Raising Girls and Raising Boys

I’m sure you’ve all seen the latest story about the frat guys who hung signs up basically insinuating that they’d be having all the sex with all the freshman girls.  It happens year after year, time and time again, across every campus in America… and maybe other countries too, although I feel in my gut that America is the worst.  Anyone know for sure?

Anyway, every time I see these things I roll my eyes.  I don’t get angry and scared for the girls, which I know many people do, which is why news anchors say idiotic things like “I’ll put my daughter in a convent” or “I’ll keep mine home in the kitchen.”  Instead, I say, women are intelligent.  Did you know most of us can read now and everything??  Why not put a little faith into the women to make a good decision.  Why do we assume that the freshman girls will be lining up to let these guys have their way with them.  Like we are helpless and find ourselves drawn to their sexy signs about banging us and our moms. Oh, I’m turned on just thinking about it.  *This is the part where I roll my eyes*

Do you know where this world is going wrong with raising girls and boys?  We treat them differently.  We treat boys like they are supposed to brag about their conquests.  We treat girls to be embarrassed or ashamed about theirs, and it begins in infancy.

Whaaaaaat?? You say, confused by conquests in infancy, but let me explain….

When E was a little, tiny, baby girl, we went to a friends house who had a little, tiny, baby boy.  They rolled on the floor together (as neither of them could crawl or talk or do much of anything but roll), and they eventually got near each other and grabbed each others hands.  It was one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.  What wasn’t so cute, however, was my husband growling and the boys father saying “that’s my boy!”

And that’s where it starts.  You don’t notice it, because you think it’s funny, or cute, or whatever, but that’s where it starts.  We automatically think about daughters and sons as totally different beings.  We buy boys blue and girls pink, even though those are just colors and mean absolutely nothing.  We make boys play with Legos and make girls play with dolls.  We buy girls kitchen sets and brooms, we buy boys toy trucks and building sets.  I met a girl at a nail salon who said she wanted a boy because she wanted a child that could play soccer and watch sports.  My daughter has two soccer balls, which she loves to kick around, and she loves to watch football.  I know, she’s two, but she loves it. She even does the touchdown sign.

Girls and boys aren’t different beings because they have different sex organs.  They are different beings because we make them believe they are.  Women struggle to be heard, and men struggle to show emotion, both because they are told these are not important things for them, just to realize later in life that they are, but it’s too late, we’ve already been raised to believe that we are different and have rolls based on what’s hiding in our pants.

Women are more than a vagina, men are more than a penis.  Teach your children from the start that they are no different from one another and maybe, maybe, one day we can have the kind of world where we don’t see gender as being a defining criteria for life. Maybe women won’t think that their sexuality is a powerful tool, and the only tool, to get ahead in life, and maybe men won’t think they have the right to do and say whatever they want just because they are told they are the dominant sex.

Let’s remember that we are all human.  One species, not two separate species.  Let’s teach our children to love and respect one another, to hold hands, to play soccer, to watch football, and pretend to cook together.  Let’s start now, before the cycle repeats itself.


You Must Be Patient

This is something I repeat over and over again to my two year old during the day.  I’m not sure if it’s all two year olds, but she has negative amounts of patience.  If she decides she needs something, it must happen IMMEDIATELY, or the wrath of E will be upon you!  It’s kind of intense most of the time, so we try to get her to calm down and tell us in a non-whiny, non-screeching voice, exactly what it is she needs.  Sometimes it works, sometimes she gets even whinier, screechier, and then some tears get thrown in.  It has to be hard to be a two year old, but I think it’s even harder to be an adult sometimes.

I’ve also been having to practice patience with myself.  I find myself constantly getting worked up because I am frustrated with my impatient two year old.  I find myself thinking “why can’t she just play with the puzzle by herself for two minutes while I crochet?  Why is it all about what SHE wants?!”  Then I have to shut my eyes, breath, and remember that she is two and I am 31, and if either of us should be acting like a two year old, it should be the two year old.  I am the mommy.  I made the decision to be a mommy, and with that comes certain responsibilities, like entertaining her, teaching her to be patient, and helping her understand that you shouldn’t bring your food into the bathroom to share with mommy while she’s on the toilet.

I understand that one day she will want less to do with me than… well, probably anything, and it hurts my heart already to know that that day will come, but there are days where I could take a bit of the cold shoulder and be okay, and I don’t think that makes me a terrible mother.  I think that makes me human.  I sometimes day dream of the pre-baby days, where I could sit on the couch and eat a snack without a toddler running off with the bag.  Where I could watch Ellen in the afternoon instead of Super Why.  Where I could get up and go to the store, or two stores, or three stores, without someone telling me they want to do something else, or that they need the balloon with Elmo, or that they want to sit in a different part of the cart.

Did things used to be easier?  Oh, yes.  Yep.  Uh-huh.  No doubt about it.  Would I change anything now?  Nope. No.  Not even a little.  I just need to learn to be patient.

You must be patient.