Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Run like a princess

Ok, so here's a deep, dark secret I will share with you now. You ready for it? You sure? Positive? Ok, here goes: When I was pregnant, I really wanted a girl.

It's not that I didn't like boys, or that I wouldn't have been completely and utterly happy to have had a little boy. But, down, in the depths of my heart, I longed for a little girl. A girl to dress in pretty dresses. A girl to wear hair bows. A girl to go shopping. A girl to play tea party. I wanted all that. And, lo and behold, I was blessed with two precious little girls.

Now, here comes the tricky part: raising two girls in today's world.

Geesh, I cannot turn on the news, flip on the radio or open a magazine without the perils of growing up girl screaming out at me. First, it was the bullying and subsequent suicide of a teenage girl, then the aforementioned Cinderella Ate My Daughter book, then the Tiger Mother book, and now the push-up bikini top for 7-year-olds. My god, sometimes it's enough to make me want to pack us all up and move to the South Pole. Well, except that it is really, really cold down there. And, I really, really hate cold. So that probably wouldn't work. I do think penguins are cute, though, so that's a plus. And, we definitely would have no need for that ridiculous bikini top.

Anyway, in a fit of oh-my-god-i'm-raising-two-girls-and-have-no-idea-how-to-do-it, I went to my trusty, dusty, local library. I checked out The Curse of the Good Girl, The Mother-Daughter Project, and Little Girls Can Be Mean. (That Cinderella book had a super long waiting list, so I should be getting it by the time Molly turns 25.) I've started reading snippets of them all. I haven't gotten very far because I've only become more depressed. It seems I'm fighting a losing battle, and it seems I've been aiding the enemy by purchasing any princess-related paraphernalia and telling my daughter that she looks cute or that she needs to be "good" and "nice." The thing is, Molly absolutely adores dressing up like a princess, and I do think she should be "good" and "nice." Ack! I'm doomed to failure.

I have been trying to counteract that whole "appearances are everything" mindset with my own little technique. For a while now, almost every time I told Molly that she was beautiful or looked cute, I explained that she was beautiful because she had a beautiful heart. Now, whenever I say "you look beautiful," Molly says, "that's because I have a beautiful heart." When I ask her why she has a beautiful heart, she says because she is a good big sister, is nice to her friends, listens to Mommy and Daddy and is smart. WAIT. Crap. There I go using the words "good" and "nice" again. Failure, I tell ya.

Now, yes, I do realize that my girls are only 3 and 1, and that I'm probably being completely ridiculous by overthinking and obsessing on this. I know I have many more years for continued freaking as they grow. My only hope is that I can do a good job being an example for them. I've told Cory that I will not discuss watching what I eat in front of them. If I'm eating a salad, it's because vegetables help me run faster. (That's already helped Molly because she's started eating carrots, broccoli and the occasional piece of lettuce. Wahoo!) Molly sees me getting my running clothes on to go for runs and has even said that when she grows up she wants to go for runs with me. So, here I was, being cocky, thinking I was doing a semi-decent OK job as a role model. Then came this ...

Molly was putting on her own running shoes (yes, we call them running instead of tennis), when she told me that princesses don't wear running shoes. WHAT?!?!   NO!!!!   FAILURE!!!

"Yes, of course they do, Molly," I tried to explain. "No," she said. "Princesses only wear princess heels." Ugh.

Am I doomed? Is it back to square one? I feel like I need to go run a race in full princess regalia just to prove to her that princesses do wear running shoes. Though, running with all that tulle and lace could get tricky. Maybe a tiara will suffice? A tiara and a t-shirt that says, See, Molly? Princesses do wear running shoes. Will that do it? Who's with me?

Man, I have the feeling this will not be the last post lamenting the dangers of raising daughters. Boy oh boy, what was I thinking when I said I wanted a girl? With all this trouble they're causing me, it's a really good thing they're cute. OhShoot. There I go again. 

With Molly and Charlotte at last year's Mother's Day run. I did not actually run in the tiara, but maybe this year I will ...


  1. Love reading your are a great writer! Raising boys or girls, there is a lot to worry about! I had no idea that constant worrying was such a hazard of this job!

  2. Amen! Penelope was 2 days old and I started bawling about how I didn't want her to be made fun of or think she had to be perfect. Chris was a little flabbergasted. It keeps me up at nights, and I wish I was kidding.

  3. Amy, I'm going to have a lot to learn from you one day! I already worry about how I'm going to instill healthy eating and exercise habits in my future kiddos.

    And, by the way, un-related to body image/princess issues--Molly is doing fabulously with her numbers! When we were playing Chutes & Ladders, I was kind of quizzing her (the teacher in me just won't quit) and I was very impressed :-) If it's any consolation, I think you're doing an awesome job!

  4. You are an awesome Mom and are doing a GREAT job!!!! Don't let anyone tell you differently. Maybe if more parents used the words nice and good there wouldn't be so much bullying to worry about.........You are a great writer....I agree that maybe you should consider a book....maybe a children's book "See Molly, Princesses Do Wear Running Shoes"????????????

    I will tell you that I DO NOT envy parents today, especially those that are trying to raise their kids with good moral values....there just seems to be so much out there trying to undermine you. Hang in there and keep going with your instincts...


    These princesses do wear running shoes!