some lessons I’ve had to learn the hard way.

1)      Never stop learning or trying new things.


quote Fall in love with as many things as possible


“Ancora imparo. [I am still learning.]”    ― Michelangelo, at age 87 in 1562

If Michelangelo at 87 was still learning new things, so can you.

When you were little you were so excited to come home and tell me what you learned today at school. You could not wait to learn how to read so that the world of books could open its doors to you. My wish for you is that you never lose that sense of wonder.   That you always stay excited about the world and knowledge.  Try new things.   Learn to skydive, start a new hobby, or learn a new language.   Listen to people, talk to your friends, but also talk to strangers. Listen to their stories, pay attention.

Learning new things will make you a more interesting person and you will find joy in knowledge.


2)     Nobody is perfect, you should not try to be.


beauty girl girls lipstick quote power lipstick make-up Real girls aren't perfect. Perfect girls aren't real.


My little girl.  I am a woman so I know that every time you open a beauty magazine you will be bombarded with unrealistic bodies.

No one looks like that in real life.  Every photo has been airbrushed, the lighting has been set up to flatter the model and every model has a team of people doing her make-up and hair.   If this is the standard that you are going to compare yourself to you are going to fail.  Every time.  Human beings love beautiful things, we like looking at a pretty face and this is something that is not going to change soon, but everyone has a different idea of what beauty is.

Here is what is important:   people are attracted to confidence.   And even if you do not have any, this is something you can fake.

If you act like you are confident people will think that you are and you will be beautiful.


2) “No” is a complete sentence.


dandelion wind flower white plant botany nature no sentence "No" is a complete sentence and it doesn't require justification or an explanation.


There is a quote from Paulo Coelho that says:  “Don’t waste your time with explanations, people only hear what they want to hear.”

As a woman you are conditioned to be nice.  As your mother I will tell you do not have to be nice.   You can be a good and kind person without being ‘nice’.  If you do not want to do something, or feel uncomfortable doing something, or just need a little time to yourself, say “No”.   Do not let anyone bully you into things that you do not want to do because you want to be the nice girl.  I have not raised you to be part of the crowd and you never have to please anyone but yourself.   Use a calm, even voice and clearly say, “No”.

Do not apologise, do not think of excuses and remember “No” is a complete sentence.


4)   People do not change.


summerfield woman girl sunset twilight hair field model female beauty misteryWhen someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. Maya Angelou



If someone shows you who they are – believe them.   By the time you are a teenager your core personality is already formed.   Do not choose someone to love that you think you can change, because people do not change.  You do not need to find someone that is perfect, just someone that is perfect for you.

Love with your whole heart and being, but love them imperfections and all.  If you are someone that likes to be on time and he is always late, acknowledge that, and make peace with it, because it is not something you can change.   Decide if you can live with this or if it is a deal breaker or you will be fighting about this for the rest of your life.  This counts for small and big things.    In time small things can turn into really big things if you have to live with someone for a lifetime.


5)    Let’s talk about sex


talk sex quote poem typewriter series poems Part those sheets like holy water and I will worship your skin like a born again believer. Tyler Knott Gregson

There is a lot of information about the mechanics, but very little about the emotional impact of sex.

Let me first say sex is wonderful, exciting and a great pleasure with the right person.   The key to a successful sexual relationship is communication and consent.  Sex is not something that men take from you, it is also not a present that you give them.   The difference between a good sexual relationship and a bad one is the person you share it with.  It should never be something that you feel you have to do to please someone.

If you choose to sleep with someone on the first, second or third date or on your wedding night, the best advice I can give you is that you should like him or her.  If you are not prepared to make this person part of your life afterwards it is probably not a good idea to sleep with them.

Woman differ from men in that we have difficulty distancing the emotions of sex with the mechanics and if you sleep with someone keep the cliche in mind “you need to be able to still respect yourself afterwards.  “If this person is not someone you could be friends with afterwards, why would you want to sleep with him/her?

