This post started off like any other blog post of mine. I got an idea that seemed completely brilliant and inspired and set out to share my wisdom with the world. About halfway through, something changed. You see, this post was originally titled "How To Raise A Benevolent Child." You are probably wondering what changed between then and now. I realized that although my daughter is so considerate of others and just the most super duper sweetheart that you will ever meet, I don't know the first thing about how to raise my daughter. And that scares me.
I never used to think about how to raise my child. It was just something that came naturally to me: When she's hungry, feed her. When she's wet, change her. When she's sad, comfort her. No one ever told me how I could make her be an excellent human being, let alone a tolerable one. I'm still learning as I go.
There are many things that parents of girls have to worry about, all of which seem trivial but make all the difference. For instance, you have to tell your daughter she's beautiful but you have to balance it with... "and you're really good at math?!" Really! People look at me like I'm from a foreign planet when my daughter twirls around in the grocery store while singing, "I'm a pretty princess!" at the top of her little lungs. I hold her close and tell her, "Yes, you are beautiful... and you're really good at math!" This gets people to stop staring at me like I've committed some kind of cardinal sin by allowing my daughter to believe that she is a pretty princess, all because of the addition of something that others deem worthwhile (math).
My daughter likes to build things and to see how they are put together. Because of this, many of her favorite toys deal with building and construction. The kid loves blocks and LEGO bricks! For my birthday, we went to the local Toys R Us store to let our daughter spend her $3 gift certificate on a toy of her choice. She chose one of the new LEGO Friends playsets (Emma's Design Studio, which is a fashion design studio set). Again, I was torn: a lot of moms don't approve of the new LEGO Friends line, and even worse, am I being an awful mom for allowing her to choose the Design Studio over the science-based Inventor's Workshop set?
Sometimes you just have to stop thinking things through so much and start supporting your child the best way that you can - by allowing her to grow into the woman that she is destined to become with as little interference from you as necessary. Sure, my daughter pretends that she's a pretty pretty princess, but she also knows that she is smart, kind, and loved. Maybe she'll become an architect one day, or maybe a fashion designer - no matter what, I will support and encourage her to help her realize her dreams. I'm likely not going to receive an award from my community for being the best feminist, but by golly, I will strive to be the best mom that any little girl could have.
What do you think the best/worst parts of raising a girl are? Has anyone ever judged your parenting style because your daughter wore too much pink / played princess / aspired to be more like Kate Middleton than Condolezza Rice?