Dear Daughter,

Amber Fraley
4 min readSep 13, 2018
Photo by Vania Raposo, courtesy Pixabay.

As you get older and become an adult, there are so many things I’d like to tell you. You may not listen to me because I’m your mom, and I’m annoying as fuck, but I’d like to try.

Please, please, please: Put yourself first. Always. I don’t want you to ever stop putting yourself first, with maybe the exception of if you decide to have a baby. Babies pretty much don’t let you put yourself first. They’re a fantastic lesson in humility. But for the entirety of the rest of your life? Put yourself first. Over your friends, your husband, even your kids. Why? Because you deserve it. Don’t ever let anybody convince you differently.

What does putting yourself first mean? It means just what I said. Do what is right for YOUR life, and don’t make any of your decisions based on other people. Don’t choose a college because it’s where your boyfriend is going. Don’t choose a career because you think it’ll make Dad and I happy. Do what makes YOU happy and fulfilled. However you choose to make a living, we will support your decision, whether you come to live modestly or make a million dollars.

You have GREAT friends. Keep that shit up! Surround yourself with people who are kind, and supportive and funny. I can’t emphasize how important that is. I know I just told you to put yourself first, but that doesn’t mean you can take your friends for granted, either. Be there for them when they need you and they’ll be there for you when you need them. You get what you give.

Do what is right for YOUR life, and don’t make any of your decisions based on other people.

Please know that you are intelligent, funny and talented. I mean that sincerely. I’m not just saying that because I’m your mom. This is something that is so hard to learn, but you must believe in yourself. I guarantee you’re capable of a lot more than you think. Think about it this way: If Donald J. Trump can become president, you can pretty much do any damn thing you commit to.

Understand that settling down with a man isn’t a requirement. It’s an option. It can be a great option, but it’s certainly not the only option. There are plenty of ways of creating a happy home, even if that’s all by yourself or with a woman or women or in a commune or a traditional nuclear family.

Amber Fraley

Writing about abortion rights, mental illness, trauma, narcissistic abuse & survival, politics. Journalist, novelist, wife, mom, Kansan, repro rights activist.