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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Think big, dig deep, I'm always rooting for you.

Brushing hair. Changing diapers. Making sure everyone is fed and bathed. Teeth brushing and shoe tying. Potty runs and wipes. Toy playing, show watching, book reading and snuggles.

This plus a million other things are what occupy a mothers physical doings on a daily basis. You know, the outward stuff. The child wrangling, snuggling, kissing a boo-boo, shuffling in the door with crazy toddler, bags and bags of stuff falling off your arms, and infant carrier with baby in tow. It's what people see on the outside. The mom gracefully trying to rock this outward mom gig. While struggling somewhat, because let's be honest--what's life without some struggle?

What you don't see, is the part of motherhood that's going on inside their mind, behind the scenes. The deep worries and thoughts of what will this world look like for my children. Am I doing this right and equipping them with all the tools to handle it all. Or, for me, the fact that raising girls is scary, downright scary, in a very male dominated world. Will my daughters know their amazing potential? Will I do enough to teach them and show them and raise them to be confident women, knowing that they have just as much to contribute to this life as anyone else (or more). Will they see themselves beyond what the world tells us women should be, beyond the sex-selling and that women are only good for a romantic scene in a movie, or just to be pursued by a man. Will they know that they're valuable, and more precious than the rarest gem? Am I doing enough to raise them to hate injustice, speak up for what's wrong, and love those who seem unloveable? Am I being a living example of this?

Take a breath.

This is deep, y'all.



I felt the heavy burden of raising girls from the time Eme was just a few days old. I was sitting in the corner chair of her nursery, feeding her, staring at her tiny lashes--when tears started falling down my face. I couldn't help, in that moment, to feel the weight of the world for her. Call it postpartum hormones, maybe, but it's still there. It's deep in my chest always, it sits there, every day. I thought about the trials and pains she will inevitably go through. The hurts that I can't always spare her. The fact that I'm bringing her up in what is a very-much male dominated society, where men are still more privileged than women. Ouch.

There's no denying that fact. It's the truth. No matter how far (collective) we feel we've come, it's not far enough. Remove the blinders and take a look around. It's clear as day.

I want so many things for my girls. But mainly, I want them to feel the fire that's within them and not be afraid to show it. Be passionate and strong. Go against the flow sometimes, often times. You are more than what Disney Movies tell you about being a female, so much more. To be confident and bold in who you know you are, at your core. And believe that what the world tells about girls...about females, and who we 'should' be is NOT all that you can be. Not even close.

You are more than just a little girl who twirls around in a dress and a tiara. You can go against stereotypes. You can be exactly the person God made you to be, my daughters.

Dream big. Think big. Momma's always rooting for you.

***

This is an area I'm deeply, deeply passionate about. I've written about it many times, but have never published any of my writings--they sit in my drafts. I'm digging deep this morning, trying to figure out just why I struggle to publish them. Am I afraid of being judged? Will I look extreme? Will mothers of boys think this has something to do with them? (It doesn't, not even a tiny bit) Then I realize by not posting about it, by not being honest with myself, I'm not living by example. 

I was inspired by this post to finally just take a second and let out some of the thoughts in my head about this. It's merely scratching the surface of what lies really deep in my heart--but it's good for now. Any step forward is a good step, I tell myself. 

---

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46 comments:

  1. I think as mothers we have these same fears if we have boys or girls. I worry about smith. making sure i teach him to respect women. To love them no matter their size, race, etc. I think its just deep rooted in wanting to do the best for our kids. And make them, in some ways, better than we are. Great post my friend.

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  2. Just the other day I was thanking God for giving me two boys, because it is so much easier. But, then it hit me. I have an even bigger task of teaching them respect and love and empathy and confidence and so much more towards future women in their lives. I was thinking about the girls they will bring home for family dinners in high school and college and how I want to make these women feel welcomed into our home and feel supported by me as the only female (right now) of the house. How will they see me as a woman too? Gah! Raising kids is tough. Lets stick together on this one, shall we? For both our little girls and little boys.

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  3. Great post! I worry so much more about my daughter than my son. I just figure my boy is big and tough but my girl? I want he to grow to be tough too.

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  4. this is like you took my thoughts and put them on paper for me. i think about the challenges my daughter will face every.day and pray i raise her to be the strong, brave woman i dream of. we, as moms, have to lead by example. no pressue, right? ;)
    great post.

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  5. In the middle of writing "Raising A Son In A World Full Of Daughters" ... great minds think alike?

    Love this post.

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  6. This was great Katie! I believe whole heatedly in this and pray everyday that my girl will know all that she can do and then some. There is a reason why I surround myself with strong, smart, independent and successful women because it not only fuels me but I want to live by example. And even though I have chosen to be a SAHM that does not make me any less of those things and that will be my greatest challenge to help my girl understand that, the way I did not as a child with a SAHM.

