How can I raise my daughter to be a boss?
“When I grow up, I’m going to be a boss just like you!” my daughter said.
I should point out that I’m not an ACTUAL boss. I don’t run my own company or even manage a team. However, as far as my daughter knows, I’m the boss of the house. This means when I say that it’s time for her to get her pajamas on, brush her teeth or eat her dinner, she should listen to me. In theory.
My husband and I told her that I’m the first boss and he’s the second boss, purely because I need a more senior title to make up for the fact that she gives me more shit. She has elected herself boss of the cat. He respects no authority, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to tell him what to do.
I’m glad that she sees herself as a future boss, anyway. Better that than bossy, an adjective that often gets applied to assertive girls who aren’t afraid to share their opinions. I’ve often worried about her confidence, given how shy and introverted she is. Every time I turned up at a parent’s night at her nursery (because yes, that’s a thing), I was told that she barely talks to anyone all day, and my heart would break a little bit.
“We’re working on her confidence,” her teachers would say. My daughter is thriving in every other way – she’s polite, learns new skills quickly, never acts up (at nursery, at least) – but it’s hard for her to speak up. This is a kid who doesn’t stop talking from the moment I pick her up until the moment she goes to bed. It’s like she’s been containing it all day and it all comes bubbling out as soon as she feels comfortable.
I wish being social wasn’t so hard for her.
It’s possible that she’ll grow out of it, but it’s more likely that she’ll simply figure out ways to hide it, like most of us introverts do. We learn how to act like people who really enjoy interacting with lots people, even though it takes a lot out of us. We smile at the right times and say all the right things, all while wondering how long we need to keep it up before it’s socially acceptable to get the hell out of there.
My husband and I are both pretty solid extrovert impersonators, but man, it’s hard going. He was recently travelling for work and called me up to tell me some horrible news.
“When I checked into the hotel, the woman at the desk told me that they’re going to push the breakfast tables together so we can mingle with other people who are attending the event,” he said.
“That sounds awful,” I said.
“I KNOW,” he said. We were both thinking the same thing – there’s nothing worse than being forced to interact with total strangers before you’ve had your first coffee.
There’s also a part of me that worries that I’m not a good enough ‘boss’ role model for my daughter. I should really be out there shaking things up and smashing glass ceilings instead of holding a steady public sector job, right? There are lots of benefits to my job – flexible working hours, a variety of new challenges, the feeling that I’m contributing to the Scottish economy rather than some corporation’s bottom line – but is it ‘boss’ enough? Maybe not.
Or maybe working in an ambitious new role four days a week, on top of raising a child, cooking meals from scratch most nights, maintaining a clean(ish) house, volunteering my time to support a cause that I believe in, and managing my anxiety is pretty ‘boss’. I might not be running my own Fortune 500 company, but I’m running my life in a semi-successful fashion for the most part, and there’s something to be said for that.