My BRAZEN baby girl.
I parent in a bubble.
Inside The Bubble.
The ten year old knows almost anything goes words-wise if used appropriately, with permission and inside our judgement-free zone.
I like words.
I adore when people, especially those better at word-weaving than I, employ them in unexpected ways.
I sporadically fall in love with words, chickenbus for example, and appropriate them for my own purposes outside their traditional definition.
A few years ago I fell in love with brazen.
1. boldly shameless
2. unrestrained by convention
3. marked by audacity
1. to face and overcome boldly
2.to make (oneself) bold or brash
I enjoyed how it made us women of a certain age giggle as it brought to mind the phrase: brazen hussy.
I was drawn to how it captured precisely how I plan to live the rest of my life.
For me brazen living was:
- Putting myself first. Shamelessly. The awareness if I don’t tend to my needs first I have nothing to give. The ole an empty pot cannot pour any Diet Coke notion.
- Owning it. I work my ass off. I’m not lucky. I’m exceedingly grateful. And yet? I don’t pretend to be small or stoppable merely because women are supposed to not to know their worth.
- Flying my FREAK FLAG. I wave because it’s who I authentically am. I don’t shake for shock value.
- Boldly doing unto others. Serving others. Celebrating others. Shining light on others. Being the light where I can.
brashly brazen in latency stage.
Each time the word left my lips it
made me snicker and captured how I wanted to conduct myself as I entered my second life.
I told everyone about my new fave word.
Slowly brazen became woven into the fabric of who I am and no longer something I needed to consciously choose to be.
I was happy. Brashly, boldly, creating my own joy because I’m not waiting for you to offer me some of yours happy.
And then I noticed the little eyes which are always watching.
I recalled how plainly she’d stated she was watching me to learn how to become a woman and I decided, even with my practice don’t preach philosophy, I needed a plan.
This called for ways I could consciously facilitate my daughter discovering her inner BRAZEN even if the word wasn’t spoken.
(spoken too often anyway. she covets my bracelet.)
5 ways (I’m trying) to raise a BRAZEN girl:
#1. I’m teaching her to dance with fear.
Sure that makes it sound as though I want her to nae nae with nervousness or tango with trepidation. That’s not it at all. I want her to not waste precious time avoiding fear and instead run boldly, brazenly toward it. I strive to show her through my actions fear can teach us, fear exists for a reason and fear, like all emotions, can be our friend.
#2. I reward grit and resilience as boisterously as success.
This has been a challenge to do for myself. Yet, once I finally made it habit, I was capable of conveying it to her. I praise her tenacity. I applaud her ability to embrace (what we adults refer to as) failure, step back, access and try again. I’ve consciously chosen to cheer most more loudly when she’s not the best than when she is.
#3. I hesitate…so she will speak up.
Anyone who’s spent time with children knows it can feel easier to do things (laundry to lawn mowing) ourselves. It is easier and less time consuming *but* it’s also disempowering. When I paid attention I witnessed how my daughter often waited for me to step in or takeover and, only when I didn’t, did she step up herself. Each time she’s stepped up she’s handled her business like a (brazen) rock star. She’s quite capable when I step back and allow her to be.
#4. I show I don’t tell.
I offer books with brazen, confident characters. I encourage her to watch movies or TV shows with male and female characters who display traits to which we both aspire. I try v-e-r-y hard to remain silent and let her point the characteristics out (Did you see how that?! She nailed her vault even though her Coach told her she couldn’t!) This is the first step to her recognizing the characteristics in herself and others.
#5. I work to put myself out of a job.
Ahhh the definition of motherhood, teacherhood and anyhood involving children. I choose daily to focus on wings not roots. I remind myself she’ll fall and fail and of the myriad gifts which emerge from these experiences. I begin each day musing How can I make her need me less? and, as a result, spark her to become a more brazen advocate for herself.
It’s still a crap-shoot (technical term) if my approach is working.
As with all things parenting, I’ll only know if this has taken root when she’s older and has fully spread her wings.
As with all things parenting, I’m learning as much from her as she begins to brazenly seek what she wants in life as she’s leaning from me.
- What does the word BRAZEN mean to you?
- Have you become more bold in seizing what you want from life as you’ve gotten older?
angela @ happy fit mama saysMay 16, 2016 at 4:16 am
The hardest of these for me (right now) is the allowing her to do her own things. It’s been habit for so many years that now that she can (and should) be doing things. I’ve been trying to push it out of her. For the most part it’s working – yay!!!
Lila saysMay 16, 2016 at 5:07 am
I have definitely fallen too much into the habit of doing for my twin girls instead of letting them do for themselves.
I need to work to put myself out of a job and trust they are capable.
Susie @ Suzlyfe saysMay 16, 2016 at 5:26 am
What I love about the word and meaning of brazen is that it is to be bold and outspoken but not to do so with hubris. Brazen isn’t about being brash; it is about being confident to be you.
Lucie Palka saysMay 16, 2016 at 5:42 am
I’m not brazen enough, I’m on the side of timid. I think I should develop more confidence and be more bold or brazen.
