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Are Daughters Different?
July 9, 2012 - Stacey Sacco
Most people know I was a little taken aback by the idea of having a girl in our testosterone filled household. The concept of frills and dresses and pink was foreign to me. I’ve been asked quite a few times since she was born if my opinion has changed. How do I feel now about having a daughter?
Largely, it’s been the same. The first four months of her life is strikingly similar to the first four months of the boy’s lives. Whether they are girls or boys, life with an infant revolves around nursing, diapers, and sleep (or lack there of). There were all the normal milestones of smiles and giggles and rolling over. There have been very fussy periods and super happy moods.
But there are little differences I’ve noticed already. We regularly comment on how her coos are different from those of the boys. Her voice already seems distinctively feminine. She’s become a great sleeper. She recently discovered her thumb and will pop it in her mouth and put herself back to sleep. I had no idea a baby would do that!!
And then there are the clothes. I’m so used to just grabbing anything out of the drawer and putting it on. The biggest choice for the boys is between Batman and Superman shirts. Now I have a closet full of dresses and matching outfits with ruffles on the bum. Unfortunately, I dress her a little like I dress myself: There are days she’s had on three or four outfits before we leave the house because I can’t decide what I like together. Sometimes I just dress her like a boy and am done with it. And the bows… I have a whole basket (none of which I actually purchased) and I always forget to put one on her head, much to the disappointment of my sisters.
These are all little differences, things we’ll get used to in time. For me, the biggest change is how I feel about myself. When I had boys, I was a role model, teaching them how to behave in public, eat healthy meals, interact with friends, obey the rules, etc. Now that I have a daughter, I realize I’m her primary example of how to be a woman.
I know I want her to be strong and independent and open-minded. Do I embody these characteristics myself? As a girl, I know it’s hard to break the status quo, to stand up for yourself, or to make a different choice. I want her to be strong enough to make the hard choices and not feel the pressure to be like everyone else. But would she know that by looking at my life. Am I doing a good enough job of showing her that she can be anything she wants to be?
For example, I’m so thankful that I get to stay home with my kids however, is it sending the message to her that what she “should” do when she’s older is to get married and have children? If that’s what she wants, I’m behind her 100%. If she chooses another path, I’ll be her biggest cheerleader then too.
We all out up with a certain amount of garbage in our lives. Things happen and people choose to act poorly. Sometimes I think, I just don’t want to get into a spat with someone to make the change. I don’t ever want my daughter to think she has to settle for fair-weather friendships, mediocre relationships, or condescending supervisors. I want her to know she’s worth more than that. But do I act as if I am? How else will she know that she deserves better?
So what do I think about having a girl? I think it will be fun- a great adventure. I also think it will be challenging in a totally different way than the boys can challenge me. I’m more conscious of my own actions and how I allow others to treat me. I’m becoming more dedicated to being a woman of faith and love, but also one that speaks her mind, stands up for herself and can promote positive change.
My mother was a great example of these characteristics for her three girls. We all still go to her for advice or just a listening ear and a hug. I hope that one day Anelise feels about me the way I feel about my own mom.
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