My oldest daughter has this thing she does when she’s uncomfortable but doesn’t want you to know. She slightly smiles and chuckles while scrunching her nose up as high as it could go but, its clear that the smile she has is forced. It’s how I can always tell when she’s lying to me about something. It’s how I can sense when something has hurt her feelings but she’s trying to be the “tough girl.” And all I want to do in those moments is tell her that it’s okay to not pretend you’re tough.
It’s good to feel your emotions and understand them. To decipher if what you’re feeling is true or if it’s a lie. But if you stuff it down, and pretend, you’ll never know what you feel or know about yourself. You won’t really understand if something actually bothers you or not.
I know this face. I know the expression so well. I can almost hear the unspoken words she’s saying as I’m watching her feel the realness of what she’s feeling.
“Ugh, you’re POOR husband.”
The woman says, as she looks at my four amazingly beautiful daughters.
One child is usually hanging on the side of the grocery cart. One is by my side trying to lead the pack as second-in-command. One is sitting in the children’s seat smiling at the person talking to us or trying to give me kisses. The other is either holding the hands of my older girls or she’s sitting uncomfortably in the grocery cart basket saying, “mommy, I want out!”
I want to start by saying, I understand this comment. I get that you “mean” well. You don’t have an ugly intention with this low-key snark remark.
All you’re saying is,
“man your husband’s dreams must have been crushed because he’s surrounded by girls that adore him. His only purpose in life was to have a boy and that was it. He would only enjoy fatherhood if he had boys to enjoy it with, who were like him. He must HATE being a dad to girls.”
Well, I want you to stop telling husband’s like mine, that. And I want you to stop telling my girls that boys are better than them. Because, without you actually realizing it, that is what you’re telling them.
Yep, my daughters will get chased around when they’re older. They will get hit on. They may have people make passes at them that are unwanted and unsolicited.
So…is this the only reason that my husband should dread being a dad to girls?
Is this the only reasoning behind the comments my daughters hear every single time we leave the house altogether?
The part that I “get” is that parenting daughters is hard in the teenage years. But I’m 95% sure that teenage boys are also very difficult. The other 5% is simply due to me not having more than one penis in my home (Sorry to the people who don’t call body parts by their name).
Often times I feel pressured in my people-pleasing brain to go along with this act. To pretend that I am also dreading having four girls. That I understand where that person is coming from, just so I don’t make them feel bad or uncomfortable that I don’t agree with them.
I say, ” Yep, we’re in trouble!” Or something stupid and cliche like that. Smile the fakest smile that I can muster, turn my head towards my oldest and rub her shoulder as I say it.
THAT is when I get the face. The face that tells me what that person just said hurt my child and made her feel uncomfortable. It made her feel inadequate and quite honestly, it always will. That face tells me that I just affirmed that person’s false assumption and made it look like I agree with them.
For the record, I wanted four boys. That is not a joke. That is what I used to tell my husband and it came from a selfish heart who wanted to be the center of attention.
I can’t say this enough…I am so glad God gave me four daughters. I am so glad I am their mother.
I’m so glad that I will get to shape a small corner of this world that happens to be female.
The only part I’m not glad about, is raising them in a world where being in a family of all girls is a bad thing, a worse thing, a burden, a dread, and something for someone who doesn’t even know us to feel pity for.
I have realized that this is a problem. So in my way defending my tribe of girls, I reply with “No, they are awesome. We are super blessed.” In that moment I look at Elena, my oldest. And I say, “Huh, Elena? We’re really lucky.” And she smiles…a real smile, and says “yeah.” This smile is different. When she smiles this smile, it brings warmth and goodness to her eyes, it shows that her heart is soothed and she is resting in knowing that she can trust that her mom knows the truth and sees the value in her and her sisters. I love this smile.
And I just keep walking. I no longer give those comments space in my day or my girls’ day. It is not fair for them to hear comments that are unwarranted, making them think that their dad would be better off without them in his life or that his life isn’t full until he gets his boy. Almost as in insult to my husband as their dad. As if he couldn’t be the same caliber dad that he would, had he had a son.
So let my girls be. Let them be tough, kind, gentle…or simply just be a kid.
Let them be LOVED.
Let them be girls and not feel bad for it.
Let them love and be loved by their dad and not think twice about it.
Let them be in a family of women and help them know this is a GOOD thing!
Let them care for each other, have such an amazing bond that we cannot even fathom, let them have friendship that I would never have dreamed of for them.
Stand back and watch these four girls take on these phrases and kick out your predetermined assumptions of raising girls. Watch them bring their dad such a deep sense of joy that he was meant and built specifically to feel.
Because in my opinion, its awesome. They are strong, they are tough, gentle, kind, loving, discerning, wise, thoughtful, and most of all they are a child of God who was created equally as boys, both in the image of God…together. They are not lesser than. They just are.
I want to note that this may be a tad dramatic. But I understand the same things may be said to families of all boys. It’s not okay either way. Don’t make a family feel like their lives aren’t full quite just yet, simply because they lack a specific gender in their line-up.