My own childhood was a combination of wanting everything to be pink, loving dolls and ballet, playing softball, climbing trees and horseback riding. While my color of choice remained pink for the first 20 years of my life, and my love of ballet has never faded, I’ve never described myself as “girlie.”
To me, girlie is a construct of the media and marketing. I’m not the mom who wants her daughter to be girlie or, the perceived opposite, a “tomboy.” I don’t want her to feel like she has to fit into the cookie cutter image that the commercial idea of girlie presents to society. There’s room for both the tomboy and the princess! I aim to give my daughter every opportunity to express herself and discover who she is. Maybe it will be sporty, maybe a princess – how she identifies herself will be up to her, and her alone.
Personally, I love the balance I’ve had in my own life, between what some people might think are contradictory interests. When I found out I was pregnant with a girl, I was determined to give her every opportunity to grow up any way she wanted, free from the influence of commercial stereotypes that are hard to avoid.
For me, this meant decorating her nursery in owls and woodland animals, white crib linen, and buying clothes in white, cream, purple, pink, blue, green and red – basically every color possible! Sure, I threw in the odd tutu, but I also dressed her in frog tees and little basketball jerseys.
As my little girl inched her way into the world, and through her infancy, I read her books about farm animals, and bought her toy cars and plush dogs. And, while she is literally the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen (I may be biased here), I try to refrain from telling her how pretty she is. Instead, I say how clever, funny, brave, and sweet she is – all qualities that any person, regardless of their sex, would be proud to have.
I also encourage her to be adventurous and to try everything. From enrolling her in baby gym, infant swim and baby “dance” classes, to play dates with both rough-and-tumble and more reserved boys and girls.
As my little girl gets older, I hope that she’ll try soccer and rock climbing and basketball. And that she’ll also appreciate art, ballet, and music. My hopes and dreams for my daughter are nothing more than helping her find what she truly loves and enjoys in life, and for her to not ever feel that being a girl limits her choices in any way. If she loves princesses, you bet I’ll embrace it. But I’ll also embrace her love of robotics, reptiles, or trains if that’s what she decides she’s into.
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