Blog post “To our daughters: A guide to being a woman of substance.”

Graduations are looming, preparations are happening as quickly as the Spring flowers are coming into bloom. We are blinking and our kids are growing. Moving on. From Preschool to High School, to cars, braces and boys (not in that order necessarily!) As we move and sway to the Mambo of holding on and letting go, moments arise where we want to sit our daughters down and speak to them about, well…life. And even though they are not listening due to the effort of rolling their eyes at you, we still feel the need to impart some kind of…. wisdom, code, faith, ….something of value. But how do we adequately express the good/bad/ugly/hold onto the railing/stuff of life? Present an open road? I wrote a list. Feel free to laugh or print it out and burn it or post it on your daughter’s mirror. Add to it if you like, present your own “importants.” Because honestly, you haven’t really been able to complete a full sentence with her since about 2009 anyway. She can’t interrupt a letter! You won Mom!!!

So here we go– (why do I feel it necessary to cross myself before typing the first word??)

Throw off the covers: An emerging woman’s guide to life:

Banish the tip toeing, the diplomacy, the hierarchy of how things should be.

Lets have them how they can be.

Right now.

Here is my how to guide for being a woman of substance. Pay attention, it gets tricky as you go.

1) No matter what you are wearing, be it sweatpants or taffeta take time to put on intention and dignity.
And when you do, don’t be dainty about it. Put it on like a girl who knows what’s ahead of her.
Even when you don’t.

2) Do not apologize for who you are. Contrary to what the magazines and some time friends may say, you are enough. No need to be more of anything. Be you.

3) Get some sun. Be bold, go outside, soak it all in. Bring nature to you like family. Expand your sights to things bigger than yourself. Feel humble by the mountains, small by the sea.

4) Drink water, unplug and breathe. There is nothing that is so important that cannot wait until you do those things. Believe me, life will be waiting for you once you return.

5) Make good friends. Have them be the people you can call on when that boy breaks your heart and who will cheer for you when you cross the finish line. There will be moments in your life when they will be the ones keeping your head above water. Cherish them. Be a good friend back.

6) Laugh.
So hard and so loud it makes people uncomfortable. Makes you feel full.

7) You don’t have to answer anybody’s questions. Especially when they are rude and asked with a smile. It’s not your business what others think of you, be mysterious; give them something to whisper about at the grocery store.

8) Make it personal. Forget what you have been told.
If you don’t like it/him/her scrap em’ in the bin.

9) Listen. To everything. Every motion and twinge, every single pull of your heart. It’s a road map.
Follow it.

10) Give till you break. But only for the things/people that are worth it. Let me repeat. Only the ones that are worth it.

11) Be in the world but not of it. This world places great importance on things that are frivolous. Do not get wrapped up in it. Repeat # 3 and # 4.

12) Be of service. There is no greater thing you can do in this world. It can be within your family or for an entire country. What direction that takes is up to you.

13) Be honest. Nothing in this world is more precious than being able to put your head on your pillow at night knowing you have done your best and right action has flowed through you.

14) Remember love does not hurt. It does not make you scared, confused or trapped. It does not require you to mend damage; broken wings or cups with breaks. Love will lift you up, enabling you to settle in your bones. It compliments, connects and makes our lives rich and pure, trusting and joyful.
Do not settle for anything less. Ever.

15) Piggybacking on # 14. Make sure you know who you are before becoming part of an us.
Choose wisely. Choose wisely. Choose wisely.

And finally; know that we are forever in your corner, forever by your side.

About the author: Andrea Ardito is a writer for hire who often times rocks a bit in a corner before doling out advice to her kids. She calms herself with a mantra of “What would Jackie O. do?” So far it’s working for her. You may view her blog at

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