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Raise Your Daughter like a Kid, Not a Girl.

   I was a girl scout. What up troop 638. I was a student athlete. Growing up I liked to put on a shiny dress just as much as the next girl, but I also enjoyed much more than that. I was a tom boy but that didn’t mean I didn’t rock a saddle shoe on Easter.  
Loved to swim, canoe, hike, dance, play n64 (golden eye slappers only.. the golden gun is in the god damn bathroom again!), lay on a beach, basketball, soccer, ice skating, fishing, sledding, crafts, going to the library and many more.  Too many activities to even list!
One year of middle school I joined country line dancing and played the trumpet all while having a giant unibrow.
So as you can tell, I didn’t have a boyfriend in middle school.
 I was my class secretary for one year of high school and never wrote anything down.
My point is, I give my parents credit for letting us be involved in basically anything we wanted to try and for encouraging us to do so. I hear guys actually saying things like they “won’t be able to play sports with their kids because they had girls.”
I want to be like, “ummm, excuse me man I am ease dropping on at the Jeep dealership while I wait, you need to get in your dolorean and head on up to 2015. Gender stereotypes are dated and we need to move forward. People are just people. Boys like dancing, girls like sports.”
 
         A couple years ago I went to a 2nd and 3rd grade girls basketball game/clinic to help out. It was myself and four Dads. I was engaged but childless at this moment in time. My cousin’s daughter was playing and I like any reason to be in a basketball gym so I volunteered to help out.
I decided to observe the dynamic of this motley crew of Dad’s first., since I was the new person helping out. The girls went to their benches and the game started. I then proceeded to watch 10 minutes of all out mayhem.
No out of bounce.
No taking the ball out after the other team scored.
No specific numbers of players on the court.
Some small girls just sitting in the middle of the court cross legged. (That one I couldn’t stand back for. “Get up, your going to get run over. It’s unsafe.”)
After 10 minutes of silent observing, that was all I could handle. Finally I turn to the Dad coaching crew who was discussing Tom Brady’s injury status so they know what to do this week in fantasy football.
 
      Me: “Hey so I used to ref 3rd and 4th grade basketball for years and what that league used to do was add a rule every week. First week we only focused on staying in bounce. We explained that you have to stay in that big giant box. If anyone went out of bounce we would blow the whistle and we all talk about it. The next week double dribble, then traveling and so on and so forth. It was pretty effective”
    Dad #1: “Ya I don’t know if they are old enough to learn the rules yet. They are just little eight year old girls. But if you want to try be my guest. “
     Me: “Alright I will do that then.”
 
Add him to my list of nemesises  and move on… 
But first a feminist rant and a shout out to my Dad!
 
        An 8 year old girl? Are you kidding me? ALL they do is play games.
I know eight year olds who are better bankers than me in Monopoly.
Oh and buddy, if YOU were any athlete there is a pretty decent chance your daughter will be as well. She does have your genes. But you have to share your hobbies with her, include her, and teach her if you want that to happens.
Girls typically develop faster and are smarter at a young age. Why would they not be able to learn the rules of sports?
I watch this first hand in my current life. A girl toddler at Ben’s daycare who is the exact same age as him would say something like, “Please.Mom.Up!” When Ben wants me to pick him up he usually sneak attacks me from behind and head butts my butt then laughs and throws his hands in the air. Childhood is not a race! I know that silly. But kids are also smart and are little sponges. You can teach them all kinds of crazy things if you find some patience.
 
   Treat your daughter like a Kid. Not a Girl.
 
  Gender stereotypes are over. Well at least they are for people who believe in happiness. The stereotypes exist for a reason, but if someone likes something that isn’t gender typical, who cares? 

                  It was such a big to do at the Super Bowl with the #likeagirl commercial. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. The frog catching little girl inside me is very down with that commercial. I just can’t believe after all these years we are still having the same conversation. “Girls can do anything boys can do!” Um, Ya. obviously. Have you seen some of the ladies who do cross fit? My Facebook newsfeed reminds me daily of how strong they are. Also, from what I can tell they have figured out the importance of working out in matching work out clothes. But I digress. 

          I’m psyched that they are pumping up little girls to tell them to run and be brave. But nothing makes me laugh harder than Sarah Silverman saying, “I don’t think we should tell little girls they can be anything they want when they grow up. I think it’s a mistake. Not because they can’t. But because it WOULD HAVE NEVER OCCURRED TO THEM THAT THEY COULDN’T.”

     Caring about what is for “girls” and what is for “boys” is silly. It’s 2015. Join us.  Expose your kids to as much as possible so they can create interests and check out what the world has to offer. Then decide for themselves what they would like to pursue. If your daughter likes ballet, barbies, pink, and ez bake ovens, thats great!! If she likes catching frogs and wearing her Dad’s hand me down t-shirts like this girl…. That’s cool too! Less “making” your daughter be someone and more of “letting” her be herself. Tell her she can wear a crown and have tea parties, and then the next day she can play with dump trucks in a big pile of sand. Both of those things are fun! Don’t get me wrong. I never had to even show my boys a dump truck for them to fall in love. Everything with wheels makes their eyes light up. But if they pick up a baby doll to play with, do you think I should say, “That a toy for girls.” Umm….In the words of Ben, “No. No. No. No. No. No. No.” I’ll tell them to snuggle that baby and maybe even cook that baby up a pretend meal in the play kitchen. Why? Pretending to cook and be a good Dad. That’d some imaginary play everyone needs.
 
