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'I fear the lack of confidence I possessed as a girl will hold back my little girl in our masculine culture'

Mother Ethna Quirke describes her worries for her daughter’s future.

Ethna Quirke

MY DAUGHTER IS amazing. She’s clever and funny and kind and a million things rolled into one beautiful package.

She’s asleep beside me, curled up with her favourite blankie, a raggedy old thing, that was once her older brothers’.

She looks so peaceful, content now that the anxieties that drove her from her own bed to mine have been kissed away.

Watching her dream makes my heart swell. I want so much for her, this incredible girl of mine, who tests me every single day with her fierce determination.

DSC_0213 Source: Ethna Quirke via The Quirkey Momma

The very things that challenge me while trying to parent her are the things I’m most proud of – her passion, her spirit, her tenacity, her confidence, her creativity, her exuberance. She loves and loathes with equal ferociousness.

Watching her chest rise and fall I smile. I smile because she’s the kind of girl who throws her clothes off in the store so she can immediately wear the new dress we’ve bought.

I smile because when I’m in the middle of correcting her she’ll turn her shining green eyes towards me and blow me a kiss.

I smile because when she puts her little arms around my neck and tells me I’m the best mom in the universe I know there could be no greater compliment.

I think about a time in the future when she might hold her own child and in that moment understand how utterly she is loved. I smile because yesterday she asked me how to spell shoe rack!

DSC_1166 Source: Ethna Quirke via The Quirkey momma

And I worry. I worry because the very word vagina still causes blushes. I worry because breasts, partially covered by a nursing baby’s head cause hysteria.

I worry because around the world almost one third of women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and or sexual violence by their partner.

I worry because for all our advancements as a society, my daughter is still growing up in a country where women are paid 14% less than men.

The board members of the largest publicly listed companies here are 90% male. Gender quotas are being introduced to boost the paltry representation of women in Dail Eireann.

The difficulty with quotas is that they don’t tackle our culture of masculinity and they sure don’t foot the bill for some of the most expensive childcare in the world.

I worry that against this backdrop my daughter will doubt herself, her capabilities, her power. I fear that the same lack of confidence I possessed as a girl will hold her back.

I hope that I am doing enough to build her up so tall that life won’t knock her down. I so desperately want the world to hold its magic for her.

She’s my princess, my warrior, my adventurer, my comic. She’s my girl.

Ethna Quirke is a mother of three based in Co Carlow, she writes the blog The Quirky Momma

Read: 12 things I wish someone had told me before having kids>

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