To my 9 year old daughter: 13 things you need to know about life

To Léna – my 9 year old daughter,

When you were born, back in December 2006, I was very aware that you were only on loan to us for 18 years, when – if we’d done our job properly – you would take off on your own wings to lead your own independent life.

Back then, when you were a tiny newborn in my arms, that seemed like a hundred years away. But now you’re 9 and we’re halfway there, and suddenly it looks very soon!

Mum holding newborn baby: To my 9 year old daughter - 13 things you need to know about life l l French and English Parenting and Lifestyle Ramblings

Me holding you in December 2006 when you were just 8 days old

So I thought at this halftime point I should share with you the wisdom of my 40 years, and my experience of life, happiness, sadness, laughter, tears, ups and downs.

The 13 things you need to know about life (yes 13 because I make the rules here!): for you, my lovely 9 year old daughter…

1) Be you

There will be times when you feel you should change or conform to make people like you. But don’t. You are incredible as you are. Those who you will want to have as friends will come to you and love you as you are.

2) Live every day.

It’s easy to moan about a hard day at school or work. It’s easy to see everything that went wrong (the bus was late, it was raining, you had an argument with your boyfriend), but concentrate on what went right and you’ll see that more and more things go right.

3) Not everyone is nice

As you go through life you will meet people who are not nice. For whatever reason. This could be a so-called friend. It could be a boyfriend. It could be a colleague. It could be a teacher. No matter who it is, rise above it. Be the bigger person and don’t lower yourself to their level. It is very hard to be nasty to someone who is being nice back, and who doesn’t rise to the bait.

4) Never do something you’re not comfortable with

No matter who puts pressure on you to do it – whether it’s friends making you feel you should try something or you won’t be “cool”, or a boyfriend putting pressure on you to do something against your will or he will dump you. Know that you are cool and those friends are not real friends if they think that way. Know that you deserve a boyfriend who respects you and your choices, so you should be dumping him in that case!

5) Do a job that makes your heart sing

You are likely to spend the majority of your waking hours doing your job, so you’ve got to love it. Do what makes you happy, not what other people want you to do, or what you think you “ought” to do. Also change it when it stops making you happy. YOU decide, no one else.

6) Work hard, have fun

It is important to work hard, whether at school, for an employer or as your own boss. However it is equally important to have fun. Give it your all when you work, to have a sense of satisfaction, to have no regrets and to not let anyone down (teachers, bosses, clients). But have fun – for you, but also for those you are working for as your work will be better for it.

7) Live for yourself

If you are seeking approval from others you will always be disappointed. People might think what you are doing is great but never tell you, which will make you feel bad if you’re waiting for that compliment. Set your own goals and objectives, and congratulate yourself when you reach them. Don’t wait for or expect others to do it for you – they are too busy dealing with their own lives, so make sure you get your own approval.

8) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

You know that I am not religious, but there are lots of bits of the bible that make sense (and no doubt other religious books, it’s just the bible is the one I know!). So what does this mean? It means treat others as you would like to be treated.

Be respectful. Don’t put others down. Don’t bad talk others, whether to their face or behind their back. Be on time (ahem, that one needs some work!). Help people out when they need it, as you, yourself, may need help one day.

9) Never settle

If all your friends have got good stable jobs, but you hate yours go and find another one (see point 5).

If all your friends are getting married and/or having children, but you’re single or you can’t imagine doing this with your boyfriend. DO NOT settle. Keep being the fabulous you that you already are and Mr Right will come along.

10) Trust your gut

You have already got a good moral compass. You know right from wrong. You know what you like and what you don’t like. So if you’re not sure, use your gut instinct, and trust that it will take you the right way. Take some time out and listen to what your gut/heart/voice in your head is telling you. Trust that it is right.

11) Learn to make decisions

Making decisions rarely comes easily and it’s a talent to perfect in order to lead a happier life. Once you overcome the fear of what others think, the fear of failure, the fear of the unknown the world becomes your oyster and you’ll be able to be or do whatever you want.

12) Live where you want

People will always criticise you on your decisions, especially about the job you do and where you live. So ignore them and live where you want. You want to live in a caravan in the middle of nowhere? Go for it! You want to live in a tiny shoe box but in a great location? Do it! You want to move around and not settle anywhere? Why not?

13) Don’t worry about others’ insecurities

In life people will put their worries, jealousies and insecurities onto you in the form of “concern”. If you make a decision that they don’t like, makes them jealous, or worries them they may well try and make you change your mind, or tell you clearly it’s the “wrong” decision. Whilst it hurts and it’s hard to hear, remember they’re seeing it through their own eyes, with their own worries and fears. They don’t know what you want / need or what you can do. Listen, smile and ignore 🙂

I could have made this a list with 10 or 15 things, but you know what? I like that it’s 13 things you need to know about life, as then you know that, without mentioning it, superstition is nothing to worry about 😉

To my lovely 9 year old daughter Léna – you are FABULOUS already, you are your own person, you are strong, motivated and you will go very far. Remember these points and you will find it hard not to have a happy and successful life on all fronts.

I love you and you will always be my baby, even when you’re soaring off on your 18 year old wings.

In April I will be running a free webinar and it will be for you if any of the following applies to you:

  • you struggle to make decisions
  • you’re afraid of change
  • you don’t know which risks to take and which to avoid
  • you have fears around all of this (fear of making the wrong decision, fear of change, fear of other people’s opinions of the decisions you make, fear of failure etc).
  • you want to know more about my journey from homeless and jobless, living at my parents’ house with my husband and 3 year old a few years ago to living the dream on a tropical island now

A little bit of background for those who don’t know me…

10 years ago I had just moved into my forever home, which we’d seen go from architect’s plans to our family home, I was pregnant with my first child, and in a good, well-paid job. In the last decade we have sold the forever home, moved country twice (including to one where we know no one and have never visited, in Africa), I have given up two good, well-paid jobs to set up on my own and known failure and success.

I get emails from you, my lovely readers, every day asking me how I / we made those decisions, and asking for advice. So I thought I’d share how I’ve done it, the thought processes I go through and more. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in please drop me a line with your time zone and what time/day would suit you:


6 Responses

  1. This is such a lovely post and full of so much sensible advice. My daughter turned 10 this week and I had one of those ‘Oh my God, she’s halfway to 20 moments’. I think this is a post for my girl too!
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…The Slaughter Man by Tony ParsonsMy Profile

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      I hope your girl liked this post too – it’s a bit daunting that “we’re halfway there” moment!

  2. Très très bien dit. Ceci de la part d’un Mauricien qui vit en Australie. Je dirais la même chose à ma jeune fille de 17 ans.

  3. What a lovely post! What I especially love is your emphasis on her individuality, making her own mistakes, finding her own path and being true to her own calling. She will take after her mama I’m sure, and it’s wonderful that you’re giving her your blessing so early on. I’m sure she’ll treasure this in years to come and happy birthday, 9 is an awesome year x

    • Franglaise Mummy says:

      Thanks lovely – I really hope she will come back to this time and time again, to draw strength from it as life does its best to batter her down.

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