A Letter to my Tall Daughter

My daughter Matilda May Schofield is tall. This may comes as quite a shock to you all, what with me being a little over 6 foot and my husband 6ft4. When I announced my pregnancy on my personal Facebook page, a LOT of the comments (from well meaning and acutely observant/ comedic friends) were things like “Tallest baby ever”, and “Woop that will be one tall baby”. I’m sure any of you who have experienced pregnancy with a tall man will have friends who have made similarly shrewd predictions.

So yeah, she’s tall. Despite being born a reasonably weeny 7lbs 8oz (Thank.You.God), it wasn’t long before she hiked up the percentiles in her little red book and is now head and shoulders above the rest of the kids in our NCT group. At 11 months she’s into her 12-18 month clothes already, and I lie awake most nights hyperventilating at the thought that her cot bars might be short enough for her to climb over the top.

But parenting is a wonderful second chance at life. No, it doesn’t mean I’m going to live vicariously through my daughter, go all ‘momager’ and turn her into the Taylor Swift I should have been (sigh). But it does mean I have the chance to say to her what I wish I could have said to my old self. To help her celebrate and nurture this actually-pretty-blinking-awesome gift that she’s been given.

Anyhoo. I thought I’d write her a letter. And share it with you lovely lot. If you have any other advice you’d like to give her — or any of the daughters we Leggy Lovelies may bear — then I’d love you to share it in the comments below.

Dear Matilda,

Hey beautiful girl. So I suppose first off I owe you an explanation.

I could have been a bit more genetically selective and married someone shorter than your Daddy. Then you might be of ‘normal’ height. But your Daddy has the amazing cheekbones and blue eyes that I could never give you. And he’s actually quite lovely.

Besides, who the heck wants to be ‘normal’ anyway? I spent so many of my early years wanting the clothes that the cool kids had, the computer games the other kids played, to be the same height as the other girls at school. And why? Just to be like everybody else? Just to blend in? Is that what life is really about? 

You’ll have moments when your height becomes a reason for people to put you down. Don’t let your insecurities make you defensive or respond spitefully as mine sometimes did. Everyone in the playground has something they feel insecure about. Their shortness, their tubbiness, their skinniness, their skin, their hair colour. Do your very damndest to rejoice in their wonderful qualities, even if you don’t share those qualities yourself. Don’t feel bitter and jealous about the cute petite girl. There will be people who wish they had some of your height too.

And if you’re being picked on, TELL SOMEONE. Tell me, tell a teacher. Because often the real curse of being tall comes in the fact that you always look strong and capable. It’s difficult to imagine a very un-little person being belittled.

One day (very far away) when you fall in love, make sure that it is with whoever the hell you want it to be with. And if that person is a man, then look for someone who makes you laugh before you seek out someone who is taller than you. Don’t write off 98% of the male population by only going after the latter. Hopefully by then we’ll live in a world where no one bats an eyelid at a woman who is taller than her boyfriend. If not, then you can be another exception that contributes to a change in attitude. Also note that Daddy will be able to destroy him whether he’s short or tall. 

Don’t slouch. You’ll only look awkward and then spend ages correcting it in yoga classes. Walk like the world is your catwalk and be grateful that you have feet to move, even if they are difficult to find shoes for. It’s also your right to wear heels if you want. You can practice in Mummy’s.

I wasted so much of my first 16-or-so years praying that I’d wake up shorter. It didn’t happen. But I finally realised that even though my height wasn’t going anywhere, my attitude could. You will never stop being tall. You can put on or lose weight, colour your hair, make over your wardrobe, hell, you can even change your personality if you want to. But you will NEVER stop being tall. Take stock of what you do have and skip the ‘poor me’ stuff. It gets you nowhere. You may not be the cute, dainty little girl in the playground, but you could be the elegant, statuesque and strong one. Life is short, even if you’re not. 

And you’ll always be little to me anyway. 