Bea saysMay 16, 2016 at 5:59 am
I have a 12-year-old and have somehow slipped into lecturing. Even while I watched her eyes glaze over I can’t stop myself LOL
Show don’t tell needs to be the name of the game here, too.
Marcia saysMay 16, 2016 at 6:25 am
I love this so hard. Yes to all of it with my own 10 yo. My teenager was/is naturally more brazen. My 10yo not so much. But. The reports I hear from my 10 yo’s teacher are SO different than what I observe of her here. Words like “leader” “kind” and friend to everyone” are tossed about. Color me proud.
Debbie saysMay 16, 2016 at 6:30 am
Oh lord I wish you were my mom. Oh, my mom was a wonderful, brazen woman in her own right, and it was more the era in which I grew up, but I’ve had to work so hard to earn my brazen badge (not quite there yet, either). Of course, as the daughters, we don’t always know or understand the goals and methods of our mothers, do we?
Coco saysMay 16, 2016 at 6:38 am
I love brazen. It’s a word that evokes energy for me.
Heather Kelly saysMay 16, 2016 at 7:04 am
I have been told my whole life that I am too brash or too brazen! You know, I really don’t mind it! I have learned to embrass it. A few moms have told me that they need someone like me in their corner. I’ve even taught a few moms that they will need to stand up and speak for their children to get their children the help they need with the public schools here in TN. I’ve run into several parents with carseat straps that are way too loose. I refuse to stay quiet. I refuse not to say something to a mother being a bully to her child, or to a father. I question things when they should be questioned. I am not some mindless, quiet, scared little robot human. Not me! Not my kids! I will teach them to be like me. And yes, it’s taking forever to do so, but we’re getting there!
Melissa @ the Staten Island family saysMay 16, 2016 at 7:11 am
I am learning quite painfully about putting myself first. I think modeling this behavior for my 15 year old is the best way I can teach her to value herself and to be mindful of her own care. But I have to admit saying NO IS SO HARD FOR ME. It is a daily struggle.
Nettie saysMay 16, 2016 at 7:14 am
I like this a lot, Carla.
It brought to mind for me the idea of turning “play like a girl” on its head.
Was that reebok??
Terri saysMay 16, 2016 at 7:37 am
I read a book about women and substance abuse. The researcher asked addicted women when they stopped loving their self…and this related to the time their addiction started. Break out some Whitney Houston…I started brazenly encouraging self love for my granddaughter by looking in the mirror and saying we’re awesome. I was shocked that she wouldn’t say it… At 7! She thought it was bragging and that it was wrong. I keep proclaiming it for both of us so she will start believing it. I still can’t get her to say it but her friend was over and said you’re grandma’s awesome…she replied yes and she knows it! They are watching.
Carla saysMay 17, 2016 at 5:26 am
oh Terri. JUST WOW. It’s amazing how they watch. It’s shocking how they shed their selflove and confidence so early. YOU are a rockin’ grandmother and KEY in that girl’s life <3
Rena McDaniel saysMay 16, 2016 at 7:58 am
I read your posts and it makes me wish I could start with my own daughter all over again. I see all of those missed opportunities where I did it for her instead of stepping back. But life goes on and we’re on the second generation and I can’t wait to use your ideas with my granddaughter. You are a fabulous mom and one I admire and look up to tremendously.
Carla saysMay 17, 2016 at 5:25 am
Thank you so so so much for that final sentence. It really is a ‘try my best, go to bed, get up and try AGAIIIIN” thing here and I really appreciate your kind words. It’s all a crapshoot for all of us <3
Shari Eberts saysMay 16, 2016 at 8:04 am
Show, don’t tell is the name of the game. My daughter is almost 13 and she does not listen to what I say, but I feel her watching my every move. Brazen is a great mantra for life. I love it.
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home saysMay 16, 2016 at 8:09 am
Pretty sure brazen is my middle name. It was when I was little too, but during adolescence I kind of wavered. There is something horrible and mysterious that happens to girls during adolescence (and some boys) to make them lose self confidence. I still want to know why.
Carla saysMay 17, 2016 at 5:24 am
OH I AM SO SO SO DREADING THIS (she shouts) which is why Im making my own damn self turn my words inside out and attempt to think of the coming years and what may happen as an exciting challenge. My challenge with me fun and thrilling (wink) and working to keep her confidence UP when the outside world conspires to rip it down.
messymimi saysMay 16, 2016 at 8:29 am
How i wish i’d been able to read this when my children were younger. While i tried to do much of this, i didn’t have a way to say it, and when you can better define what you are trying to accomplish, it’s much easier.
Haralee saysMay 16, 2016 at 8:29 am
I love the philosophy of teaching brazen! I am more brazen now that I have the freedom of running my own business and more brazen on a personal level because I am older and feel no need to conform.
Carla saysMay 17, 2016 at 5:23 am
Im edging closer and closer to your last five words too. And I think some of our next generations may actually START THERE. In a really really good way.
