To my daughter: “Don’t say sorry. Don’t apologise for being who you are”

Posted in Relationships.

Mum and blogger Toni Hammer said she ‘woke up in a very girl power mood’ the day she penned this personal manifesto for her daughter….

To my daughter,Don't apologize when someone else bumps into you.Don't say "sorry to be such a pain." You're not a…

Posted by Toni Hammer Coaching on Friday, 22 September 2017

“Don’t apologize for being who you are”

Toni who blogs at Is It Bedtime Yet? shared the letter to her daughter on Facebook. People have responded with a collective big thumbs-up and shared it widely.

In a world sprinkled with often ill-advised, moralistic or judgemental ‘inspirational’ quotes, Toni’s mum-to-daughter advice sets a much more sensible, personal and empowered tone. Granted it might seem a little… um… bossy, but it’s actually intended to be more passionate than prescriptive, and we prefer that over polite compliance any day.

Toni explained that some big transitions led up to her putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and that she has high hopes for her little girl as she finds her place in the world.

“My daughter started kindergarten this year which really heightened my anxiety,” Toni told Babble. 

“I was picked on a lot in school and I was projecting my fears and experiences onto her … she’s got friends and things are going great, part of me still worries about that first time she is made to feel less than … so I wanted to put something on paper … something that [reminded her that] not everyone will like who we are and that’s okay.”

“Don’t apologize when someone else bumps into you”

So that’s what she did.

For starters, Toni’s letter broaches the problem with apologies. You know the ones? Where you cross paths with someone and say ‘sorry’ for being in the same space as them or taking your turn first or even apologise for simply existing? Ugh.

Toni’s keen for her daughter to avoid this default, which is very often drummed into women, from an early age. A good thing too, because it’s unfair, unwarranted and does us no favours.

Other items on Toni’s letter list include communicating simply and honestly, not smiling on command, being independent, expressing herself freely, following her own rules when it comes to how she looks and working at a relaxed approach to eating.

These are big and important issues, are ones that many grown women struggle with.

This concept of recognising and tackling the tricky bits, with your kids, from the get-go is a really great one. Writing them down, in black and white, for future reference is an excellent idea too. Discussing them together and forming a plan? Even better.

To my daughter

Here’s what Toni wrote:

To my daughter,

Don’t apologize when someone else bumps into you.

Don’t say “sorry to be such a pain.” You’re not a pain. You’re a person with thoughts and feelings who deserves respect.

Don’t make up reasons as to why you can’t go out with a guy you don’t wanna go out with. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. A simple “no thanks” should be acceptable.

Don’t overthink what you eat in front of people. If you’re hungry, eat, and eat what you want. If you want pizza, don’t get a salad just because other people are around. Order the damn pizza.

Don’t keep your hair long to make someone else happy.

Don’t wear a dress if you don’t want to.

Don’t stay home because you don’t have anyone to go out with. Take yourself out. Have experiences by yourself and for yourself.

Don’t hold back your tears. Crying means you’re feeling something that needs to get out. It’s not a weakness. It’s being human.

Don’t smile because someone told you to.

Don’t be afraid to laugh at your own jokes.

Don’t say “yes” to be polite. Say “no” because it’s your life.

Don’t hide your opinions. Speak up and speak loudly. You should be heard.

Don’t apologize for being who you are. Be brave and bold and beautiful. Be unapologetically you.


“It’s our job to be true to ourselves”

Toni’s letter is a reminder that it’s important to take up space and honour ourselves – whatever age we’re at.
“Women get older, we become more accustomed to putting our needs and likes and desires behind those of everyone else in our world,” Toni told Babble. “It’s not our job to please everyone. It’s our job to be true to ourselves.”
Of course she’s quite right, and there is no time like this minute to check we’re doing that.


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