Almost four years ago when I birthed my first child Emily, I made a decision: My daughter would choose her own path. I’m not talking picking her own name or deciding her gender, but I limited pink and frills and included trucks and Lego in the toy box.
Joke’s on me. She is rough and tumble but Emily can spot a My Little Pony at twenty yards and wants to be outfitted in princess attire every single day. I’m hardly an expert on being a girl mom since my offspringprincesses are three and 18-months-old and I know that every child is different (male or female), but here are my top ten signs in this stage of cookies and crumbs that you might just be a girl mom.
1. Your daughter owns more clothes than you.
How does this happen? Who can say. All I know is when your baby has a better shoe collection than you do, you might be a girl mom.
2. Negotiating Level: Expert
Whether you’re coaxing your toddler to finish her dinner or saying ‘NO’ to another stuffy at the mall, you might be a girl mom if you’ve said things like “Elsa would disapprove of your attitude right now” or “Finish your dinner or I will take your pony away.” Am I proud of these moments? Let’s just say desperate times call for desperate measures.
3. Ponytails everywhere.
So many hair accessories. You may be rocking the mom bun or the trucker hat, but even if your daughter doesn’t have hair yet, the ribbons, bows and clips will invade your home. You will step on them, curse them and yet frantically search for the matching set when it’s time for family pictures. I don’t want to think about how many “ouchless” elastics my baby may have eaten this month as she cruises along after her big sister.
4. She can’t make up her mind!
Nothing has helped me better understand the look of confusion and distress as my husband tried to navigate living with my pregnancy hormones better than a toddler girl. She changes her mind and mood every three minutes. Tears and laughter can be part of the same sentence and there is no keeping up.
5. Princesses and Ponies
As aforementioned, my toddler truly believes she is a princess and channels this spirit every day, through elaborate song, dress and general royal tantrums. Keeping a girl child from four legged mane-tossing animals? Impossible.
6. Second Fiddle
Remember that special spot your dad and your husband had for YOU? Move over, lady. Your little girl will absolutely wrap these gents around her finger faster than you can say “Tangled.”
Why? (see princesses) I don’t know but Elsa and Anna are way up there next to cupcakes in the toddler dictionary. Get on board and let it gooooooo.
8. The Way They Play
Emily loves playing with her friends and has a lot of boy friends (not boyfriends… She is allowed to date when she’s 37) but it is hilarious to watch her interacting with a boy the same age. They might be playing “trucks” but while the boy is zooming the truck around the room, Emily is acting out a conversation between two vehicles. She is relational to the core and while this might be a stereotypical reality, it’s the truth in our house.
9. Your child’s bed looks like a scene from ‘Hoarders’
To sleep comfortably, one apparently needs every stuffie, book, princess and pony to be collected under one’s person in case of… robbery? Sister sharing? Who knows. Just picture the dragon Smaug on his pile of gold in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and you’ll have an accurate idea of my toddler’s bed situation.
The first time you see hands on hips and recognize a huge sigh belonging to you but emanating from your toddler, you realize that it’s not just the ‘please and thank-yous’ she’s picking up. So put your best foot (and self talk) forward since these little ladies are learning how to act from us… and hide the lipstick (trust me and my carpet on this one).
Regardless of the “I will nevers” I am forced to take back daily as my girls grow, I realize that parenting them is so much less about whether they embrace or reject the frills and trappings of traditional gender roles and so much more about the freedom to grow into women without having to choose between Rapunzel or race tracks. As Jessica Kirkland said in her viral letter, “As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think that they breathe fire.” My job is to never instill in them a sense of limitations based on their sex.
So parents, I raise my coffee to you as we navigate the bubble-filled waters of raising these fierce females or, more realistically, as we try to keep up.