Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Celebrate Women: Boys and Girls Rule and Drool

I never expected to be a parent. When I was in high school and we filled out our "what will you be doing in 10 years" thing as seniors, I was among the very few who didn't have anything about being a wife or mom. So imagine my surprise when, a month later, I met the guy that I was going to marry. And then our extreme surprise when 9 months after we were wed, I was pregnant with our first. And our redonkulously extreme surprise five years later when we had four kids under five in the house. I don't think there are words to describe it (obviously, since I used the made-up word "redonkulous").

I hadn't really given any thought to parenting at all, let alone feminist parenting, so that was strike one. Strike two is that I've never been much of a planner, so the idea of actually having a specific method of feminist parenting makes me get a little sweaty.

Regardless of my lack of preparedness to be a feminist parent, I think that has kind of happened anyway, mostly because I've found that as a parent of two boys and two girls, the rivalry between the sexes is fairly inevitable. And rarely pretty.

As feminist parents (and my husband is firmly in favor of equality, so it's a joint effort), we want to see our children treat all people, regardless of their differences, with respect and dignity. And we want to see each of our children grow into adults who are doing what best suits them, not what gender roles best suits them. We know that life doesn't always hand us exactly what we think we want, but we also believe that our kids shouldn't have to choose from a narrow group of fields. Of course, it makes me smile when my daughter chooses something like fairy princess, but nevertheless. If that's her choice, I'm good with that.

Of course, we can never really be sure if our kids are learning the ideals that we're hoping to instill in them, but every now and again we get glimpses that it's working. I'm reminded of a moment years ago when my oldest was first starting school.

One of the not-so-great-things about sending your child away from you is that they can pick up some unattractive phrases from their peers. My daughter came home one day chanting, "Girls rule, boys drool!" Of course, as a feminist mom of both girls AND boys, I commented that it was not okay to say that in our home. It took a few times correcting her when she'd say it, but eventually I heard it less.

One afternoon we were sitting around playing a board game. My oldest son had a lucky roll of the dice and he looked up and said, "Boys...and girls are equal!"


This is a part of the Celebrate Women blogathon! Check the link below and link up your own story about feminist parenting today!


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