This year, I became the mom to a beautiful baby girl. I had secretly (okay, maybe not so secretly) wished for a girl, and from the day I knew I was carrying my daughter, I felt the immense weight of being a part of bringing the next generation of women into the world. It’s been remarkable watching Josefin form into a tiny human with a personality, preferences, and special smiles and movements. Especially today, on International Day of the Girl, I have many hopes for her future. I hope she always feels supported, safe, and free to be whomever she wants. I hope she chases her dreams, no matter how farfetched or small. I hope she believes in her unique gifts and the beauty she has to offer the world. I hope she is curious and resilient, eager to explore but also happy to be at home. I hope she continues to love how she does now: with her whole heart and spirit. I hope she knows I will always be her greatest fan — and here for her every step of the way.
Here, I spoke to other proud mamas of girls about what they hope for their girls.
I hope she is confident.
“My biggest hope for my daughter is to be confident. It’s so hard for young girls to find the confidence to do what they truly want and stick up for themselves. I want her to feel comfortable asking questions she may not know the answers to, telling a friend she doesn’t feel comfortable doing something, and sticking up for herself in an awkward situation that she doesn’t want to be in. I could go on. As a grown woman now, I know I’ve been there before and wish I had the confidence when I was younger to say and do what I wanted to say and do without the fear of any judgment or repercussions. Plus, with confidence comes happiness.” —Christina Nicholson, mom to Julianna, age 10.
I hope she has the freedom to make choices for herself.
“The big picture dream I have for Serafina is that she and her alone determine her future — no one person, no entity, government, or another outside factor. The realistic side of me knows that life will throw curve balls, things will happen out of her control and part of her future is to navigate those curve balls. However, the freedom for her to make choices for herself — should be hers and her alone. It has been hard for me to find the words to explain what has happened with Roe/Wade to a 6-year-old. I have shed many tears and have felt rage knowing that she is thought of as ‘less than’ simply because of her chromosomal makeup.
I started my PR career working for a national non-profit founded by Billie Jean King to advance the lives of women and girls in sports. We would receive calls, emails, and faxes (it was the early 2000s) from people so angry about our work. I vividly remember a call from a gentleman who angrily explained how women should be in the kitchen: ‘That’s their place,’ he explained to me.
Now that I have a daughter, I think about that call and how I felt being on the receiving end. This man didn’t even know me — and he already bucketed me into the ‘less than’ category just because of the sound of my voice. It is 22 years later — and we’re in the same spot. My 6-year-old will still have to fight and justify her choices because of her gender.
All that said: I want Serafina’s future to be filled with collaboration — not me vs. them. I want her future to be filled with opportunities where, yes, she has to fight for what she wants or believes in (because that’s just a part of life). But, still, I want it to be in an environment where it’s like a team instead of fighting for who is ‘right’ for the sake of being right.” —Eloise Pisano, mom to Serafina, age 6.
I hope she loves herself.
“I want my daughter to love herself. She will be comfortable and confident with her whole being: mind, body, and soul. She is strong. She is kind. She is brave. She is smart. She is beautiful. She makes her own choices and lives on her terms. Success will be determined by her level of happiness, not a metric society has imposed upon her. I also hope the society she lives in respects all its citizens and embraces their differences rather than seeing individuality as a flaw.” —Amanda Green, mom to Rosalyn, age 4.
I hope she feels true happiness.
“I hope my daughter grows up to feel true happiness, health, and fulfillment. I hope she has a sense of self-confidence and worthiness that I have long struggled to achieve. I hope she goes through life open-mindedly, treats all with kindness (including herself), and follows a nourishing path. I hope she has strong and authentic relationships with family, friends, partners, and colleagues. I hope she feels she is always supported, loved, and seen. I hope she avoids getting caught in the social-media ‘comparison trap’ (or whatever similar trend arises in her generation) and retains a productive and healthy perspective on body image and life. Finally, and selfishly, I hope she will always want to be her mama’s best friend.” —Lexie Smith, mom to Ashlyn Everly, six months.
I hope they know they can do anything.