Love you endlessly, 

Mum xx

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65 Responses to A Letter to my Tall Daughter

  1. My daughter is 17 and 6ft 3″ . I also have much taller sons 6:6 and 6:5 but it was my daughter that made me worry as she was growing up. She was always very confident as a young child but what I worried about was comprehensive school. What if she lost all her confidence because of throw away comments about her height? A friend who taught Volleyball suggested she come down and have a go. She hasn t looked back! It’s a wonderful community of people in a sport where her height is a massive advantage. Don t get me wrong there have been moments when I ve had to pick up the pieces after some crushing comments but I feel that the confidence that she’s gained from volleyball has pulled her through. Next month she’s off to Denmark to represent England at U19 level. My aim in introducing sport to my children was mainly for confidence and so that unlike their mother they may have a level of fitness as they get older. Their participation at higher levels has been a bonus made possible on the whole by their height. We ve had many enquiries whilst out as a family about if our children would like to row play netball, play basketball so there are plenty of sports out there where being tall is the ideal.

    • Wow, pass on my congratulations to your daughter Zoe. 🙂 Sounds like you’ve instilled a lot of confidence in her. Sport can be a fabulous thing in helping girls realise why height is such a blessing 😉

      Kinda wish I’d taken up rowing… maybe it’s not too late! xx

  2. Aww, she is absolutley beautiful! My daughter is 6’3.5″ and is 18. Her dad is 6’5″ and I’m almost 6″. She likes being tall and embraces her height. She was always above the top centile from the day she was born! 🙂 xx

  3. What a wonderful letter, i’m 6ft 3 and my husband in 6ft 4 so our children were always going to be on the lanky side, my daughter has just started school and looks so much older than her peers and she the youngest in the year (August baby) even i forget sometimes she’s only just 4, but lucky for her she will grow up with tall parents who will always be able to support her and her brother, my parents were only 5ft 8 so i have always towered above.

    • Thanks Lyndsey,

      I wonder if our height forces us to mature a little quicker, because everyone presumes we’re older?)

      Not that such maturity has continued into my adulthood, mind…
      L xx

  4. My daughter was a head taller than her peers all the way, growing 3 inches every 6 months until puberty when she slowed down, and is now 5’10”
    Think she probably wishes she had made it to 6′ now that her little brother has hit 6’3″.
    The big thing I found when she needed when she was little was ammo to use as people judged her because of her height – she was 3’2″ at 2! So I taught her to introduce herself by saying “hello I’m ……… and I’m 2” or whatever age she was. Everyone expects the taller child to be the oldest, and act accordingly.

  5. I love this wonderful letter:) At 6ft 3 I was a bit of a puzzle to my 5ft 10 Dad and 5ft 7 Mom. My 5ft 10 older brother was quite jealous as a teen I would have given anything to have traded heights.

    The school volleyball and basketball coach was constantly after me, but I don’t like team sports so I stayed away. I spent a lot of my time running, but never thought of joining the track team. Looking back I wish that I would have done some sport to build confidence. I don’t think there is a way around the awkwardness of being six foot by twelve year.

    I’m 27 now and finding anything cute to wear in rural Alberta, Canada was nearly impossible. Now with the Internet it is much easier to find shops that can help. It is a much better time to be a tall girl.

    I regret not learning how to sew. My aunt lived nearby and was an expert seamstress. She made some of my clothing, but her tastes were very different from mine and I wrongly assumed homemade meant out of fashion. Any tall teen should have some basic sewing survival skills.

    Oh, and she’ll have the advantage of blogs like her mother’s.

    • Thanks Jheri, lovely to hear from you. Hope you’re well.

      Basic sewing… brilliant idea. Might need to each myself that before I can pass it on though! xxx

    • I learnt to sew and when I was in my teens made some amazing things. Vogue used to make Issy Miyake patterns which were fantastic but incredibly difficult to work out. When I set off for my first year at Uni I had a suitcase of cracking stuff. In the 80s there were so many ‘tribes’ and you could look wacky and experiment. I really don t see that now. When it’s non- uniform day at my teenage children’s school they all look like clones ! Hence the only sewing skills needed now are the ability to let down hems and sleeves!

    • Long tall Sally in the UK….. Shortest they cater for is 5ft 10…. Jeans have 3 lengths. Guarantee you will find things you like

    • There is a great store in Edmonton called Hye Fashion and the clothes are awesome and modern if you get the chance to go!!!

