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Leading By Example For Our Daughters

Leading By Example For Our Daughters

This one’s for the daughters. And the lives we want for them.

I really adore men. I love my gentlemanly father. My brother is my best friend. My husband keeps us all together. And my son is dead set on fighting the world’s inequalities.

But then there are the creeps who gave my daughter the up-and-down look at the airport last summer.

For me, as a mother, it was a shocker of a moment.

I want her to have great men in her life, like she does today. But what if she goes to work at an Uber? Or at a Salomon Brothers, like I did. What if she marries someone who doesn’t treat her well?

I’m sometimes asked what I tell my daughter: what I tell her about how to choose a career. What I tell her about money. What I tell her about investing. So that she doesn’t get hopelessly caught in a bad situation.

[Related: My Most Important Working-Mom Question]

IMO, it’s not all about what we tell our daughters, or any of the younger women in our lives; they’ll likely forget what we say.

It’s about what we show them.

I want to show them that we stand up for ourselves. That we support other women. That we keep going when the going gets tough. That we get out of bed the day after we didn’t get the promotion and get back in there anyway. That we get out of bed the day after we got fired and start looking for the next, better opportunity anyway. That we don’t feel like we have to be society’s version of the perfect female and have the perfect work-life balance.

That we own our money, whether it’s more than our partner’s or less than we’d hoped.

That we don’t buy the “math is hard” and “money is scary” stuff we get from society. That we don’t let a financial advisor who talks down to us get in the way of our living the life we want. That we check our brokerage accounts and our 401(k) accounts on a Saturday afternoon. That this money lets us live the life we want to…and gives us the power to impact the world around us.

It’s not “tell.” It’s “show.”

A life well-lived is something we all want for our daughters. We should want it whether we are men or women, whether we are their mothers or their fathers.


This article first appeared on Ellevest

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