I read them all the time. The “what would you tell your X year old self” articles. Reflecting back on life lessons and how I would advise the younger me in career, education, self-image and love. However the strange thing is, I CAN.
You see, my eldest daughter is a mini-me. Whilst we are very different in some ways (she is so much more active than I ever was) I sometimes feel like I am having a time travelling / body swapping experience when I hear her concerns and frustrations and fears.
Like me: She is the eldest child
Like me: She is academically strong
Like me: She ties herself up in knots with a fear of failure.
It has been there for as long as she has spoken; the pressure she puts herself under, when in fact both myself and her Dad whilst motivated, are more free-range than tiger parents. It comes out in a variety of ways; one particular time involved her asking, in tears, for the whole of the front of the brick house repainted white to make her “fun” school homework more accurate (as she didn’t have time to create the brick effect.)
Through some quirk of genetics and nurture, I am able to tell this bundle of energy and potential all the things that I would have loved my parents to say to me growing up. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are amazing, but they often struggle with the way I view myself and the world around me. I am able to metaphorically reach into her brain and feel all the feels she is experiencing; as they were exactly what I went through (and still do as a thirty-something, business-owning, mum of two).
These are the things that I want her to remember…
Advice to my Daughter
1. If something is difficult it just means you can’t do it yet. It is always worth trying.
2. You can’t fail; everything is a learning opportunity.
3. Success is often in the journey; what you did, how you did it and the fun you had is more important than the end result.
4. The world has lots of grey areas; you are allowed to do things differently.
Every time the occasion arises, be it a homework challenge or a last minute change of plan, I use the words that would have soothed me as a child. And in return, my inner child is reminded and my actual child, my dear daughter, can relax.
About Clara Wilcox
Clara runs The Balance Collective. She is a mum of two with over a decade’s experience in recruitment and coaching. She offers career and return to work coaching for parents and flexible working consultancy and workshops for businesses. Find out more on The Balance Collective website or find Clara on Facebook, Twitter or connect with on LinkedIn!
Image: Clara Wilcox