  6. This is so beautiful! My daughter is only 18 months, but wearing clothes for a 3-4 year old, she’s head and shoulders taller than most children her age and a fair few a year older! It’s always the first thing people say about her, and I just hope as she gets older that people notice her for her personality and not her height.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with a fairly new mother of a very tall little girl 🙂 X

    • Thanks Eleanor. Yes… I really want Matilda to recognise all her squillions of other attributes in addition to her lovely height 🙂 xx

  7. Absolutely lovely words I did something similar for my daughter. It was inevitable that she will be a tall young lady with me being 6f3 and her dad 6f9. We measured her last month and she has just reached 5f4 at 10hrs old. Which she inbraced by telling me she would look just like me soon and that she can’t wait as I’m beautiful , which made me cry. Who know all it would take to make me feel beautiful and secure with my height was having a daughter x

    • Oh God Lisa that made ME cry! What an amazing thing to hear from your little girl. She’s lucky to have such a positive tall role model. xxx

  8. A truly beautiful letter to your beautiful daughter.
    I’m someone who married a man shorter than me; not that it seems particularly strange because most people I know are shorter than me! My daughter (16 yrs) at modest 5ft 7″ would love to be taller and frequently wears really high heels!! My sons however are going to inherit the really tall genes and my 14 year old is catching me up at a cool 5ft 10″. Absolutely love it and my husband will soon be the shortest in the family! I grew up feeling awkward and very self conscious about my height which is a shame, but I think there is so much more positivity about taller women in general now, which is just great.

    • Yay Sharron… you and your hubby have always been a great example of two people who just LOVE each other, height difference or not. It drives me MENTAL when girls say “Oh, you’re tall, do you find it hard to find men taller than you?”

      I NEVER GAVE A MONKEY’S! XX

  9. Don’t count on your daughter being tall quite yet. At 5’10 & with a 6’2 husband we were not surprised when scans showed legs well beyond average length and at birth she was long ! Well 27 years on she is a very average 5’9. And very pleased she is too as her dream was to train as a dancer.

  10. Hey Matilda, I just wanted wanted to let your Mum know as a 5ft 11 girl, I’m getting married to my lovely 5ft 8 (with some wishful thinking!) fella soon, and have never dated a guy taller than me. In fact, I once dated a guy who was 5ft 3! Being tall can be wonderfully bad ass. I can reach all those high shelves, wear heels whenever the hell I want to, and know when I stomp into a room in my platforms I can hold the attention of everyone in the room, because I am tall, and I am beautiful. You rock!

  11. Laura, I loved reading this post. I am a 6’4″ mom of two boys by their 6’9″ daddy. My 5yo is already pushing 5′ & his 4yo brother is botnfar behind him. I was grateful to have boys b/c of my experiences as a tall girl, but reading this brought a little year to my eye that I didn’t have a girl to pass on my hard-earned confidence to. My boys are already bring singled out for their height & will need lots of support themselves – they are both pretty sensitive dudes – but I think they will end up relying on my husband for comfort & confidence more than me. Especially since he’s so much taller, I don’t think they regard me as an abnormally tall woman. And they will both overtake me waaay too soon. Anyway, I felt such a connection with you reading this post I had to comment & apparently leave a small novel about my own wee giants. Thank you!

  12. I am a 5′ 10.5″ tall mommy who always wanted to be 6′ tall. Due to health issues I am still slowly growing at 30. My hubby is 6′ and our daughter who is 6 years old. Who was born at 7 lbs 10oz and 21in long has grown to 4ft 6in she is the tallest in class and takes pride that she gives great hugs and can help all her friends get some of the higher stuff. I continue to have to get clothes that are size 9 or 10 for my 6 year old but have to stitch the top of the pants because then they will fit. She is helping me pick the color to sew them. But always take pride in being that much closer to the sun.

  13. What a lovely letter! I am 6’3″ and my husband is 6’5″ – we have a 3 year old daughter who is just shy of 4′ already, with no signs of slowing down. I hope I can be as much of an inspiration to her as you are to Matilda in your letter.

