The many things I didn’t know about raising daughters
Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
A lot of stuff people tell you about raising girls is crap because apparently it is pretty cool to talk about how dramatic and moody young girls are. There is no shortage of people to tell you how hard things are going to be in (insert any number of years older than they are now) even if you completely acknowledge that while things are sometimes difficult now, you still think your girls are amazing. It is also really easy to draw up images about how raising girls is just playing with dolls, wearing a frilly hat while you play tea party and painting your nails every so often. “Our sons fight and yell and throw shit all over the place! Your girls just wear such pretty dresses and listen so well!”
So if you are a parent raising girls you hear about how much time they will take in the bathroom or about how they will yell at you or roll their eyes at you. You hear about their cliques in high school and about the arrival in their lives of the mean girl. Or, maybe about how they are the mean girl.
I don’t need to write about those things because everyone has read them and many people believe them whether they should or not.
But there are things I did not know about raising daughters, partially because of my own biases and partially because men often choose to ignore the stories or lives of girls and women. The things we would know about daughters if we looked beyond advertising and actually watched them play for a bit or asked them what they love and hate about life.
So, here are some of the things I didn’t know about raising daughters but that I sure as hell do know now:
That each of them is so amazingly, completely different.
That they see themselves as leaders.
That they’d be so willing to challenge me when I say stupid things.
That they are kick ass tattoo illustrators.
That dads can easily talk to them about menstruation, sex ed, & about their way their bodies change.
That they love t-shirts that say I’m a strong girl more than they love t-shirts that say I’m pretty.
That they don’t understand your stupid joke telling them they will never be allowed to date.
That a 5-year-old girl and a 38-year-old man could have in depth conversations about the world.
That they can eat more cake in one sitting than I can.
That you can’t possible know what they are thinking. But you can ask them and they will tell you.
That they love telling people who think there is such a thing as toys for boys and toys for girls that they are wrong.
That they do indeed have a lot of attitude and that that attitude doesn’t always work well with the one you have.
That they sometimes need to yell. Really loud. And that they need you to be okay with that.
That I would cry every time I see them learn how to do something they thought they couldn’t do.
That they would be more willing to hold a snake than I would be.
That they don’t find “run like a girl” an insult.
That they will tell you you are stupid if you think “run like a girl” is an insult.
That they are dependent on adults to treat them like growing, developing humans who deserve to be told the truth.
That she’d be better than me at math by the age of 7.
That they know more fart jokes than I do.
That they have an imagination way bigger than yours.
They are not afraid of explosions in science experiments.
That I would think about that thing they said last night while in the middle of a serious meeting at work.
That they don’t care if you have to answer emails at night because bedtime stories are better.
That they don’t make assumptions that doctors or garbage collectors or lawyers are men.
That they don’t know they aren’t supposed to like Caillou.
That they so openly tell adults exactly what their opinion is.
That they love saying the word “fuck” in front of strangers and making you look horrible.
That I could possibly love them as much as I do now.
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