“I was a single mom for 17 years raising my girls, and my strongest hope was that they would see in me that they could do anything. That a woman could make it work. Be strong and soft. Work extremely hard, rise the ladder, and still love her children. That’s not always easy. Demanding jobs call for demanding personalities, and I found myself distributing that personality at home, so I had to walk myself back to remember to be soft. I want my daughters and their daughters always to know who they are in their hearts first. They may need to struggle work-wise or face challenges in the business world, but remember who they are as a loving, beautiful person inside their mom always loves. And know they can do anything. And I will always be here, so very proud.” —Marla White, mom to Kaarsten, age 40, and Kayleigh, age 32.
I hope they are stubborn enough to pursue their dreams.
“My biggest wish is for my daughters to be confident, independent, and stubborn enough to pursue their dreams. In addition, I want them to be comfortable in their skin and surround themselves with people who push them to be the best possible version of themselves. We are currently traveling full-time with our four children, and in the few short months we have been on the road, I’ve seen my two middle girls blossom. They are becoming more adaptable and outgoing and learning to connect with people around them and navigate new and sometimes challenging situations. I know that all these experiences, even though they might not be remembered in detail, will help shape the women they become. By providing them the opportunity to explore and learn through hands-on experience, I know they will grow into fierce, bold, world changers.” —Alanna Gallo, mom to Charlotte, age 5, Emma, age 3, and Georgia, age 1.
I hope they remain curious and kind.
“As a career-driven woman, I never really thought about having children, let alone two beautiful girls. I grew up with parents who always encouraged me to take risks; the motto in my house was, ‘The worst thing someone can tell you is no, so it never hurts to ask.’ This is the same advice I have passed along to my girls. My hopes for my daughter are to remain curious, be kind, and always be grateful. I hope they continue to be silly since our world is so serious at times, and to always look to one another for support to continue to fuel that sisterhood bond.” —Randee Braham, mom to Senna, age 6, and Ilaria, age 4.
I hope they feel seen, heard, and supported.
“All of the work I do as a parent is towards the hopes and dreams that my daughters spend their time on this earth serving their purpose and aligned with what they love, what their soul-calling is. My girls are incredibly smart and intuitive and are already called to be creatives to fill the world with the arts and new creations. I want them to grow up feeling seen, heard, and supported — that they can be/do/wear/look the way they want.
Most of all, I want them to love themselves and feel freedom from the opinions and judgments of others. My work as a healer and on my healing journey has to break familial patterns of low self-worth, people-pleasing, and having no boundaries; this is why I am healing these things within myself so that my girls know their worth, free themselves from being emotionally responsible for others and are confident setting boundaries within their relationships; my work is to break generational patterns to that the cycle ends with me and doesn’t get passed to my daughters.” —Gina M. Newton, mom to Emma, age 8, and Isla, age 6.5.
I hope they are fierce and strong.
“During both pregnancies, I secretly hoped for girls. I’ve always felt the world needs more strong women, and I wanted to have the opportunity to raise them. I have been delighted every day since they were born with how fierce and strong they are. My hope and goal, as their mother, is to channel their intensity into positive habits and a strong sense of self.
My older daughter, Abigail, was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer just before her first birthday. Her resilience and drive are exceptional. She taught herself to walk, pushing her chemo pole around the cancer center, and her very first friends were the nurses pumping blood and drugs into her tiny body. But 2.5 years later, she’s become a leader, confident in herself and her relationship with her teachers, family, and friends. I hope Abigail will continue to be herself, never shrinking for others.
Although still very young, Harriet brings joy and ease to our family. For her, I hope to support her natural inclination towards being friendly, outgoing, and easygoing, qualities that I also believe are important in understanding oneself.
Above all, I want my girls to learn to trust themselves. In a world that undermines girls and women daily, knowing who you are pays dividends. There is no bigger gift I can give them.” —Jacqueline Grady Smith, mom to Abigail, age 4, and Harriet, age 1.
I hope her voice is heard.
“I want the same things for my daughter that I want for my son: happiness, health, and the freedom to choose her path in life. I understand first-hand that it isn’t as easy for a girl as it is for a boy in this country. I want her voice to be heard and her emotions and thoughts to be respected. I want her to feel comfortable setting boundaries and saying ‘no’ when something doesn’t feel right. I want her to find her superpower, hone it and bestow it on society. I never want her to stop caring for and understanding others as she finds her way.” —Jean Thompson, mom to Ellie Thompson, 25.