Getting Beyond Bossy

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The hubbub about saving our daughters from the “Bossy”  label might be waning but I still feel a need to weigh in.

I had to think about it a bit.

I’m pretty sure I was called bossy at some point in my youth and I am also pretty sure that being bossy was not viewed as a positive trait in my childhood home. In fact, my paternal grandmother was endlessly villainized and mocked for these very qualities, as was pretty much any outspoken woman in our family.

I’m sad as an adult to admit I always had a fear of coming off too much like my grandmother. Bossy for a woman, in my home culture, still equalled abrasive, unwomanly and worthy of scorn.

I find myself offering apologies to the air now. Hoping she’ll hear me. What did I really know about her life? That from all her siblings and parents, she alone managed to be the sole survivor of the Holocaust. That she made the most of an often tough and  certainly grief filled existence here. That she managed to raise three successful sons. Bossy’s looking a lot better as I age.

When it came to my own daughters, I resolved from the start to raise them a little differently, with strong voices. This isn’t always easy. Sometimes outspoken IS abrasive and their demands can be overwhelming, and seem selfish at times. But that’s no reason to silence them.

One thing has made it easier for me not to squash their leadership spirit and to embrace their beautifully bossy natures.  All I have to do is remember.

For many women and girls,  like my grandmother and my daughter, bossy is not merely a first world  phrase or an executive marketing ploy. It’s a survival skill.

I wrote about raising daughters and getting beyond Bossy on my Babble Blog, if you care to read.

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4 Responses to Getting Beyond Bossy
  1. Amanda
    March 17, 2014 | 10:26 am

    I remember being ashamed of my opinions and my will, I felt like I needed to quiet them. Now, as I raise three daughters, I’d rather they have the ability to be bossy, than the instinct to suppress anything remotely bossy about themselves.

  2. momfluential
    March 17, 2014 | 11:37 am

    Exactly Amanda. To this day my first instinct is to set my own opinions aside, and listen to everyone else’s first. I hate to suggest a restaurant, etc and the irony is that everyone always wants me to plan everything and I end up making plans on what everyone else wants, not what I do. Most of the time ;) I’ve become very skilled at being competent at many different things, so I can just quietly get things done myself, without having to boss others around. It’s exhausting.

  3. Elisa Camahort Page
    March 17, 2014 | 5:45 pm

    “I find myself offering apologies to the air now. Hoping she’ll hear me. What did I really know about her life? That from all her siblings and parents, she alone managed to be the sole survivor of the Holocaust. That she made the most of an often tough and certainly grief filled existence here. That she managed to raise three successful sons. Bossy’s looking a lot better as I age.”

    Ciaran, that is just beautiful.

  4. momfluential
    March 17, 2014 | 6:43 pm

    Thanks Elisa.

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