My husband likes to tell the story of the first time he realized that getting a time-out was just an opportunity to play with his toys in the privacy of his own room. Getting punished just didn’t seem so bad … Continue reading
“What are you going to do when your kids start school?” Have you ever gotten that question? I’ve heard it from friends, family, and even complete strangers. Most mean well when they ask, but sometimes I get the sense that … Continue reading
In the midst of this coronavirus crisis, I have seen some pretty amazing, Pinterest-worthy ideas for games and activities to entertain children during a lockdown. Mazes that zigzag through entire houses, art and science projects that would make any teacher … Continue reading
I was 26 when I got married and 27 when I gave birth to my first child. My husband and I were just slightly younger than the national average, but after having already watched most of my friends get married … Continue reading
My alarm went off at 6:30am this morning. After months of waking up when the kids wake up, it still hurts my heart a bit. I’ve seen memes promising wine for those mothers tasked with waking angry teenagers for school, … Continue reading
This might be a controversial opinion, but I happen to think my parents did a stellar job raising me. I think I’ve become a pretty level-headed, rational, kind adult, and I like to think that my parents had a lot … Continue reading
I was a bit of a tomboy growing up. I hated wearing skirts, and preferred to shop in the boys department for clothing. I played sports, and enjoyed spending afternoons riding bikes, climbing trees, and exploring the woods by our house. My favorite color was blue, and I hated pink. Sure, I liked playing with dolls, but I was not your typical girly girl (that came later).
Now that I have a girl of my own, I wonder what she’ll be like as she gets older. Right now, she wears a lot of pink and her closet is filled dresses. She has lots of dolls, and she spends an inordinate amount of time hugging and kissing them. But what if she’s a tomboy when she grows up? Here are 5 ways I plan to validate my daughter’s femininity if she grows up to be a tomboy.
1. Dresses and dolls don’t make you a woman. Femininity cannot be reduced to how you like to dress or spend your free time. If your daughter doesn’t like to wear dresses, you don’t need to force her except for very rare occasions (like weddings). Remind her often that her femininity is more than skin deep, and let her express herself as she sees fit (as long as it’s modest and reasonable).
2. It’s okay if your daughter doesn’t fully fit the “tomboy” mold. She might hate pink but love dolls. She might hate princesses but love dresses. Don’t force your daughter into a mold. She might have certain tendencies that could earn her the “tomboy” label, but you don’t want to pressure her to fit every facet of the stereotype. Stereotypes might have some basis in truth, but people are so much more complicated than any cookie cutter mold could be.
3. It’s fine for your daughter to have mostly guy friends, but encourage her to choose a few women to be role models of true femininity in her life. Your daughter might enjoy the company of guys over girls, but encourage her to choose a few girls or women to befriend. They don’t need to be the same age as her, but as your daughter gets older, having good female role models will be especially important!
4. Give her the space to change her mind. Or not. Some girls will grow out of their tomboy tendencies as they get older, while other habits will be here to stay. There’s no way to predict what will survive childhood and adolescence and carry into adulthood. Don’t make a big deal about changing preferences, and be sure to regularly remind your daughter that your love for her is unconditional.
5. Teach her that femininity comes from the inside, not the outside, and is rooted in relationship. Even tomboys will often be drawn to communion with others (think sisterhood) and will be more inclined to nurture and empathize with others (think motherhood). Even the most stereotypical tomboy is still a woman. She might enjoy playing rough and getting dirty with the boys, but she will still want to share herself with others. Let her share herself with you. Let your daughter be herself. As she grows up and figures out who she is, she’ll be in a better position to share herself with you.
I had my first “boyfriend” in sixth grade, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Shocker: We broke up by early March. Like many teens, I moved from one guy to the next, hoping one would heal my broken heart. These … Continue reading
I distinctly remember the fear I experienced as I considered my son’s transition to being an older brother. He was not quite two when we learned that we were expecting his younger sister, and even as the months passed, I … Continue reading
5:32am: A small voice can be heard over the monitor, calling your name. The voice gets louder, more insistent. You roll over, and pray it stops. 5:38am: The small voice is now screaming. You launch yourself out of bed, praying … Continue reading