About a week before Christmas, my daughter Miranda asked me if the two of us could go see The Nutcracker.
She seems to want more mom-daughter time of late. Perhaps because she's getting older, perhaps because she feels 'work time' is displacing 'mom time'. (My friend Stacey has encouraged me me to share the challenges of my recent on-ramping. There are many; one day I'll go into more detail.)
For now, it's enough to know that one of the challenges is -- my children liked having mom around more, and now that I'm around less, they miss me. So I wasn't all that surprised that Miranda suggested a girls' night out.
What did surprise me was her ability to articulate so easily what she wanted. Because -- I just don't know that many women (including myself) who ask for what we want all that well.
Think about it.
When was the last time that a woman you know (or you yourself) asked simply and directly for something?
No martyrdom, no manipulation, etc., etc, -- just stated their want (without making it a need) and asked.
That's what I thought.
In Anna Fels' article titled Do Women Lack Ambition?, she writes that our cultural ideals of femininity do not include women asking for resources, whether those resources involve time, money, praise. If we do ask, we feel selfish, and others are likely to believe us to be selfish as well.
This Christmas there were many lovely gifts given and received (including my Blackberry Curve), but taking Miranda to see The Nutcracker (as my mother did me), and hearing her ask for this outing, without even a nanosecond's worry that she would be jeopardizing her femininity, was without a doubt, among the best gifts.
When was the last time that you were direct about what you wanted? For example, just today, when I wanted something I'd left in the car, instead of asking my husband, "Will you go out to the car and get me x", I said "Are you going out to the car?"
Do you know an adult woman who ask for what she wants -- and gets it? What can we learn from her?
What can we do to encourage our daughters to continue asking, and believing they'll receive?
P.S. Is this one happy girl or what?