July 9, 2012

A Girl Raising Girls

I just read this article from the parenting section of the Huffington Post. It's all about the ways some dads said their perception of women has changed since having a daughter.

At first, I thought about emailing it to my husband. Maybe he'd read it and think about the topic and how it might apply to himself. Not that he needs to, he's a fantastic husband and father, but I'm always lacking in adult interaction and it might make for an interesting conversation, at the very least.

Yeah it's a great question to ask men. Stereotypes are everywhere and men get typed as being womanizers a lot of the time. So what happens to those womanizers after they settle down and end up with a little sugar, spice and everything nice in their life? If you want to find out what those dads said, check out the slide show at the bottom of the article. It's definitely an interesting read.

But what about the way women view themselves? Several months ago there seemed to be a war being raged on Facebook (where else?) about whether some women dress too immodestly or whether men treat women likes pieces of meat. The truth is that both sides of the argument are probably true to an extent. If you're a Pinterest-lurker like I am (I hardly ever pin, but I definitely browse!) you've probably seen the text image that wonders the question, "if more women acted like ladies would more men be prompted to behave like gentlemen?" and I feel like this topic is a never ending cycle. It's a classic chicken or egg. And I don't have an answer for you on this one.

The Huffington Post article got me thinking about how having daughters has changed my own perceptions of women and motherhood.

Before: Women have to fight in this world to get wherever men are. If women fight hard enough, they'll be respected. If they fall short, they'll be objectified.
After: Work as hard as you can ladies, toward whatever goals you have set for yourself. Don't worry about how men see you. How do you see you? That's what matters.

Before: Being a woman is challenging. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally.
After: I still believe my "before". However, I've learned that whatever challenges you are facing, other women are experiencing them too. Maybe not every woman experiences every challenge that you face, but don't isolate yourself by feeling sorry for yourself and believing you are alone. Reach out for help and don't be proud.

Before: All women who have children and choose to work outside of the home while raising their family are strong and impressive.
After: Not all women who have children and choose to work outside of the home while raising their family are strong and impressive.

Before: Being a SAHM is easy-peasy. Spending the day in your own home running your household exactly how you want it must be incredibly rewarding.
After: Being a SAHM is the hardest job I've ever had. I can't speak for others, but for myself, it's lonely, it's tedious, it's thankless, and yields minimal rewards. And I love it.

Before: Little girls are not gross like little boys are.
After: This is completely false. They can be just as disgusting.

Before: Everything you do with your first child (children, in my case) will be wrong. You'll make so many mistakes you'll think you're lucky your child survives past infancy. But at least you'll learn in time for your second.
After: False. You will do so many things right. You'll find many reasons to be proud of yourself. And the things you do wrong aren't all that wrong. They might feel like it, but most of the time you really can't do anything at all, and that's what feels wrong.

Before: You'll never get mad at your kids because you remember how your childhood was and you'll never let yourself become THAT parent.
After: You'll be amazed at how much you can actually dislike your children. It's that whole, I-love-you-but-I-don't-like-you phenomenon. Don't feel guilty, just let it pass. You'll like your kids again after a while.

Before: Women are amazing and you can do it all!
After: Women are amazing, but you can't do it all.

Before: Be there for your kids. They'll need you.
After: Be there for your kids, they'll need you. But you'll need them too. It's your job as their parent to raise them to take on the world, know how to be supportive as friends, siblings, and children, and how to be empathetic, sympathetic, kind, and loving.

Before: Life is short. Eat dessert first.
After: Dinner first. Dessert later.

Before: Being a mommy is the best feeling in the world.
After: Being a mommy is the best feeling in the world!

For me, not everything changed after I had kids. Some things did though, and I've had to learn how to be harder on myself without being too hard on myself, how to balance family-time and me-time, how to connect with my husband and my children at the same time, AND how to connect with my husband and my children separately. Being a woman is an amazing hat to wear, and I hope to live a life that shows my daughters how wonderful it truly is. I think it takes a little bit of sugar, a lot of spice, and lots and lots of being nice to pull it off.

I've got an entire cabinet dedicated to spice...

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