Written by Rebecca Raynham.
Lately, I have been thinking about my children as adults and what they will be like. I think about some of the things they may face as they get older - bullying, sexual harassment, gender bias, grief, love, heartbreak. I hope as a parent I can keep open dialogue with them about many different topics. There are so many things that I want them to know. I have written a list of some of them below;
1. Go with your gut and follow your instincts. If something feels wrong, then you shouldn't be doing it.
2. Be you and not what someone else wants you to be.
3. Pausing your career to become a mother or father doesn't make you less of a person. That being said, if you do want to continue your career, fight for your right to keep your job whilst still being a parent, if you have to.
4. If you decide that you prefer women to men, or men to women, or neither, that is more than OK.
5. We are all human. We are all equal. Being one type of person doesn't mean you are better than others. We all deserve equal rights. We all deserve respect. We should all strive to respect others and not to suppress them.
6. We all make mistakes. It's how you deal with them that's important. Own up to them and find a way to learn from the experience. Learn to recognise when the error is your own and don't pass the blame on to others.
7. Never put cold milk on your tea bag, before hot water. Just never do it.
8. Happiness is wonderful, but shouldn't be the only thing that you strive for in life. That's not what life is about. Its OK to not be OK sometimes.
9. Sometimes people in your life won't realise your worth. Sometimes you will feel like you're not being heard. As long as you know what you are capable of (and that is a lot), then that is what matters.
10. You might get told multiple times in your life that you can't do something because of the sex that you are. That is total bollocks. Boys can wear pink. Girls can become astrophysicists. Both can be loving and kind and gentle. Both can be strong, independant and talented.
11. No means no. Your body is your own. Love your body and be proud of it and protect it. Respect other's bodies and hear what they are saying. Never feel entitled.
12. If someone is intimidated by your intelligence, they are not worth even a minute of your time.
13. You don't deserve more pay, just because you are male. You don't deserve to earn less, because you have a womb.
14. Don't base your value on your wealth, your partner or your friend's.
15. No matter how far you decide to travel, I will support you and be there, should you need an instant plane ride home again.
16. Not everyone is from the same mould. Not every path looks the same. You need to do what is right for you, even if that might not be the usual or "done" thing.
17. If a stranger is rude to you in public - try not to judge them. They are probably having a really shit day.
18. Own your feelings. Own how others make you feel. If someone makes you feel bad about yourself, use it as an opportunity to gain insight into your own mindset. It is more than likely to be a reflection on how YOU are doing, rather than what the other person is doing.
19. Never do the weekly food shop when you are really hungry. You will come home with marshmallows and cakes and will forget the bread and milk.
20. In the grand scheme of things, this life is only temporary and fleeting. Fill it with love.
21. Fresh air is good for the soul.
22. If you are having a day where everything is getting on top of you, look up at the sky and imagine all of the planets and galaxies. Before you know it, you will be wondering how many universes there actually are and what the weather is like on Mars that evening... basically it will make you think, "fuck it, everything that I am worrying about is irrelevant." It's quite a freeing feeling.
23. Try and live your life with good intentions and kindness.
24. Whatever it is, don't be afraid to tell me.
25. I will always love you.