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  7. Yes-! It's intense and overwhelming at times- and sometimes when I talk about how serious I take my role as a parent to others I cry because we want our children to know how valuable and loved they are while raising them to see that in themselves and others.

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  8. As a mama of 2 little girls myself, I hear you 100%. You are not alone! :)

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  9. Awesome post Katie! As a mama to a daughter myself I'm always tugging between sheltering her from our {sad} reality and letting her see things {since she's really too young to understand that it doesn't have to be that way}. From TV to language to kids on the playground...this parenting stuff is HARD!

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  10. thank you so much for hitting publish on this post. i think every mom ask themselves if they are doing enough, doing right by there kids. as mother's of daughters, I think we feel a stronger fear to raise them to show that they can do anything, be anything in this male dominated world. I also often wonder if dads struggle with this more-so with raising boys... again, thanks for sharing!

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  11. As the mom of a 2 year old daughter, I so agree with this! It's interesting you mention Disney Princesses, because I (perhaps in the minority?) think that the newer Disney Princesses are strong characters! Merida (Brave) and Rapunzel (Tangled) are favorites in our house and I don't think they send messages of "damsel in distress"; rather, they are strong female leads. Totally just my 2 cents, though :-)

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  12. @Kate-I agree with you in that those characters are much more strong than other princesses in the past ;) I LOVE Merida! love love! I hope Disney gets the message and keeps going in this direction. We love princesses, and I'm okay with Eme liking them, it's just the underlying messages in them I honestly don't dig.

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  13. Yes yes yes yes!!! (Obviously) our little girl isn't here yet but I can't help but feel these same feelings. You nailed it on the head for me!

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  14. this is perfect and you are awesome! and good for you for hitting publish!!! seriously it is a huge obstacle to overcome to put out there heavy subjects that are occupying your heart. that sense of accomplishment when you do though? empowering. :)

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  15. you are incredible. thank you for putting this out there. it really can be so intimidating sharing your heart in such an open way in the blog world.

    xoxo.

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  16. Awesome post. As the mom of 3 little girls I worry about the same thing everyday. We love Merida here too. My oldest is having a Merida theme birthday

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  17. As a mom of two boys, I love this post and appreciate it. I think as parents we all feel that weight...whether we are raising boys or girls...the weight for them to know how special and perfect they are...just as they are! But I must say....girl clothes, especially at the "tween" age - wow....sometimes looking at those short shorts makes me more thankful I have boys...and the fact that I can sew. So, if I ever have a girl, she's getting homemade clothes. ha! ;)

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  18. I could not possibly love this post anymore. It had me in tears thinking about my Grace, in her Kindergarten classroom right now. I just cringe and shiver when I think about someone hurting her and I just pray, pray, pray that I'm doing all that I can to show her she has soooo much worth on this earth. Excellent post, Mama.

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  19. I have never sat down to think of the world from this perspective, at the moment I'm a "boy mom" but wow! This really blew me away and even made me feel a little sad. What you say is true, it is still a male-centric society but I think it's changing. Women have a voice now more than ever and they can use it however they see fit. Just look at you lady, being such a good example for your sweet girls. Using your voice to put these thoughts out into the universe. You did a good thing here and I thank you for it.

    I think boy moms have different worries, different things that weigh on them. Making sure they are gentle, patient, polite, and to treat all women (all people/animals/bugs) with respect. It's a different, but heavy burden and every time there is a violent male teenager on the news I cringe a little. How do I *make sure* that is never my kid? It's scary. In my house we'll avoid violent movies and video games for the foreseeable future. Beyond that, I'm still new at this. I hope some boy moms take a clue and write out something great I can read ;-)

    Thanks for not being too afraid, your perspective is special and important. You are braver than me!

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  20. (wrong email the first time, sorry!)

    I have never sat down to think of the world from this perspective, at the moment I'm a "boy mom" but wow! This really blew me away and even made me feel a little sad. What you say is true, it is still a male-centric society but I think it's changing. Women have a voice now more than ever and they can use it however they see fit. Just look at you lady, being such a good example for your sweet girls. Using your voice to put these thoughts out into the universe. You did a good thing here and I thank you for it.

    I think boy moms have different worries, different things that weigh on them. Making sure they are gentle, patient, polite, and to treat all women (all people/animals/bugs) with respect. It's a different, but heavy burden and every time there is a violent male teenager on the news I cringe a little. How do I *make sure* that is never my kid? It's scary. In my house we'll avoid violent movies and video games for the foreseeable future. Beyond that, I'm still new at this. I hope some boy moms take a clue and write out something great I can read ;-)

    Thanks for not being too afraid, your perspective is special and important. You are braver than me!

