My precious daughters love all the things I have always wanted them to love. And although I may seem like a control-freak of a mom, the kind of mother who made sure that my daughters chose the things I wanted them too, I'm really not. I am almost ashamed to admit that I have had very little influence, if any, on Princess’ decision she's obsessed with all-things pink, and nail polish and jewelry. Diva has decided on her own to love showers and being a clean-neat-guru, and playing home, babying her dolls, etc. Obviously the wee ones see me use this stuff and do these types of tasks. Even when my girls are into the things I abhor (i.e. pink, Barney, Calliou, gymnastics, cheerleading [seriously?!?!?!?! ICK!], polka-dotty dresses, jewelry, Miley Cyrus, etc) I still tell those sweet, impressionable daughters that it’s fabulous that they love those things.
So, I've been pondering all the things that Diva and Princess think and say about what they worship -- princesses and princes, their play kitchen and all that entails, the baking, the cooking, wearing an apron. Those two girls LOVE to talk about getting married. Princess always says, “When I get married…” and she positively adores loves taking care of her baby! To be completely honest, all of this scares the sh*t out of me! It’s not exactly that I’m not afraid I won’t be able to teach my daughters what I want to, but their talking like this just wakes me up and makes me realize… I don’t like the way it’s headed and unfortunately, it’s one of life’s battles that I do not have control over. In allowing my daughters (and son) to make many of their own decisions, I’ve given them the grandiose idea (and right idea) that they can control their own destiny. They can choose to like what they like, even if it’s not a popular choice. I have tried to raise independent thinkers and apparently, I’ve been successful (so far.)
The point here is that I don’t want to raise daughters who think that their role, or the things they should be excited about and enjoy, are traditional women’s activities. I don’t want them to think they are supposed to love baking, sewing, or princesses. I most definitely do NOT want them thinking they are supposed to want a prince, that someone is EVER supposed to come rescue them, or that they are even supposed to get married. I don’t want them thinking they are supposed to have children (even though I really, really,REALLY want lots of grandchildren someday!). I want to teach my children, especially my daughters, to love the things they love no matter what they are. If they get older and hate baking or cooking, God love them! I’ll tell them to hire a chef when they grow up. If they hate princesses and want to be a soccer player, I’ll tell them to Bend It Like Beckham! (Then I’ll blush in embarrassment for myself). If they want to be single for the rest of their lives, I’ll tell them to enjoy themselves and their friends. If they decide they love women, I’ll tell them I’m proud of who they are. I want my daughters to understand that exactly who they are is beyond enough. They never have to get married or have children or do the things I’ve done or like the things I like. They are great just the way they are. I want them to think of marriage as something that is an option, something they can partake in if they choose, an added extra that they could certainly live without. Not a necessity.
I might offend a thousand people right now, but I don’t really care. I never want my daughters to end up housewives with children and thinking that's all they are. I understand that some women like that that is all they are, and think it’s more fulfilling than anything else. However, for me, if I end up with daughters who feel that way... that will be hard for me to deal with. I have to balance this extreme, because chances are they will get married and they will bake at some point, and I want to be happy if that is what they choose to do. But it makes me want to hide my scrapbooking stuff and teach them to be feminists.
I know my daughters will look up to me and therefore may want to follow in my footsteps of marriage and children. No matter how much it pains me, I will grin & bear it by loving and supporting their choices. The most important thing to me is to ensure they know that this is NOT the only choice, but one of many options that they could choose. Although I’ve already made the marriage and baby choice, I want to lead by example in other areas too. I want to show them that I am so much more than just this and I want more in my life than only this, and my choices of wanting more is not “just acceptable”, it’s great!
I want to learn how to give them a balanced view of marriage and children, and I’m not sure quite yet how that works but I am sure as hell not going to have my little girls running around saying things like 'when I grow up and get married', or 'when I grow up and have babies' as if it is their only choice.