Raising Our Own Gutsy Women

On Friday, October 25th, two of our Houston Moms Blog Contributors, Jennifer H. and Elizabeth B. went to Cullen Performance Hall to see Hillary and Chelsea Clinton speak about their new book, “The Book of Gutsy Women : Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience”. Chelsea and Hillary wrote 180 stories of gutsy women {some we have heard of and some we haven’t} that challenged the world around us. The entire night was full of these stories and personal accounts of why they picked the women they picked.

What stuck out to Jen and Elizabeth was how Chelsea Clinton kept going back to her own children. What kind of world is her daughter being raised in? What is she teaching her sons about this world? How can she make it better? She’s been a champion for women’s rights and equality in her adult life, writing many books on women or girls that have changed the status quo in our favor and this book is no different. But, it did make us think :: How are we going to be gutsy women or raise gutsy women? Should we have brought our oldest daughters to this speech? How can we guide them in this “new world”?

Houston Moms Blog "Raising Our Own Gutsy Women" #houstonmomsblog #momsaroundhoustonJennifer 

I have two beautiful daughters who are 6 and 4 years old. The world we are raising them in is constantly changing and with that, I’m constantly second guessing how I am raising them. There are a few things I know to be true about my girls:: 1) They are independent and their own person. They each require their own set of parenting. 2) My oldest loves everyone and my youngest questions everyone. 3) My oldest will probably be popular, smart, and walk her own path. She currently wants to be a police officer {“Because they are real life super heroes”, she says.}. My oldest wants to be a doctor to help people, but I’m convinced she is going to run the world. 

Both of them have “gutsy” potential. I have “gutsy” potential. Being gutsy, to me, means standing up for yourself and for injustices you may see. I want my girls to know they have a voice and to use it. See something that doesn’t sound right? Use that voice, girl. Is something happening that you don’t like? Speak up! I encourage my girls to speak up at all times, even if we disagree with it. Let’s talk it out. 

We even have a code word in our house if someone is doing something to the other that the other doesn’t like {playing too hard, tickling too much, etc}. If that code word is used, whatever it is stops immediately. We respect each other’s boundaries and their body. I also encourage them to let me be their voice if they feel too shy or “too little” to speak up. Once, my daughter was being doted on in the nail salon by 3 or 4 workers and I could tell it made her uncomfortable, so I asked, “Need me to step in?” and she nodded yes. I asked them to back off {politley, of course} and they did. Fast forward to last week, the same daughter was in swim lessons and had told me beforehand that one of the coaches helps her onto the slide by grabbing her waist and she doesn’t like that. I asked if she needed me to talk to him {or be her voice} and she said, “No, I’ll do it.” She did and he didn’t do it again. She walked out of practice that day super proud of herself and smiling from a great time. 

I’m hoping that those {seemingly} small instances will help them become gutsy women. Chelsea and Hillary spoke of a new story that recently came out about an accounting firm that hosted a workplace training course teaching women how to act and dress around men. Just hearing about this made me feel a bit queasy and that I would hope it’s something my girls would stand up against. 

When I think about gutsy women, I also think of the partners those women have. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s husband supported her in her fight to become a lawyer and throughout her career. Even when his male clout could have overshadowed her, he remained by her side in her goals. Malala Yousafsai has her father as her champion, pushing her to get an education, despite the Taliban threatening her and ultimately acting upon that threat. My husband, despite working a demanding job himself, watches the kids during the week if I need to and supports me with my goals every step of the way. I want my girls to find a partner that supports their gutsy goals and helps them with whatever path they take. 


I am raising three great kids; my sons are 9 and 4 and my daughter is 6. My daughter is smart and curious as well as stubborn and feisty. I find it both an honor and a challenge to channel her strong will and big ideas into actions that will impact her life as well as the world in positive ways. 

My daughter is growing up in a pivotal time in history:: although she doesn’t have any knowledge of the #MeToo movement or the details of the fight for women’s equality, we have ongoing conversations about consent, speaking up for what she wants, and that everyone, regardless of their gender, race or age, should be treated with kindness and fairness. 

We talk about modern day “Gutsy Women”:: she knows who Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar are, and that they are running to be President of the United States. While having three women as potential presidential nominees is historical, to her, it’s normal, and expected. My hope is sooner than later, that glass ceiling is shattered and will prove to all our daughters that yes, women really are as qualified as men to lead our country.

My daughter is also growing up as the little sister of a boy with profound disabilities. One of the most unexpected challenges as a special needs mom has been navigating the sibling relationships of my children. My girl has had to make sacrifices; her activities and time with me are sometimes limited due to her brother’s unique needs. And you know what? It’s NOT FAIR. But she is learning at an early age that despite the unfairness of situations and that her family’s life doesn’t always look like that of her friends, she is loved. She is loved, and she is gutsy. I’ve watched her explain her brother’s condition to curious kids, and she does it with simplicity but also protection of him, and his humanity. She makes me proud.

I want my daughter to know that being a gutsy woman doesn’t always look like running for President of the United States. It certainly can, but it can also look like being a good friend, standing up for a classmate being bullied, patience with a disabled brother, or saying NO in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation. And I want to be gutsy in my role as her mom- guiding her to grow into a woman who will change the world in big and small ways. 

Click on the pictures to check out these books::


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About the Authors

Jennifer, Project Coordinator 

Jennifer is a native outside-the-loop’er growing up and living in the Richmond/Rosenberg area. She has a Bachelors in theology and political science from Texas Lutheran University and a Masters in Liberal Arts from Texas Christian University. She and her husband Greg met in 2010 through Match.com and fell in love on their first date. They married exactly one year later and have fought lovingly and constantly since. They have two amazingly brilliant girls, Kaitlyn {June 2013} and Elizabeth {June 2015} who Jen stays home with during the day. When Jen is not curled in a little ball rocking back and forth with Peppa Pig on in the background, she can be found crafting with her Silhouette and/or binge watching The Office for the millionth time. Jen has an uncanny ability to be comfortable in almost any situation put in front of her, thanks to growing up in politics and on the debate team. Before having kids of her own, she had the opportunity to help other kids through teaching, youth ministry, and generally being a helpful, kind soul. You can check out more about Jen on Instagram.

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Elizabeth, Managing Editor

Elizabeth was raised in Houston and met her husband Ryan shortly after graduating from Texas A&M with a journalism degree. A few years later, Grayson {Sept 2010}, turned Elizabeth’s world upside down, not only with his sparkling blue eyes and killer smile, but with his profound disabilities and diagnosis of Mitochondrial Disease. After two years of navigating the world of special needs parenting, Elizabeth and Ryan were blessed with Charlotte {Jan 2013} and Nolan {Sept 2015}, perfectly completing their party of five. Elizabeth and her crew live in Katy, and when she can steal a few moments for herself, she can be found out for Mexican food and margaritas with girlfriends, binge-listening to podcasts and audiobooks, or trying once again {unsuccessfully} to organize her closet. In addition to her role as Managing Editor of HMB, Elizabeth writes about faith, politics and special needs parenting for publications like Scary Mommy and HuffPost. You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, ElizabethKBaker.com. 

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