What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice, according to the 19th-century nursery rhyme. But this is the 21st century, and that old rhyme is following me around everywhere I go, along with all the outdated ideas we have about what makes a little girl. As a mom to three girls, I have heard all the things when it comes to parenting only girls. For your entertainment, here are just a few of the head scratchers I hear regularly.
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1. Are you going to try again for a boy? On the surface, this seems like such a simple and innocent question. It is the most common that I hear, but also the most frustrating.What happens if after 9 months of bloating and swelling and growing another human inside of me, and hours after pushing that human out of my body, that child does not have the man-parts I so desperately was “trying” for? Am I supposed to push that little wailing child right back where she came from? There is no “undo” button in that situation, therefore if I do try again for a child, it’s because I want another child.
2. Watch out for the teen years. The picture that is painted in my mind of what my life will look like in about ten years would send any YOUNG MOM into hiding (or any little girl into a locked tower until she is 30). I picture pink lacy bras and thongs hanging from every door knob in our house, a string of weed dealing boyfriends, and a daughter who only speaks to me in curt one word sentences. The next time someone tries to warn me about the TEEN YEARS I’m going to reply, “Whatever.”
3. I feel sorry for your husband. This is the comment that makes me see red. My husband loves his daughters and has never said anything about wanting a son to be the heir to his “throne”, and by throne I mean apartment and minivan. When people feel sorry for my husband for having three daughters, they are only robbing themselves of understanding the rich and beautiful dynamic between a father and a daughter.
4. I bet there is a lot of pink in your house. This comment shocks me, because I thought we were beyond this. No, my house doesn’t look like a cotton candy explosion. Actually, it’s far from that. You’ll see our girls playing soccer, cuddling their dolls, using their doctor kit, and pounding a (pretend) hammer. Our girls can do and be whatever they want, and are not confined to the world of all things pink.
5. Girls are easy; they are so quiet and sweet. This seems like a comment straight from 1956, but it’s surprising how common it is, and not even from people who were around in 1956. I’m not sure when the easy part comes in, because I HAVEN’T SLEPT in three years and don’t remember the last time I had an adult conversation without interruption. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I wouldn’t call my life as a parent easy, and it’s definitely not quiet.
I’m so thankful to be a mother. Period. It surprises me how mothering girls often leads to a conversation about gender. Based on the conversations I’m having, it would seem our culture still holds to old-fashioned ideas about young girls, and values boys over little girls. It’s shocking to see these perceptions play out before my eyes, as I grocery shop with my children, or take them to the park.
As they get older and start to absorb these conversations, I hope that they don’t become concerned with the way people talk about them. But most importantly, I hope they hear me share my point of view. Having girls is an incredible blessing, and being a mother that gets to help shape future adults, I hope I do a good job at letting them know that their gender will never define who they are, or who they can be.
This post originally appeared on Bon Bon Break.