I have tried really hard not to inflict gender stereotypes on to my daughter, MJ (two years old), allowing her to become the type of girl that she was born to be, not what I want her to be.
We send her to play soccer, she doesn’t have Barbies, she sees Daddy do the washing and cooking too, she often wears boys t-shirts and pjs (the best style for fulfilling the dinosaur need) and I try to create gender neutral play.
I have to admit that I’m pretty surprised at how quickly she has gravitated towards ‘girly’ things -such as handbags, jewellery, shopping and, more recently nail polish!
I have never given her any of these things, but she has sourced them out for herself. She found an old bag of mine that had make up in and started walking around the house telling me that she was ‘going shopping’!
She started noticing my necklace or earrings I put on each day, and asking where hers is, and her awareness of make up must have stemmed from her waiting and watching me getting ready so that we can finally get out of the house!
On a recent shopping trip where she delighted at walking past all the colourful new spring dresses released, and proudly pointed out each bright colour she recognised, her sharp eyes spotted the nail polish! Exciting, vibrant colours had been released and were on special at her eye level so that she could marvel at them herself.
I decided to indulge her and allowed her to choose two colours for us to paint our nails with. Her favourite colour is orange and she also chose blue (which happens to be mine, so that was nice of her).
I felt guilty putting off our doing our nails as I looked for free time, and the last few days I kept seeming to be running out of time!
After asking me for what unfortunately was about the twentieth time, I decided to stop absolutely everything I was doing and give her all of my attention. We had a delightful half hour painting our nails, and I allowed her to paint my toes which was a difficult task with her little fingers and my big feet, but she did a pretty good job! I was amazed at how still she was prepared to sit to let her nails dry, and how she let me do each nail carefully, although creatively stipulating that her feet be two different colours.
Lesson? Just stop and be a girl!
The washing, dinner, clothes and emails will all still be there. I know that sounds like a reworked cliche, and I am pretty sure that I know how to stop working to give my girls time. But this wasn’t about stopping to give them time…this was about putting things aside and sharing in some girls stuff together, and loving every second of it! Being proud to be a woman and let the girl out to play without worrying about anything else!
What are little girls made of?
Handbags, jewellery, shopping and nail polish that’s what my little girls are made of!