I love being Mama to both a little boy and a baby girl. After I had George, I liked the idea of being a boy mom and having a minivan full of crazy boys. But then we got the call that we were having a teeny girl, and the dream changed.
I grew up with an older brother, so the older-boy-younger-sister thing makes perfect sense to me. I thoroughly enjoy seeing the differences in my children. Not only did God bless them with unique personalities, but He gave them unique genders.
Side Note: I was an English major and studied the differences between “gender” and “sex.” However, I’m going to use the word “gender” in place of “sex,” because I like “sex” having it’s own, more obvious, category. Gender, in my opinion, is more than just a social construct. George is biologically a boy, and his gender is masculine. I’ll take questions at the end, should I need to clarify.
George has never been one of those stereotypical “all boy” boys. He doesn’t like to get dirty or wet. He isn’t the first to cannonball into the pool, and I’m not certain if he’s ever jumped into the pool of his own volition. He wasn’t a climber, and I haven’t had to worry much about him biting or hitting another kid (other than his sister…eye roll). He lives in his little academic world most of the time.
Olivia, on the other hand, is “all girl”…mostly. If I hold up a dress, she immediately tries to take off her shirt over her little toddler belly. She talks about bows, shoes, and babies (she also talks about bellybuttons regularly, but that doesn’t really support my argument). She also loves to throw balls, play with cars, and get dirty.
And I’m crazy about both of them.
However. I have a bone to pick with the “gender fluidity” shenanigans creeping into our country’s culture. I honestly don’t believe in gender neutrality. And I think it’s pretty clear the youngest of our society don’t either.
Yes, I’m going to have to teach my children what is or is not appropriate for their respective genders. For instance, I’ve painted Olivia’s toenails (very carefully), and I’ve had to explain to George that boys don’t get to have colorful toenails. I’ve also had to differentiate between lipstick and chapstick, as George routinely steals my Burt’s Bees lip balm and smears it all over his face, but I keep the lipstick far away.
Apparently, in this insane day and age, I could be called out for enforcing a gender stereotype on my child. This isn’t a mandate. I’m simply training him on the basics of being an American man. If we’re at the grocery store and I ask which color balloon he wants to take home, he usually chooses pink or purple. Is that worth a freak out? No. Do I care that he likes purple? Um. No. Honestly, I assume that some other kid will criticize his choice eventually, and he’ll feel some pressure to adapt. And, frankly, I don’t see this as a negative on the whole.
What spurred on this sudden soapbox?
I’ve noticed that Olivia spends at least a fourth of her day playing with about eight baby dolls and stuffed animals. She carries them around the house. She totes them in a wagon. She especially loves tossing them onto my bed and playing “night-night,” where she tucks them in, rearranges them, and gives them a kiss, a pat, and a “night-night,” before lying down next to them. It’s precious.
And it occurred to me tonight that she’s a little, teeny mommy. There’s something innate in her heart that leads her to mother. George doesn’t do this. He tosses her babies around the room, much to her dismay. He does have his favorite stuffed dogs, but he doesn’t pretend much with them. Olivia’s babies are her babies.
How does that translate into today’s women? I recently had a mom friend who “confessed” feeling guilty that she wanted to be a “1950s housewife.” Why did she feel guilty? Because we women are told we have to be “more than that” by our freakin’ progressive society.
But I have to ask: Why is being a mom and wife not enough?
Even looking at my 20-month-old, there is something innate in women’s hearts to be a home for their families. And that’s a place they’re allowed to thrive.
If this insanely harsh feminist movement is doing anything, it’s stealing those gifts from women. If you want to work—good gracious—get out there and work! If you want to stay home, then, by George, embrace that challenge (But be warned—it’s, by far, the hardest job I can imagine, as it never, ever ends).
Yes, I’m thrilled we’re in a culture that allows women to be more than “only” housewives, but women who feel called to or choose that lifestyle should be admired as much as those who work out of the home full time.
I didn’t plan on being a stay-at-home mom. I don’t know what my plan was, but I can’t imagine a different life at this stage. I also admire my mom friends who have to look professional every day when heading to work (after dealing with a sick kid all night). They’ve had to pump at work or on the go, or they have to hand off their babies after maternity leave ends. I also feel for them, because most of them feel deeply guilty about leaving those babies every day.
I love that my daughter has the freedom to choose whichever path she wants, but she’ll quickly learn there are definite pros and cons about both.
And, in the meantime, I’ll continue to play tea parties and night-night. George will continue to toss the babies across the room, much to Olivia’s dismay. And I’ll try to grow my babies into competent, faithful adults one day and one decision at a time.