This is an 8 year old girl I used to know. 
She caught this bass by sitting in a tube for hours with a net. 
Having premeditated assumptions of what your daughter  and 
son should be like only based on their gender only hurts your kids
 from finding interests that may make them truly happy. Everyone should know the happiness  that comes from catching a big fish!
 
 
           The #likeagirl commercial instantly made me think of my favorite guy. I was laughing at the commercial thinking of my Dad. I was laughing in a good way! Because you see my Father dearest has been rocking out this feminist lifestyle since 1984.  It blows my mind that people have  daughters that they treat so differently than their sons. Why would you not teach your daughter how to throw a ball, defend herself, and catch a fish. Instead of teaching your daughter to sit around and wait for prince charming to save her. Why not teach her how to throw a south paw incase someone ever attacks her? With all this being said, it’s time to thank Good old Mark P. The man the myth and the legend. My Dad.

          I have comprised a list of qualities that my Dad wanted us to have. Regardless of whether he was talking to his son or one of his daughters. If you were interested to learn, he was interested to share.  Take a little page out of the Mark P parenting handbook of how to NOT be disappointed that you have 3 daughters and live in a sea of estrogen. 
 
        Mark P was an athlete, hard working kinda guy. He married a cheerleader that he dated in high school. Liked fast cars and loud concerts. You get the type. So when this guy got two daughters first.You would wonder if he was upset that he didn’t have a son. I know that just isn’t the case because he never treated us like little fragile princesses. He just treated us like kids. He exposed us to everything he loved and shared all his hobbies with us regardless if we were male or female. A couple years later my parents had twins, a boy and a girl. He finally got his son. Mark P #2.  It changed nothing. Of course he was pumped, my brother is great. But we didn’t go with gender stereotypes at that house on the lake. Everyone was just a person. We were all just a team. I’m thankful for this. I’m thankful that I was raised in a household that supported anything we wanted to try or learn about as kids. I’m thankful that I didn’t even realize that other little girls didn’t get to have this type of childhood. That no one was telling them they can do anything they set their mind to. You never get to truly see your childhood for what it is until you get to look back as an adult. And in my case, having children has really opened my eyes to both the good and the bad of my adolescence. But today, let’s focus on the good.


Here is what I learned from Mark P, the O.G. (that means originally gangster, Dad) when it comes to parenting little girls so that they become well rounded women.


WHAT MY DAD TOLD ME AND MY SISTERS WE  COULD BE:



YOU CAN BE ATHLETIC

If you practice. If you put in the hard work. If you box out. If you play defense. To this day a basketball court is one of my favorite places to be. My Dad had a daughter on the girls varsity basketball team for 8 consecutive years. 2000-2008, Mark P never missed a game.  

 
 
 
 
 
YOU CAN BE FUNNY
My Dad was the first person who thought I was funny. This shaped my identity. He not only tolerated our silliness, he encouraged it. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
YOU CAN BE A PRINCESS TOO!
You don’t have to be one type of person. You can be a jock. You can be a book worm. You can be a fairly tale princess. All wrapped into one person.


 
 
 
 
 YOU CAN DEFEND YOURSELF:
Why would you teach your son to defend himself and not your daughter? That’s crazy. 
 
 
 
 
 
 YOU SHOULD ALWAYS TRY NEW HOBBIES
Even if you don’t ever do it again. You should always give new things a chance. Life shouldn’t be boring and repetitive. 
 
 
YOU CAN BE SMART:
Read to your kids. Every damn day.
 
 
 
YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A 
GOOD DANCER TO DANCE:
SO much dancing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
YOU ARE POWERFUL AND BRAVE:
Take chances. You have no idea what you are capable of.
 
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YOU CAN BE SUPPORTIVE:
As long as we support each other. We will be okay. We are a team.
 
 
         
 
 
YOU CAN HAVE ADVENTURES:
 
              When your oldest daughter tells you she needs to leave and see the whole world. You don’t tell her not to go. You don’t tell her there is too much danger out in the world. That she shouldn’t travel to foreign lands. He just hugs her, tells her how proud he is, and that we will all miss her every day that she is gone. Because he knows he raised a smart, tough, hard working, level headed lady.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 

 

YOU CAN BE LOVING:
Never stop telling the people you love that you love them.
 
 
 
 
 
thanks dad.
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One Comment

  1. This post is amazing. Coming from a family of 5 girls and having a father who reminded us daily that he would have preferred sons, this touches me personally. I now have a daughter and it's my prayer that her daddy will raise the way your father did. To love, support, and encourage without gender being being the focus is a beautiful thing 🙂

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