My first-born was a boy. A rough and tumble little bruiser who loves to climb couches and trees and Daddy — and who is all boy, as they say.
I was a little relieved when I got the news at his 18-week sonogram. Phew, I sighed. No payback for me with a sassy little girl… yet. Of course I would’ve been thrilled if he turned out to be a she — and when Kate came 20 months later (and now another little girl due in August), I am all aglow and excited for the sugar and spice in my life.
But it’s no doubt: girls can sometimes get a bad rap.
People give you a nudge and “just wait until they’re teenagers!” There’s chuckles and chatter about hormones and crushes and wedding costs. And I think back on my own teenage years — years where I was sassy and stubborn (and sometimes, shall I say, bratty?) — which has caused excited, but cautionary, emotions at the notion: “What if I’m having a little me?”
But lately, that’s all changed. As I have more children, I realize how unique and wonderful each new little creature is. How – even though they are a mix of DNA and genes and all sorts of chemistry passed down family trees – they are still all their own. I was excited to have a boy and then a girl and now I’m thrilled to have another — and all this girl talk is getting me thinking about the unique aspects of raising the fairer gender.
Raising girls is a special responsibility. Not that raising boys isn’t (by any means), but girls come with their own distinction. We are unique creatures, sometimes complicated, sometimes delicate — but mostly, with more power and strength than we know. And I want my girls to know that.
I have become more and more sensitive, mostly due to motherhood, to what the world teaches our young women. Much of what I see on TV scandalizes women with story lines of gossip, emotional recklessness, hating other women, cat-fighting, desperation, using their bodies for attention, etc. And sure, I can say: that’s just TV. But then I look around me and I see those cultural affects on young girls everywhere. They are told: it is OK to be mean and it is everything to be pretty.
But my voice will be bigger than that.
As their mama, my voice will say: I love that you are stubborn, but use that to stand for good. I love that you are emotional, use that to show compassion to others. I love that you are interested in your friends’ lives — but use that for encouragement, instead of gossip. I love that you are opinionated, now share your unique voice with respect. I love that you are beautiful, but know what defines true beauty. I love that you are ambitious, but know that your purpose is bigger than you. I love that you are strong, but may you seek for strength in God. I love that you are you — and that’s exactly who you’re meant to be.
I want to show my girls that there is strength in gentleness, there is power in humility — and mostly, that being a confident, beautiful woman has nothing to do with how you look, but in how you love. And knowing they are watching my example, I will work harder every day to be the same way.
I am excited to have daughters for all the reasons moms are sometimes nervous to have them: because they are girls. And what a gift that is.
“The woman is the heart of the home. Let us pray that we women realize the reason of our existence: to love and be loved and through this love become instruments of peace in the world.” – Mother Teresa