  14. Hi

    Your daughter may not necessarily continue to be tall, (sadly) I am 6ft my husband 6ft 5 . May daughter was tall, taller than everyone else in playgroup and infant school and then she just stopped growing! She is 28 and 5ft 3 x

  15. I’m 5’11.5″, I grew up in Australia, and like many of you other fabulous ladies, I view my height as an advantage in most areas of my life – with the exception of finding trousers that fit, which is where All The Tall Things comes in!
    The only real tall-associated negative experience I would have had growing up is adults that I knew and those I didn’t treating me as a peer/giving me more responsibility because I appeared older. I didn’t realise at the time that this was the case, and in fact in terms of character development it was beneficial; the added responsibility helped build my confidence. However, I am very cautious to treat all children as children.
    Laura your baby Matilda is the business, she’s after making me all broody!

  16. I’m 6’1″ and my hubby is 6’3″. Our 6 month old is in 9-12 month clothing already. My friend is already planning her Olympic career. “Oh, she could be a high jumper, or a netball player, oh, oh, or a rower”!!! I’m just dreading when she grows bigger feet than me and I have to start paying £70-100 for size 10 shoes! Love your blog BTW.

  17. Love the letter so much, that I will definitely write the same letter to both of our kids. I am 189 cm and my husband is a couple of cm shorter… so it’s normal that our kids are and will be the tall ones… Our son is 4 years old and has to wear clothes for 7 years old, our little girl in currently 8 months (wears size for 12 months) so she is following her brothers footsteps… Can’t wait for her to grow in tall leggy beauty 🙂 . Her brother is already very protective of her, so if there will be someone joking of her because of her size, I am sure he will beat the crap out of them 😉 .

  18. Love this! I am 6’3 and my husband is 6’1. Our 5.5 week old baby daughter is in the 97th percentile for height already. 🙂 Growing up I hated being tall during my awkward teenage years, but now I love it. I hope to save my daughter from going through what I did. I will save this letter!

  19. Your letter to Matilda is lovely I’m am a tall lady 6ft and my daughter is 5.11 I also have tall sons 6 5. I had heaps of jokes made about me being tall and it hurt a lot when I was younger. There wasn’t many tall people around in the 60s but now there are lots I think it’s the food not sure. Anyway my daughter is a beautiful women and looks really stunning when dressed up actually she can wear anything also my boys look so nice in suits ect they all hold their heads high. But it is so much easier to get clothes that are longer now not like ankle freezers when I was young. The clothing company’s seem to cater more now for taller people. I now have tall grandchildren and I will tell them as I have told my own children and your Matilda hold your head high and be proud of who you are and people will respect you.

  20. Hi Laura

    What a wonderful post, you have such a talent for writing!

    I may not be a parent, but my Mum has tried (at various times) to give me all the advice you’ve mentioned here. The problem was, it was my Mum saying it – only now do I realise how much I needed to hear it growing up. Especially the slouching bit, which did not come with an easy fix! So I hope she finds this letter on her own as she’s growing up and realises for herself what an amazing mum she has. And after that I hope she finds this fabulous community of tall women who empower one another.

    Sara x

  21. What a great letter to give to your daughter. I am not tall, standing only 5’9″ (and shrinking with age) I always wished I was tall. I would have loved to have been 6’3″ or taller and believe I would have been proud of this. I did grow up around tall women, playing basketball since I was 5. My friends were considered tall, 6 to 6’7″. When we were together and people would stare, it was I who would say something to the person, something to point out how rude they were. Sports really, really helped my friends deal with their height advantage.

    I loved how you encouraged her to love whomever. In my early 20 and 30’s I dated people who were taller than me because I felt like a gronk otherwise. And I was one of those girls who wouldn’t consider dating a many shorter than me. It wasn’t till I was in my early 40’s that I met the most wonderful man who has been in my life for 8 years now. And he’s 5’5″. He makes me laugh and cry, he treats me like his equal, encouages me to wear heels if I want and doesn’t see our height difference. I would never had given him the time of day when I was younger simply because he was shorter than I. And that would have menat I wouldn’t have ever experienced this beautiful relation, which would have been very, very sad. It’s not the height but the heart that is most important.

    And with a mom like you, she will be just fine.

