Every now and then your friends inspire you to think differently. One day, a bunch of my girls and I got together (OK, it was women from my online moms group, because of course it was) and asked one another the best lesson our mothers ever taught us. I said that my mom always told me that you should maintain your own identity outside of motherhood, and moreover to let your kids see it. Another friend said that her mother told her that, for some women, having a career made them better mothers. But the piece of advice that always stuck with me came from my friend whose mother always said:
Never let anyone cut ahead of you in line.
This simple rule really spoke to me. I was raised by a fierce feminist mama, but in spite of that I've always been unusually adverse to anything that might be perceived as confrontation. (I blame being raised in New England.) This includes, among many things, someone cutting in line. Why rock the boat for something that's not really a big deal? It's one more person ahead of you. It's going to be more unpleasant to call them out than to deal with the extra wait.
But is it?
For one thing, they're not just cutting you — they're cutting everyone behind you. So one could see calling them out as a public service. For another thing, it's not rude of you to point out that they've committed a faux pas (you can inform them very politely as to where the end of the line is). And lastly, you should always feel empowered to stand up for yourself. Even if the person in question has only cut in front of you, you're worth defending. And yes, part of this is the principle of the thing, but what I like about this life rule is this: If you can get it into your head that you are "allowed" to tell someone not to cut the line, you can extrapolate that into bigger, more important situations. So thanks, friend of mine, and your mom, for this game changer.
While standing up for yourself is good advice for everyone, let's keep it real here for a second: As a group, girls and women need to be encouraged in this area more than boys and men because #patriarchyproblems. So how can feminist parents encourage their girls to stand up for themselves when society will often discourage such behavior? Here's how.