Guest editor Mari-Louise Candiotes says she and her husband always wanted a big family: a messy home turned upside down and inside out with love and laughter. However, she never expected to be a mama to only girls.

Glitter, impromptu tea parties, plays, and rock-n-roll performances, any excuse to dress up! There’s never a shortage of giggles and cackling in our home but raising three girls is so much more than just pink, fluffy dreams. Our little ladies are fierce, future girl-bosses ready to take over the boardroom or race track, whichever they set their minds to.

Life’s busy, overwhelming at times, LOUD, and somedays you can’t help but want to run for the hills. But that will never happen ‒ not with the blessings our three girls bring.

Our girls give me confidence

Looking back at my 20-something self, I had many insecurities, mostly regarding body image. Whether it was my ears, my untoned arms, the way my hair never curled just right … I picked myself apart, looking for flaws. I lacked confidence, not knowing my own strength and beauty.

I didn’t understand true beauty until I saw my own “flaws” reflected in our girls. Sharing traits that bothered me with our daughters made me realise the insignificance of them and how true beauty dances in our unique flaws. Those parts of us, so strange, so different, so special, so perfect, are only a part of us.

Our girls show me who I am

Having a girl is like having a little mirror that reflects parts of womanhood you’ve long forgotten or take for granted. Seeing our girls grow and develop gives me a newfound appreciation for the wonder our female bodies hold.

We are born with an inherent capacity for selflessness, compassion and service, immeasurable strength and endless perseverance: traits that should be nurtured and celebrated, not exploited or seen as weak or wrong.

Raising women has made me proud to be a woman.

Our girls teach me what matters most

Juggling different schedules, keeping up with work demands, making time for friends and family ‒ it all seems impossible, because finding that elusive perfect balance simply doesn’t exist. When you are outnumbered you need to be resourceful. Planning, organising, learning to say no and prioritising aren’t just life skills anymore, but necessities! This is how I ensure I put our family first.

Our girls bring us closer together

Parenting will throw you more than a few curveballs: unexpected illnesses, midnight trips to the ER, educational challenges, developmental problems, financial strains … you name it, we’ve been through it. These are moments that test you mentally, emotionally and physically.

In those moments I have learned to grab hold of my husband, crumbling in his arms so that I can safely pick up the pieces and be strong again. And the same applies for him. Each testing experience has been a building block for a stronger marriage.

As our family grows, so do I

I have achieved so much more because I am a mom, not in spite of being one. I am a completely different person than the one I was before I was a mom. I look at the world in a different light and each of our daughters teaches me lessons I need to learn to become the best version of myself.

They are my motivators, my cheerleaders and biggest fans (may that last forever). I may be raising our girls, but they are returning the favour, moulding me into a woman.

I could not have dreamt up a more wonderful family and I would not trade any moment (the good or the bad) for anything else. I love being a girl mama – the only thing that could possibly be better than raising three girls, would be adding a fourth little person to our clan.

About the author: Mari-Louise Candiotes lives in Pretoria with her husband and three daughters aged eight, five and almost three. She blogs at https://justamamma.com/, where you’ll find plenty of inspiration for your parenting journey.

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