Boy on the brain
I grew up with two brothers, and my husband had two brothers. Naturally, we were assuming our first kid was going to be a boy. We were pleasantly surprised when the sonogram said girl! But, I did freak a little. I had pictured a boy the entire time. Baseball? Check. Football? Check. Basketball? Check. Future little project manager like his daddy? Check. What did I know about raising little girls? Even growing up, most of my friends were boys. My nervousness came from thinking about bows, pink frilly things, the drama, the dresses, and all of the things I wasn’t used to. I barely had barbies growing up – we were more of a ninja turtle household.
Now thinking back, I laugh about how gender-socialized my mind was. I have always been one to advocate for women to break the barrier. Gender equality all the way! If a girl wants to play football – YES! But here I was in my own mind, not even giving my kid that food for thought! I was already categorizing her in the gender typical role of girl. Wrong.
I had the fun of decorating a girly nursery. We used plums, teals, and stenciled walls. I bought all the cute, girly outfits. Our house started stacking up with pink toys, princesses, and headbands. We did keep the stroller, car seat, and pack ‘n play neutral with only buying black and gray. Everything else screamed – a tiny beautiful baby girl lives here! Then our tiny baby girl #2 came along. At this point – there’s no turning back. We’re fully committing to everything pink with bright colors… you know, traditionally girly! And, that’s okay. I’ve come realize that even though my oldest is only 4 years old, she has still taken upon her own interests. She does love a good princess dress but usually when she can be outdoors in it. She loves to act crazy, running through the house with muddy feet and dirt under her fingernails. You know, like kids do! I love giving her “Elsa” hair (when she lets me) and seeing her dressed up in princess outfits while playing in the dirt pile outside. But, my girls also love a good NERF toy just like the boy down the street does.
Let kids be kids
Why do we always have to get so caught up in gender stereotypes? I’ve been there, done that. But let’s just let kids be kids. If a little boy wants to play with Barbies, then let him play with the Barbie. If my daughter would rather have a Batman backpack than My Little Pony, you better believe she’ll get the Batman. I hope and pray some day my daughters feel empowered to be anything they want to be, maybe even going into construction management, like their daddy. I know he’d be proud! Let’s let kids be kids and stop trying to send them in the direction societal norms are telling them to go.
My hope for my daughters is that they feel confident enough to choose whatever path they decide to go despite what societal norms try and tell them. How do you encourage your children to create their own path?