12/24/2013 08:11 am ET Updated Feb 23, 2014

The Best Christmas Gift For My Daughters

My mother was raised to find a good husband. In her era, it was important that she know how to clean a house, plan a party and be a good spouse to the executive she was going to marry someday. Her Christmas activities were to have my dad's boss over for dinner, wrap all the gifts and always keep the house tidy and welcoming. She was the demure little housewife that everyone called his "better half". She was lovely and funny, and although she passed years ago, I miss her to this day.

Still, in all the holiday preparation -- sometimes I miss the one Christmas gift I could have used the most. She didn't prepare me for the life I have today. I didn't marry an executive -- I am one. And because my parents didn't understand that the world had changed, I've had to overcome the start my parents gave me in life. I didn't go to college until I was in my 40s. They just didn't think it was that important for a girl. So, I was a full-time marketing manager, with four children when I walked to the podium for my sheepskin.

I was raised hearing "Yes I have a beautiful daughter". Always beautiful, never smart. And with that, any comments were on my weight, my makeup my hairstyle -- not my grades.

So my holiday present to my daughters is this. Be smart -- better yet, be WISE. Be your own best gift you give this season. Stand up and be counted and don't apologize for being part of the world.

Stop apologizing: Instead of striving to be demure, learn that you belong. That habit of apologizing for your place in the world -- lose it. One of the hardest things I trained myself to do was to stop starting my sentences with "Sorry, but...." I constantly have to remind myself that I do deserve to speak.

Support yourself
: Want more money? Go earn it. We live in a country where opportunity is everywhere. We aren't oppressed. If you want something -- go get it. It may take hard work, but we all have this incredible set of tools at our disposal. You can have the life you want.

It's okay not to make friends: Strive to get along with people, but don't be a people pleaser. You can have a style that's open and accepting, but eventually you're going to have to disagree -- sometimes vehemently. Stand your ground.

Don't be afraid: There is a big beautiful world around there and plenty of people who want you just the way you are. Living life on your terms will naturally allow you to surround you with people who are like minded. There is nothing to fear.

Men fall in love with smart women too: Yes, yes they do. There is a whole world of men out there who want exciting, intelligent, attractive women- yes, and the smart ones. Why would you want a man who is challenged by you? Why would you want to build a life with someone who has an issue with who you are? Run... run towards the men who accept it.

So that's it -- my Christmas gift to my daughters. It will be one they'll remember long after the tinsel is off the tree.

So, what is your best Christmas gifts for your children? I still believe the best gifts don't come wrapped in paper. Come join the conversation at FirstClassWoman and please share this with your friends. I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Holidays!

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