Even though I have two boys and a girl, I actually identify more with boy moms. Maybe it’s because my oldest child is a boy, or because I know I’m going to go through the boy stuff all over again when my younger son starts to walk. But also, because as of now the majority of my children are boys, I have to make a conscious effort to give my daughter opportunities to enjoy the “girly” things that she likes to do.
It’s so uncool now to let your daughter play with princesses. Girls are supposed to be tough and get dirty and not long for flouncy dresses and or to live in a castle. Before I had a daughter, I thought I’d be this kind of parent. That I wouldn’t spoil my daughter with dresses or adorable hair bows or little bracelets and necklaces.
But then, I had a girl…after I had a boy. And to be perfectly honest, I’m a girly girl. I love girly, feminine things. After my first few years of a boy, it was so much fun to cruise down the girl aisles, looking at flouncy skirts, glitter shirts and those adorable little shoes.
When she turned one, I bought her Lego Duplos and a baby doll. Yes, I bought the pink Legos. I decorated her room in light grays and light pinks. A friend bought her the Little People princess castle, and I put it in her room. I didn’t overdo the princess stuff, but if someone gave something to her, we kept it. I also let her explore what came naturally to her, and watched her model much of her behavior and interests after her older brother’s.
Now, at age two and a half, she has nightgowns with princesses on them, and even two princess costumes. She has no idea what a princess is. She doesn’t watch Disney movies; she actually won’t even watch Frozen because she says it scares her. But she’s drawn to the sparkles, to the pretty gowns, and to the long braided hair. And I allow it. In fact, I enjoy it with her.
I have two other children; both boys. My older son, who is five, loves to play with dinosaurs, cars, trucks, and building toys. My daughter climbs trees with him, plays tag, loves to play in sand, and will sit there with him and pretend the T-Rex is eating all the other dinosaurs. When my kids watch tv, my son will always choose Wild Kratts, and she will happily watch it with him.
Because I have an older child who is a boy, and because she follows his lead on almost everything, I have to consciously give my daughter the opportunity to explore things that my son doesn’t naturally explore on his own. And she seems to be wired for different things. Whereas he loved cars and trains at two, she carries babies and purses. In this day and age, it is so politically correct to be as gender neutral as possible, to have our girls especially, focus on things other than the typical girl interests. But why? What are we afraid of?
I don’t get it. I want all my children to be well rounded. It’s just as important for my son to play in a toy kitchen as it is for her to pretend to be a firefighter or to be Optimus Prime.
But I’m not going to shy away from traditional gender play just because it’s trendy to do so.
I’m going to let her enjoy what interests her. So when she wants to pretend to be a dinosaur, I’m with her. And when she wants to paint her nails and put on a princess crown, I’m there, too.