October 12, 2012


I have written here before about how I want to instill in my children a self-confidence and an attitude that they can be "whatever they want to be."  I don't want them to feel "boxed in" or limited in any way.  I want them to develop their own interests and ultimately go after whatever their little hearts desire.

That said, I've come to the realization that, deep down, despite all my posturing, I'm actually a hypocrite.

There are some caveats.

Well, at least one ...

I absolutely don't want my sweet little daughter to be a princess.

No girlie-girls allowed.

When Malcolm was newly minted, I spent some time reading a book called "Why Boys Fail" so that I could better prepare him for educational success.  Everything in the book (from cover to cover) made so much sense to both my motherly and teacher-ly sensibilities.  I truly want to be the type of mother that really knows how to advocate for her child, whether he be at the top of the class, in the middle, or even somewhere near the bottom ...  And I want to do what I can, on my end, to set him up for the success that he deserves.

Now that I have a daughter under my roof as well, I stumbled upon a different book, "Cinderella Ate My Daughter" and, again, I found myself in firm agreement with its contents.  The color pink has come to symbolize a very superficial view of what it means to be a girl ...  And society has jumped on board.

Everywhere you turn, girls' items are blanketed in pink.

Clothes, toys, home decor ... And, if it's not pink, it must not be girl-appropriate!

While I'm not opposed to pink in general (Pearl has accumulated a healthy amount of pink paraphernalia in her nearly seven months), I still don't see why she has to be covered in it in order to be seen as a "girl."

"Look at Pearl in her little boy sleeper ..."  my sister-in-law announced as I carried Pearl into the room one evening.

The sleeper in question?

White with cartoony dinosaurs on it.

Sure, it used to be Malcolm's, but who says that dinosaurs are strictly for boys?

I know that I loved dinosaurs when I was a kid ...  Why should it be any different now?

Again, my mind goes back to the idea of my kids becoming who they want to become, especially if it is contrary to what is considered "normal" in terms of gender roles.

So what if my son snuggles with stuffed animals at night, loves to cook and clean, and participates in a gymnastics class (yes, we're still at it) once a week?

Does that make him any less of a boy?

And what if my daughter decides she likes dinosaurs, or football (although the Cleveland Browns aren't much fun to root for), or anything besides princess gowns and tiaras?

Does that make her any less of a girl?

While I cringe at the idea of raising a girl that is obsessed with the whole princess machine, and I will try to lovingly steer her clear of some of it, I know that she will ultimately end up liking what she likes.  As Malcolm did before her, she will find where her interests lie and I will support her as she pursues them ...

Still, I'm keeping my fingers crossed she'll be a lot like me.

Dinosaurs are cooler than princesses any day.

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