Carol Cassara saysMay 16, 2016 at 8:57 am
Now that i have met you, this doesn’t surprise me at all. I can not imagine you with a child that is a shrinking violet. I love how you are raising her!
Cate saysMay 16, 2016 at 9:15 am
I am of the brazen
hussey generation 🙂
What a creative idea to twist the word and make it a more positive thing.
With all the gutsy girl talk these days I’d rather be a brazen woman.
Lara saysMay 16, 2016 at 9:19 am
I need to think a little more about what you write here with regards to your “freak flag.”
I may have been judgemental in the past as I assumed people were “freaky” for reactions and not because it’s who they authentically are.
Carla saysMay 17, 2016 at 5:22 am
This was a learning process for me as well. In my younger younger years I know Id thought the same, Lara. and then suddenly I realized WHAT THEY WERE DOING EATING ACTING SAYING WHATEVERING—had NOTHING at all to do with me. They were doing it for THEMSELVES.
Jennifer saysMay 16, 2016 at 9:49 am
I love this! I wish I’d put as much thought into raising my daughter, and son. It felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants too often. Love brazen!!!
penpen saysMay 16, 2016 at 10:05 am
Brazen. what a great word. so devoid of the pejorative.
Fawn saysMay 16, 2016 at 10:06 am
You need to take this into schools. Preferably as young as possible and show these girls the light.
Roxanne Jones saysMay 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm
Brazen is an excellent quality and attitude to teach any child, especially a girl. I’m especially fond of your #3 and #5, and was reminded of a saying I saw somewhere that said, “Your job as a parent isn’t to teach your children to lean on you, but to make leaning unnecessary.” Sounds like that’s exactly what you’re doing. Yay, you!
Claudia Schmidt saysMay 16, 2016 at 12:31 pm
I’m proud to say my brazen daughter is a Tae Kwon Do black belt and is now doing Ju jitsu so I think she’s well on her way to brazen-ness! And….I love your line #5, I work to put myself out of a job. That’s how I look at it, too. My best work will be done when they don’t need me anymore. Great post!
Carla saysMay 17, 2016 at 5:21 am
And it’s so hard some days. There are, indeed, FLEETING moments when I think: It would be GREAT to be needed more. But then I imagine her at 18 and NOT CAPABLE and living in my guest room and I snap out of that really quickly.
Dr. J saysMay 16, 2016 at 2:04 pm
There is much to like here, Carla! Gratitude is the only explanation I can find for my good fortune.
Carla saysMay 17, 2016 at 5:19 am
AMEN. Gratitude. Daily. Repeat.
Jody - Fit at 58 saysMay 16, 2016 at 2:49 pm
I need to do all that for myself especially 1!
green diva meg saysMay 16, 2016 at 3:25 pm
love this post and the word and the way you have chosen to use it to raise real young women. i have three grown girls ages 23 – 31 and one 4-year-old granddaughter. i think i’ve done this w/out focusing on the word brazen, but i’m sharing it w/ my daughter who is the mother of the granddaughter . . .
Carla saysMay 17, 2016 at 5:19 am
Thanks so much for sharing my words. It’s working here! (um so far…and right now anyway :-)).
Glenda saysMay 16, 2016 at 9:38 pm
Heck yeah, I’ve become brazen. It’s as if the meaning of the word enveloped me when I blew out my 50 candles. And I’m not looking back. You’re raising an awesome woman. Good for you…her, Carla!
Carla saysMay 17, 2016 at 5:18 am
OH I ADORE THAT ABOUT THE CANDLES. I need to kick ass and take names when I launch that decade as well.
Deborah saysMay 17, 2016 at 1:55 am
To me brazen means fearless. Something I’d like to be.
Carla saysMay 17, 2016 at 5:18 am
YES and here I needed to friend fear…to dance with fear…in order to truly “get it.”
cheryl saysMay 17, 2016 at 6:09 am
I did…sometimes she shocks me she is so “up front” with others with her rightfully-so demands and abilities to negotiate and state her wants/needs and passions… but as I said before…I let other women “in” to help and she sifted out what she needed and didn’t need. There are many reverse barometers….thank god for them too!
Fawn saysMay 17, 2016 at 6:12 am
I have two daughters and raised them both the exact same way.
One is very confident and exceedingly brazen. The other is not.
I wonder how much is nature versus nurture?
laurie @ Musings, Rants & Scribbles saysMay 17, 2016 at 9:10 am
Carla, Love all these so much. Learning that fear is okay is huge. Its a sign we’re pushing ourselves and being brave. What a great gift to give a child, to learn how to be courageous.
Also love how grit is rewarded as much as success. So important.
Laura @ Mommy Run Fast saysMay 17, 2016 at 9:55 am
What a powerful word. This is really perfect timing as we finish up kindergarten and I’m starting to figure out how to do less so she steps up and does more. And I love the idea of celebrating her grit more than successes. So many wise insights in this post, thank you!!
Caryn/The Mid Life Guru saysMay 17, 2016 at 12:41 pm
What a great word!!! Thanks for the inspiration!!