  22. Wonderfull letter! My husband is short (5’5) , but inside he’s perfect height. 😉 Our son is now soon 18 months and wears the clothes of 24 months, which he has done since he was around 15 months. I also worried about that grown-ups later will assume he is much older because he’s taller so that seem to be a really good idea to have him present himself not only with name but also age! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Tall boys also gets picked at, of course it’s totally different from being a tall girl – but anyone sticking out in one way or the other attracts attention, jealousy and mean-ness. Sports is very good and I’ll encourage him to do whatever he feels like doing. I love athletism myself, but his father has done gymnastics and judo – we’ll see what the future brings! 🙂

  23. Laura,
    I love this so much! I’ve just given birth to my little boy (yes he’s still little at the moment at just 14 days old!) but I suspect and hope he grows up big and strong like me (6ft) and Daddy (6.5ft). It was the last bit that got me ‘you’ll always be little to me’ – teary eyed over here!! Every child will have to battle something and so long as you give Matilda this perspective and love she will do just grand! I hope I have a little girl one day and make her see how wonderful life is from our dizzy heights! Xx

  24. what a fabulous idea. A lovely letter for your beautiful baby girl

  25. Fantastic letter that many of my lovely tall, female friends should read and take stock in. My mother, like you, is tall, married a man even taller and had two very tall girls. She raised with the same promise and attitude you exhibit in your letter to your daughter. I am 6’5 and have been astoundingly tall since, well, my entire life. I have two very taller daughters who are still listed in the triple digits as far as their height percentile go (they’re 4&2). I love that you told your daughter not to waste time on boys just because they are tall. I can attest to that. I dated the handful that are taller than me and have married my love who is 6″ shorter than me! He doesn’t even hit the 6′ mark in tall shoes yet he encourages me to wear heels! I love him even more for that!

    Again, fantastic letter I will be sharing with my own daughters. Thank you!

  26. This is great, I’m a 6’8″ male and it always makes me sad to see women who are self conscious about being tall. Embrace it and never look back!

  27. This is a beautiful letter …. I’m 26 and 6’2 and could relate to so much of that! I’m sure I will have to write a similar letter to my future daughter one day….I will have to refer back to this one for some pointers 🙂

  28. Well said!

    High school was the worst just trying to fit in and be like everyone else! Forget about having a date to the dances!

    Once you grow up you realize its so much better to stand out of the crowd and be unique! Theres a lot of opportunities for tall people that short people dont have!

  29. Thank you! The letter is spot-on! I am short at 5:9 compared to many of you. I also have a 14 year old daughter who is just smidgen over 5:9.
    It is such a difficult time through junior high and high school for teens, and even more so for tall girls! They are all just trying find where they fit in life and with others while adjusting to the crazy changes of puberty.
    Jeans were always an issue for me. They were never long enough. Thank goodness now for Internet. My daughter is also a cowgirl and loves to wear long boot cut jeans, which is easier to find and still fits her active lifestyle.
    Just because they are tall and strong in appearance doesn’t mean that others can’t make them feel small when they belittle and tease them. Confidence is so important and must be continually reinforced by supportive adults. Tall girls will survive the teenage troubles and will triumph over others physically, mentally and spiritually!
    Love your height-it IS a blessing not a curse!

  30. I’m 6’8″ and I’m the short one. Mom was 6′ and Dad was 6’4″. My sisters are 6’10” and 6’11” It happens.

  31. Beautiful letter. I wish I had heard those inspiring words as a girl! Keep up the good work.

  32. Your beautiful letter brought tears to my eyes. I wish someone had said those things to me when I was little! When I was growing up there was no online shopping, no tall retailers, I was the only tall one in my family and I truly believed that there was something wrong with me because nothing fit.
    Now as the Mama to 2 little girls, who will probably be blessed with height, I want them to always feel special and happy with who they are. X Allison

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  35. Gosh how funny.. I just stumbled across your blog whilst looking for a longer length tankini for the summer, and found this post. I might need to borrow your letter, or perhaps write my own to my girls.. I am 6’1, my husband is 6’4, and our second daughter, age 20 months and also called Matilda, is cresting the 100th percentile for height! Our first daughter is in age 6-7 clothing at age 5 and I’m wondering if I’ve been conservative with that. Your letter perfectly expresses so many of my thoughts about growing up as a tall girl, and my hopes for how they might navigate it more confidently than I did. Hooray for tall girls, and this is a lovely blog, thanks. Jenny x

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