There is great joy in sharing a sexual relationship with someone that you love, choose well and remember sex is suppose to be a pleasure not a chore.


6)   Some relationships are not forever and that’s ok.


silhouette couple black white love man woman male female romantic Some people are going to leave, but that's not the end of your story.


Things change.  Relationships change.  The person that you loved yesterday, might not be the person that you love tomorrow.  Sometimes relationships fail.  Know that sometimes it is ok walk away. Relationships are hard work, but sometimes you will fail.  This does not make you a failure as a person.


7)   It is ok to make mistakes.


girl woman beauty model pretty mistakes trying Mistakes are proof that you are trying

Everyone makes mistakes, that is how you learn.  Dream big, then work hard to make those dreams a reality.    People will judge you for your mistakes, keep going anyway.  Always, always try.  Even if you think that you will fail, be someone that can walk away saying ‘at least I tried.’   Mistakes sometimes open doors that you might have missed if everything in your life worked out according to plan.

That’s it for today.  Your mother is a well of infinite wisdom, which I say tongue in cheek, as the only way I acquired this wisdom was by making mistakes and failing.  I have failed so many times, but when I look at each of my daughters  it does not matter how many times I failed, the only thing that is important is that I should not fail you.  And even though I know I will fail, know that you are loved and even when I’ve opened my hands completely and finally let you go, know that I will never close them.

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy:  It’s just a bad day not a bad life

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nanna's Wisdom
79 replies
  1. carla
    carla says:

    What a lovely list of helpful tips. Although I must admit things are all things I will be saying to my son too. I think our children deserve the best but also need to know it wont be handed to them on a plate.

  2. lidy
    lidy says:

    I have two boys and no daughter in sight. But boy or girl, I’ll give them this piece of advice just the same: Words are power. So don’t abuse them and be wary of those who do.

  3. Betty and the Bumps
    Betty and the Bumps says:

    I really enjoyed reading this list. A while back I wrote a letter to Gwenn on the blog and I finished with a line from a Joni Mitchell song that I thought I’d share, if you don’t mind. For me it sums up everything I want to teach Gwenn as she grows.

    “People will tell you where they’ve been, they’ll tell you where to go; but til you get there yourself, you never really know”.



  4. Mariet
    Mariet says:

    Thank you for stopping by Karen.
    I’m sure the list will grow as I think of extra things I forgot the first time.

  5. Sibylla Nash
    Sibylla Nash says:

    Great advice for women of all ages! I especially loved #3 – No is a complete sentence. I still have to remind myself that it’s ok to say “no” and not feel guilty or as though an excuse is owed.
    Thank you for this!

  6. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    A beautifully written and well crafted article. As a mother of three boys and a little girl I can really relate to all the advice given, Ii shall be sharing it all with her over the next few years 🙂

  7. Yanique Chambers
    Yanique Chambers says:

    I love this! My favorite take away is that no is a complete sentence. Even as a grown woman I’m struggling to learn this lesson. I always feel like I have to explain myself. This is a great guide for daughters.

  8. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    Amazing words of advice. I love letters to the little ones. Beautiful. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  9. Krista
    Krista says:

    These are such great quotes! THe Maya Angelou one is one of my faves. Thanks for linking up at MeetUp Monday! Hope to see you again tomorrow!! (

  10. JcCee Watkins Barney
    JcCee Watkins Barney says:

    This is a great list and can be use for different stages in life. I am an adult and I still find myself struggling with saying No without an explanation. I say it more than I use to but I feel like I have to say more behind it. I am working on it. Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. Tyler Claton
    Tyler Claton says:

    naturally like your web site but you need to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very bothersome to tell the truth on the other hand I?¦ll certainly come again again.

  12. zorivare worilon
    zorivare worilon says:

    You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation however I find this topic to be actually one thing that I feel I’d by no means understand. It seems too complicated and very huge for me. I’m having a look ahead in your subsequent publish, I will attempt to get the cling of it!

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