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  21. Coming from a family of 4 girls and 1 boy, it actually more-than-kinda scares the crap outta me to raise a daughter! I am being totally honest. As much as I want a little girl, so bad, IDK if I can ever fully fulfill that Girl Mom role. I personally think you NEED to be a lot stronger as a Girl Mom (for those exact reasons you mentioned). I just ADORE my 2 boys and I LOVE my Boy Mom role. With me being a SAHM, *I* can focus on what I want them to learn and get instilled in their little (yet great) minds. You want to learn how to bake/cook? I'm there. You need to learn how to keep tidy and not have anyone pick up after you. I'm there. You want to fly to Africa and see the Pyramids? (Trey has said this more than once) I.AM.THERE. As Mothers, in general, we just want what is best for our children and want them to have SO MUCH more than we had. We want them to be strong individuals and have them believe that they can to whatever they want in this world! I may be raising boys, but coming from low-income/uneducated Hispanic families, having them believe that they can achieve anything can be quite difficult. Call it a cultural thing, but being a "man" doesn't always mean they HAVE to work at a physically hard labor-inducing job, or not become fully involved Daddies, or have a love for the arts. This is my struggle. This is my daily worry. Am I raising my boys to be worthy men???

    I'll tell you one thing, if we (as parents) keep on doing what we are doing w/ our boys AND girls, then I think we can breathe easy knowing our children will grow up to be amazing and worthy adults!!! Period.

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  22. I really just want to fist-pump you for this post. I'm not a momma yet as you well know and often times when I think about my future babies, one of the biggest concerns I have is this thought process right here.

    Love your heart, pal.

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  23. girl don't even get me started

    the boys were so much easier as teens....my oldest dd is 12 and it's a daily thing to keep reminding her what makes someone special...and it AIN'T WHAT YOU HAVE ON THE OUTSIDE

    they try to go up so fast thanks to tv, internet etc....and i'm trying so hard for my girls to watch the examples at home and not what's around them...

    i'm on my knees daily praying they stay on the right path!

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  24. I'm totally with you on this. I lie awake many nights, fearing the future and what it hold for my girl. I want her to be smart and confident in herself and her abilities. It scares me to no end that she'll just worry about boys instead of focusing on herself and what she can make of herself. This is just so in my heart, every day. Great post.

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  25. We joke a lot about how glad we are not to have girls simply for the teenage years (NOT that the boys won't have their own exhausting issues). But we too have our own side of this. I want my boys to treat girls as equals, but also open doors and show extra kindness. When my boys bring a girl home, be it a friend or a girlfriend, I want that girl to see me as someone they can look up to and be grateful that I taught my boys how to treat her. I had some great guy friends who stood up for me when other guys treated me badly (sadly, there are a few of those stories) and I want my boys to do the same for their friends.

    Perhaps we should just arrange our kids' marriages now. ;)

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  26. I love this...truly. Raising girls is so so hard...and different from raising boys. It is especially hard since society seems to want us to make our little girls into tiny little sex objects. It is so hard for me to find cute, age appropriate clothes for Emmy sometimes.

    Post every single one of your drafts about this. Don't worry about what others will think...this is so important.

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  27. I worry that baby #2 is going to be a girl for every reason that I just read. I have a different set of worries for my son that go on a whole other level. Being a parent is SO tough, but you are doing a hell of a job!

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  28. I too struggle with these same thoughts. Thank you for sharing yours and for bringing words to an issue that I have so much emotion about, but struggle for wording. You are not alone in these thoughts.

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  29. It hit me yesterday that raising three boys means I'm raising up three future husbands and fathers and how much of an impact they will have on their families by being the head of the households. I feel the exact same things you do but from the other side. All the things that you teach your daughters to be I need to teach my sons to see in them. To see women from God's perspective and not the worlds. To value and cherish. If every mother of boys and every mother of girls had the same heart that we do what a different world this would be! And I feel it's SO important for you to share these thoughts because when you do it teaches me more about how I need to raise my sons. Knowing what Godly mothers are teaching their daughters gives me more knowledge about raising boys to leads these daughters someday. What great tasks we have huh? At least we have God's help which means if we keep the focus on Him we cannot fail in this area. I hope you continue to share more of your heart on these matters.

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  30. Amen! You are not alone in this department! Post away! You give other Momma's encouragement :)

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  31. I've had a post written in my mind about who she will be when she's 15.. based on thoughts I had one day when I was listening to that Taylor Swift song. I just sat hoping that she would respect herself and not let some boy take advantage of her. So much to worry about as a mom, no matter what gender - like Kristen said.

