Thursday, December 4, 2008

Parenting a Girl Isn't All Sugar & Spice

There's an interesting guest post on the New York Times' "Motherlode" blog today from a mom of 3 sons mourning the loss of what she imagines parenting a daughter to be like:

"My future daughter had a lot of Anne of Green Gables and Ramona Quimby to look forward to, as well as French braids and tutus and Mary Janes and apron dresses. She was going to watch 'Felicity' marathons with me and ogle the new J. Crew catalog and have annual viewings of 'It’s a Wonderful Life' with me under a blanket with hot chocolate and lots of whipped cream....

My worst nightmare, back then, was that I would end up being a Mom of Boys, one of those women with a 'practical' haircut and flat shoes who spent her afternoons at the baseball field and washed a lot of sweaty athletic clothes. A Mom of Boys bought a lot of boring clothes for her children — polo shirts and khaki shorts and Nike trainers. She was looked on with pity by the Moms of Girls, who color-coordinated with their daughters and took them on trips to the American Girl store and 'The Nutcracker' and who had princess birthdays and tea parties with their mommy friends."

I just had to laugh at this. Parenting my little girl isn't 100% pink ribbons and taffeta. She's just as likely to be in jeans and sneakers kicking around a soccer ball as she is to be in a tutu twirling around to Tchaikovsky. Last weekend she had a blast playing engineer with her little brother and a virtually all-boy crowd at the Nevada State Railroad Museum. Her tea set gets more use digging in the dirt in the backyard than it does with her dolls.

I'm not sure if a ponytail or a French Twist counts as a "practical" hairstyle, but that's how I wear my hair much of the time. I did use to color-coordinate my outfits with DD but that went out as soon as I had a 2nd kid (now I just settle for everybody wearing clean clothes, LOL!)

From what I remember of Ramona Quimby, she wasn't exactly a girlie-girl either :-)


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Smile. I have raised a daughter and I am in the middle of raising a son, and I also had to laugh at the excerpt you provided.

My daughter does like pretty clothes, but she also had a passion for insects and kitchen chemistry experiments. In her teen years, she could be fun to talk to, but she also did a lot of eye-rolling, martyr-like sighing, and we even had one episode of door slamming.

How are you doing, Crimson Wife? Any baby news yet?

Kirsten said...

I have a single girl child. I can't imagine doing most of those things on that list with her (or, for that matter, by myself).

Her tolerance for pretty clothes is only now being developed by constant exposure in "government-run schools".

LivingByLearning said...

Funny! I finally convinced my daughter to put on a dress for a Victorian Tea, but this is by no means a regular occurrence.

All those traditional gender roles seem to be switched in our household, with the son being more sensitive and the daughter oblivious. Both loved the Anne of Green Gables video. However, neither likes touchy-feely books like the Ramona series, and neither wears dresses.