workzine

Moriah Erickson, 10/29/2012

Current Occupation: respiratory therapist

Former Occupation: hairdresser at a funeral home

Contact Information: Moriah Erickson lives in Duluth, MN with her husband, 7 children and one very hairy hound dog. Her work has been published in numerous journals. She is currently pursuing a MFA from Fairfield University in CT. Her hobbies include laundry, vacuuming and cooking for mass consumption.

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Daughters

When they are born, children look to their mothers for comfort. This continues through childhood, be it a skinned knee or hurt feelings. When children reach adolescence, they feign self-sufficience through young adulthood. And then they realize that they are forever joined to their mothers, whether they like it or not, and they seek their comfort there again. Any way you look at it, being a parent and more specifically a mother, is a lifelong job that pays only in love and heartache.

What our daughters need to know
(or what we wish we had known as girls)

My folks tried to prepare me for the “real world,” they really did. I tried to figure a lot of it out on my own, because asking just isn’t my style, and telling wasn’t my parents’ style. So, as a direct result of this don’t-ask-don’t-tell relationship, I was pretty naïve.

Now I have girls of my own. There are things that I want them to know, things my parents never told me. Things I learned the hard way. Things all girls should know, no matter where they live or how privileged they are. These are those things:

Learn to drive a stick-shift. Inevitably, someday you will be somewhere and want to leave and the only way to go will be to drive a stick. So rather than be dependent and weak, why not be wise and worldly and able? Don’t wait for someone to offer to teach you; these days those people are few and far- between, and cars are far more likely automatics than not. Make a point to learn this skill. You don’t have to be good at it, but you should be able.

Learn to change a tire. Same concept. AAA is great, but when you rely on any service too heavily, they will undoubtedly fail you in your neediest moment. Learn to do it, so when they fail, you aren’t stranded.

Learn that all the boys (men) who say they love you, don’t. Only the ones who act as though they love you really do. Its proven over and over that actions speak louder than any words, even when they are the words you want to hear. Learn also that if someone loves you, you do not have to love them back, but you do need to treat them kindly. Love doesn’t necessarily mean
sex, and sex doesn’t necessarily mean love, ladies.

Learn to throw a football, catch a baseball, and bring a man to his knees in an instant. These things will render you both fascinating and dangerous, something every female needs to be, at least a little bit.

Learn that tigers do not change their stripes. Once a cheater, always a cheater. No matter how good you are, there will always be someone who is perceived as better by someone with a wandering eye. You deserve better than that, anyway.

Never have more children than you can care for alone, and always have the means to make a decent living before you start having children. Be prepared to walk away if you have to.

Love only those who are worthy of love, and those who will love you back with the same fervor.

Having daughters has changed the way I look at the world. It has changed the way I look at boys, men, and my sons. Young girls learn primarily by example, but these are the things I would tell them every day if I could. I try to set the best example I can, I try to be the strong, smart, worldly woman I want my girls to someday be. But there were things I learned the hard way, the way I would never want my girls to learn them.

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  1. Moriah!!! That was a very good read for sure. I remember you as a little girl with those beautiful blue eyes and a mind of her own. I loved reading your article and it is so you. I can’t believe you are mommy to seven kids.! That’s great. They will grow up to be self sufficient I’m sure. Take care my friend. Cheryl

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