Parenting girls is not what I thought it would be. Actually, parenting in general is pretty much nothing like I had anticipated! However, I digress.
Lying there at the hospital, jelly on my belly, watching the scan, we waited for the gender prediction of our triplets.
“Three girls” the doctor said.
My god, the next eighteen years of my life flashed by in a flurry of dresses, dolls, ballet classes and teenage angst. All of this illuminated by a shade of pink.
Yet here I am a few years down the line, mother of three little people, and there is very little pink in my house. In fact, I cringe every time my daughters are stereotyped as princesses and the like.
Why? Well I want my daughters to grow up knowing that being girls doesn’t mean that they have to be the rescued – they can be they rescuer. These days it’s just as plausible to have a heroine as it is to have hero and I want to embrace that.
My daughters are two now and do you know what? They LOVE their tractors and trains as much as they love their dolls and prams. This isn’t unusual but you don’t find either tractors or trains in the “girls section” of toy shops. This leads me to wonder, why on earth does a toy shop need gender defined aisles?
Who decided that girls should wear t shirts saying “cute as a button” whilst their male peers have superheroes and pirates adorning their clothing? Was it the same person who thought that girls should play with dolls and kitchens whilst boys could build with Lego or fly remote controlled planes? What message does that send? Certainly not one that I want my children to pick up on.
So, I will continue to provide the experiences and opportunities to my daughters which they are keen to embrace. Remember I mentioned ballet? Substituted for gymnastics. Not because I perceive ballet to be too stereotypically girly for them, but because actually they quite like flinging themselves around and scaling anything in reach.
I will continue to nurture their individual interests, and if that means in a few years, I will take someone to ballet, then someone to football then someone else horse riding then so be it. I hope that I have a hallway full of water guns and my little ponies.
I hope my efforts mean that my girls can grow up to be who they want to be, rather than who society makes them believe that they should be.