As a Mom to 2 little girls, I have learned a lot over the years and one of the most prominent lessons has been that raising girls is not what I dreamed of…and I couldn’t be happier. The stereotypes abound and my two daughters have shown me that what may be the “average” doesn’t have to be their “normal.” Each of my daughters is their own person – unique and special. And every time I “assume” how they will act or REact in a situation shows me that I have a lot to learn and I’m thankful for the lessons.
The other day, my good friend Karen, from SpOIL My Family, and I were talking about just how different our ACTUAL kids are from the gender stereotypes we had expected. Sweet Karen has two adorable little boys and I have two precious little girls! We thought it would be interesting to really lay it out and see just how our expectations for girls/boys aligned (or MISaligned) with the reality of raising those boys and girls. Be sure and check out her awesome perspective here.
Growing up with two sisters, the three of us could be as different as night and day. I LOVED anything academic, was extremely conscientious and could play babies all day long. On the other hand, my older sister dreaded school and preferred tv to dolls. Yet, despite my ACTUAL REAL LIFE knowledge, I fell into the trap of idealizing what my first born daughter would be like before she ever came. Boy, I could not have been more wrong…and as if I needed another reminder a few years later, my 2nd daughter has shown me again that trying to put my girls into a nice neat box is like throwing all your whites in the laundry with the new red shirt and thinking it won’t all come out pink.
Once I found out I was having a girl, I just KNEW she would spend all her days in frilly get-ups with matching bows and headbands. We would exhaust our budget buying her new baby dolls and accessories that she would treasure. She would be dainty and all sugar and spice. Tears would flow freely in our home.
Wrong Wrong Wrong and Sometimes Right! And that’s what makes raising these two little girls the highlight of my life. Because every day I learn something new about them and get to revel in their uniqueness.
Do my girls like to get dressed up in fancy dresses with matching shoes and accessories? Of course they do! And they like to just as quickly rip it off and throw on a t-shirt and bike shorts so they can run outside and ride their bikes, play with our dog, or get soaked in the waterhose.
Do my girls like “traditional” toys like dolls and Barbies? Of course they do, but on their own terms. My oldest daughter can’t play with a baby more than 10 minutes but my youngest can play with them independently for an hour…which is a big deal at 3. While my older daughter can play Barbies for hours on end. But at the same time, they can just as easily get lost in a board game, dazzle me with their artwork, or impress me with their skills on the iPad. No stereotyping here.
Do my girls love their playtime with their girlfriends? Yes, just as I do! But I find that many days, they seem most at ease playing with boys. Play is more straightforward and there is a lot less negotiating…and a lot of the play is outside which both my girls love!
Are my girls emotional weepy beings that border on threenager or tween even at 3 and 6? Well to be honest, yes…some days they do. But guess what?! SO ARE THE BOYS OF MY MOM FRIENDS…these are kids people…they do some crazy, off the chain things. Their emotions AREN’T balanced. They are still pretty new in this world, trying to figure it all out. All the while, we are constantly telling them what they can do, what they can’t do, and expecting them to learn it ASAP. Wouldn’t you have a breakdown every once in a while??
So why am I happy that raising girls is not what I had “dreamed” of? Because every time my girls “fail” to meet my expectations or fit neatly into the box the world and I try to put them in, they far and above exceed anything I could have ever hoped or dreamed for them. I pray that as they grow, they will continue to be their own person. That they will break down walls, they will knock down barriers and they will make their own path in this world. And NO ONE will tell them that they are a girl and they cannot do something or they are a girl and they should do something. Because they will do their own thing and the world will be a better place for knowing them and the impact they will have.
Don’t forget to check out Karen’s blog, SpOIL My Family, where she blogs on all topics related to health and wellness – emotional, physical and spiritual. You are going to love it! And don’t forget to read her take on raising boys here!
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