Saturday, March 5, 2011

On Raising a Strong Little Girl

My daughter, the princess
I've been a mom of a girl for a little bit over three and a half years now.  I don't really count the first, eh, year or so because she had the shortest little hair you ever saw and was constantly mistaken for a boy anyway (though I tried dressing her "girlie" with a plethora of pink and bows.  I know.  I know!).  Around age three, I noticed a dramatic increase in all-things-princess at our house.  A tween neighborhood girl brought over her old dress up clothes before we'd even moved into our house a year ago and continued to bring books and gadgets with the princesses all over them.  I broke down and requested a seven-piece princess doll collection from the grandparents for Christmas for her.  The princesses have definitely invaded our house.

With them came my first taste of the challenges of mothering a daughter.  She has chosen to wear princess dresses almost daily for the last six months.  Though I insist on regular clothes most of the time, I pick and choose my battles over here.  Clothing choices are not battles I'm willing to fight most days.  (You have some clothes covering your body and shoes on your feet?  Good!  Let's go!)  She's going to be in a wedding next month and in a recital in May, and I have never seen anyone smile as big as when she tried both of those dresses on.  I'm guessing she feels prettier when she wears these things. 

Then there's her mommy.  Now, I know plenty of women runners that appear very unrunner-like during the week.  They're dressed very professionally, wearing things like skirts and make up and going to things like business meetings and romantic date nights.  I am not such a person.  If you see me when I'm not running, sometimes you are confused because I practically look the same as when I am running!  Race shirt, hair pulled back, little to no make up.  I'm a stay-at-home mom and a preschool teacher.  And I really thought the little ones didn't care or notice.

Lately, my daughter has started to notice this non-girlie trend in her mommy's attire.  And, oh, how she tries to "girlify" my wardrobe.  There was the day when she looked me up and down as I was getting ready for a run and said, "Mommy, I like your pretty... (long pause)... purple running socks!" (they were grey with a little purple trim).  And the other time when I was dressed for the day and she said, "I like the pretty smiley face on the back of your shirt" (I love Life is Good! What can I say?  It's comfortable!).  She may hunt for them, but the "pretty things" in my wardrobe are few and far between.  The older I get, the more liberated I feel to just be myself.  I'd rather focus on the inside anyway.

Yet I have a three year old (and her precious self-esteem) to think about.  I want her to grow up and be strong and confident and beautiful on the inside.  I want her to see her mommy running and to know that I choose this over the fancy dresses and the pressed business suits.  It doesn't have to be that way for her, as long as she sees that she is beautiful to me no matter what.  And it is my secret hope that she continues to find me beautiful too, running clothes and all.


  1. I loved this post! I have no real insight not being a mom of a little girl, but I'm sure you are teaching her those very things! She is such a delightful kid!

  2. Hi Katie. I have only met you once or twice (we met while both trying to accept Jane's medal at the Jingle bell run, ha) but I have blog-stalked you for a while.:) I found your blog through Jane's. I have enjoyed your posts and think you are a rock-star runner!
    I had to comment b/c I have the same thing going on. My 3 1/2 yr old daughter is obsessed with princesses and refuses to wear pants...she HAS to wear a dress everyday. She also wears a princess dress over her PJ's to bed every night. I decided to embrace her girliness, even though it is very different than how I am (or was as a child). I secretly hope she runs one day or plays basketball like her mom did, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.
    You are so right, I want her to know that she is beautiful inside and out and will try very hard to teach her that. Thanks for a great blog. You little girl is adorable!

  3. Hi Shannon,

    Thank you for your kind words! I blog-stalk alot too, but now that I have a blog, I realize how nice it is when people come out of hiding and meet me! So thank you for commenting. My daughter also sleeps in those dresses--that is so funny! Aren't they uncomfortable?
    And you are training for a marathon too? Jane has mentioned it before to me I think. Hopefully we'll meet up again in person soon!