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  32. I think it is good to hear other ideas but, girl or boy, parenting is hard. There is a heavy burden no matter the sex. Raising ANY child today is a scary task. Factors like social media, advances in technology, education, etc. have totally changed the parenting landscape. We have choice after choice flooding us. Hard decision after hard decision. The terrain is difficult one for any parent of any child to advance and raise an upstanding person!

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  33. Yes - once again you nailed it and put so eloquently what I think and feel.
    Thank you.

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  34. I felt my work was cut out for me when I had two boys, but when Amélie came on the scene it was a whole new ball game. The world looks different now! I am the mommy of a little girl and there is a whole new perspective on child raising and training. For my boys as well as her. Great post and I like the one you linked too also. Thanks for overcoming your hesitations and posting :) !!!

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  35. Take. My. Breath. Away.

    This post is my heart. Entirely. And completely.

    I remember the first time I wrote about this subject. Phew. It's tough.

    One of the comments (I think from Jess) way back then was that the fact that we are even thinking about these things means that we are on the right track to equipping our daughters with what they will need for this world.

    By the grace of God, my friend...

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  36. Just want to encourage you that from what I can tell, you are surrounding your daughters with a wonderful foundation. They've got you, showing them love through all your daily mama care, teaching them they can achieve and make changes in their lives (your fitness journey comes to mind), and expressing yourself through your writing and photography. They've got your hubby, who seems like a fantastic husband and dad, to protect them and teach them how a man should treat a woman. They've got your sister, who has been through a lot, and continues to stand for her values and her value as a woman. Most importantly, you are pointing them to Christ, even in your hardest mama days, teaching them to rely on His grace. I think E and L are gonna rock this world!

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  37. Can I just give a quick shout-out to Amanda (Crummy) for her take on the boy mom viewpoint? Because that's mine as well.

    I obviously don't have a daughter (at least not yet), but this rings so so true to how I feel about raising girls. Awesome post.

    ps. I equally worry about how girls will treat EACH OTHER, as much as how men would treat my daughter. I can honestly say I've been hurt way more by other women than men. My dream is to see women place value on each other and stop feeling like life is a competition. No more mean girls, I guess is what I'm trying to say.

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  38. Oh my, I love this so much! People talk about having babies but it's so much more, you're raising amazing people. And they will be amazing. What a post! Thank you for sharing.

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  39. Goodness, this impacted me and I am in the throes of raising two boys. I sincerely applaud your honesty and sharing your heart. From the little I learn about you here on this little piece of the internet, I can already tell that your girls will know what it means to be a strong, brave, independent (but dependent on God) and confident type of woman. They will see it in their momma and they will see it reflected in the love you and your husband have for them. The fact that you are even so passionate about it proves as much! Thanks for sharing!!

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  40. Hello! I don’t have a blog, but I’ve been following yours for quite some time. I hope that doesn’t make me a weirdo, but I love all the advice, inspiration, and ideas that blogs (especially yours) offer. I love, love, love this post. I’m a new mom to a little boy who just turned 3 months old. I plan to teach him everything you covered. That women are smart, strong, passionate, and can do everything and anything a man can do. And I surely hope he finds a woman that exemplifies these characteristics. One who has an opinion and isn’t afraid to share it, one who stands up for what she believes, one who dares to be different, and follows her dreams. I’m a scientist who still enjoys wearing dresses and putting on makeup. In college, I began as a physics major and was the only female in my class. I often hear comments like “You don’t look like a scientist”. Society often underestimates me, and I love proving them wrong… over and over!

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  41. I love this. I often lie awake with the same fears. Good for you for putting this out there!

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  42. I am so unbelievably proud of you for stepping out and writing about this. It's so good to see some heart out here in blog land :)

    And you know I agree with you. Completely.

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  43. I am so unbelievably proud of you for stepping out and writing about this. It's so good to see some heart out here in blog land :)

    And you know I agree with you. Completely.

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  44. Hear, hear. My little one is a boy, but I think about this all
    the time for my sweet nieces. And I hope the way I am raising my son gives him strength and kindness in equal measures, and helps him grow into a young man who will empower the women in his life. Love your writing.

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  45. As a mommy to a now 13 year old girl, I still worry about these things every day. Just reading your blog, I do believe your daughters already have a great foundation because of the involvement both of their parents have in their life. There is no instruction manual that comes with girls (or boys). My only advice is, what ever they want to do (within reason), let them try it. If they know they have your support, they won't be afraid to try things (even if they are not as good at them). Your husband is a wonderful example of the type of men you want your daughter's to have in their lives. You both are great examples for your daughters. So far, we have done an amazing job with our daughter. She is smart, musically talented, modest, and secure. I hope this continues on through high school (scary) and on through life. She wants to be a scientist and an actress and we will do everything we can to encourage her in either of these.

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