Tag Archives: parenting girls

My daughter , my way.

Apologies in advance that this could become a bit of a rant. However I inhabit my little corner of the internet so as I can express myself so surely a little rant from time to time is acceptable??

I think as parents we all have certain aspects of our parenting that we really hold dear. I don’t mean the screen time limits that we say exist but fall by the wayside for the sake of a bit of peace ,but the really important things that matter to you as a parent. It might be cooking food from scratch , or everyone sitting around the table together . It may be ensuring you get the kids out into nature and exploring. It may be ensuring books are a way of life or that they are able to express themselves with art and crafty activities. There are just some things along this parenting journey that you’re not willing to let go off because they are important to you.

I mentioned in this previous blog post about how the older I get the more confident I get in expressing my opinions. This goes together I think with backing and defending my parenting style to the hilt. Something I learnt just this week.

Small girl turned 10 this week. She had a fab time , has already worked out how to turn one special day into one special week and does rock a birthday. We went out for dinner with a group of her family and maybe I was particularly irritated that day or maybe ,I think more likely,that I’m so fed up of the kind of nonsense we sometimes spout around our children that on this occasion I had to pick up on it.

Small girl was talking about a boy in her class and how she didn’t like him and he was mean to one of her female friends.

“Oooo he must like her ” someone said.

“boys are always mean to girls they want to be their girlfriend!”

Now. I have heard this narrative a million times. From when I was a child through to now and usually I can turn a blind eye but actually no.

Let’s not tell her things like that I suggested. I don’t want her growing up thinking if a male is nasty or horrid to her that she should just be flattered by the attention. I said it with a smile , I didn’t go on to do the monologue that was in my head about how bloody dangerous this message is to both boys and girls and maybe I should have because the second I opened my mouth I saw it. The collective eye roll. The collective tut thinking “here she goes again on one of her crazy feminist rants”

I’ve seen it before.

I’ve seen it when I pick up on phrases like “don’t be such a girl” when a boy dares express emotion.

I’ve seen it when I ask people not to tell teen girl to ‘dress more like a girl’

When I’ve tried to explain how toxic masculinity is harming our boys as well as our girls.

I’ve seen it a lot , and I think often it has quietened me.

This time it angered me. I am more than aware I cannot police language around my daughter always. I can though I think ask people who she trusts and loves to be mindful of what messages they send to her and I will.

I want my daughter to know for sure there is nothing she can’t do. That she is strong and powerful and brave and intelligent and that she can change the world.

It’s a massive shame that here in 2018 we’re still pedalling ridiculous gender limiting ideas but I always have to challenge them in front of her in the hope that one day she’ll do the exact same thing. That’s more than worth a few eye rolls.

JakiJellz
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Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman – a rant

Its been quite the week for female rants in our house . Quite a collaboration too , all 3 of us females here have each had a whinge about one thing or another .

Share you say ? Unburden yourselves ?

Dont mind if we do….

Earlier in the week teen girl came home with a touch of the outrage about her. This is nothing unusual but this time she had something pretty meaty to get her teeth into. 
An initiative in school had been launched to encourage more elder girls back into sport and exercise . Teen girl is the sporty type and was happy to have something new to try. However …this initiative Fit for Prom was a lunchtime fitness class for elder girls a brilliant idea with an awful name and message. Teen girl and her friends found the Fit for Prom message to be nothing more than a dangerous message that actually if you weren’t slender , toned and ‘fit’  then you shouldn’t really be going to prom. It gives me hope that this group of girls saw fit to take it up with the teacher.
Thankfully the girls PE teacher agreed with them wholeheartedly and said she felt uncomfortable with it too! Apparently this initiative was funded to allow school to put on these extra fitness class. They agreed to keep the funding ,drop the name and keep the class. Worryingly when researching Fit For Prom I found hundreds of articles on how to lose weight quick for Prom , how to tone up for your dress (all aimed at girls of course the boys just need to show up) 

I’m all for encouraging teen girls into sport but using the kind of body shaming that stops them participating in the first place is beneficial to no one.

So….we’ve dealt with this best we can. 

Then comes….lady Doritos….

*Sigh , tut, eye roll , bang head against wall*

If you missed it there was much talk of a new kind of dorito being launched , just for us ladies. Handbag size bags , they wouldn’t crunch loudly or leave ‘dorito dust’ on your hands . Us feminine ladies do not like crunchy crisps or licking our fingers don’t you know!!!

As you can imagine this went down a storm in our house. 

Me : Bloody patriarchy trying to literally silence us.

Teen Girl : Well I’ll just get crunchy ones and crunch triply loud.

Small girl : Licking your fingers is the BEST bit!!!

We don’t want lady Doritos here!

It transpired that these were not going to become a thing , everyone involved denied all knowledge and it was all a big misunderstanding (of course) I’ve read maybe it was a publicity stunt ,get us girls talking about Doritos. I’ll not be getting them again.

Sigh…..let’s see what this week brings in the way of female rants…

PS Dear Doritos,

If you really want to improve your product I’ve a few suggestions:

a) Make it so your razor sharp edges don’t dig right in your gums.

b) Add a slight curve to aid salsa dipping

c) Ditch the BBQ rib flavour

d) Don’t big yourself up with your noisy crunch. Wheat Crunchies blow you out of the water.

Thanks , a lady x


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Daughter , I talk much nonsense but please listen to me on this one thing….

Today my eldest daughter turns 14

 

She has a fight and a zeal and a drive that terrifies me and makes me envious of her in equal parts.

 

She is fierce and strongminded and passionate as well as kind and compassionate- all I ever wanted my daughters to be .

 

I’m proud and in awe of her absolutely , I just wish I could get her to listen to me on just one tiny piece of advice.

 

 

Dear S ,

 

I know that I give you ‘mums little life tips’ very often. Possibly too often , but the thing about being an old lady such as me is that you’ve made lots of mistakes and learnt lots of ways in which you could have improved a situation or avoided a mess and I just want to help you maybe navigate some of those pitfalls without having to actually go through them.

 

Mum messed up so you don’t have to!

 

So if you listen to nothing else , just maybe listen to this one :

(Disclaimer – the sex , drugs , boys and rock and roll stuff ALL still counts , you know the basics of mum lecturing. This is an added extra NOT a replacement for the big ones)

 

This is my one pearl of wisdom for you though :

Choose your battles.

That’s it . Simple eh?

 

I admire your spirit S I do. I wish I could be like you in so many ways . There is such a raw determination in you and I know that eventually it’ll serve you well. It will aid the success I am certain awaits you.

 

There are times though that holding your tongue , taking a breath and thinking is the wiser choice than opening your mouth. I know you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking I’m giving out mixed signals here. Don’t I always tell you never to let injustice pass you by?  Never be a quiet bystander when you see something happening you know is inherently wrong .

 

I mean that too , honestly, don’t be the person who joins in with bullying. Don’t be the one who doesn’t challenge friends who use racist or sexist or homophobic language. Be the woman who builds other women up , not someone who gains enjoyment from pulling your fellow women down. Be a good human. Those there are the basics.

 

The bits that can be let go though , your brothers not bringing their pots out of their rooms or leaving the toilet seat up? You can leave those rows for me to have. Honestly I’m an old hand at this , don’t waste your precious energies on them. When you’re told off by your teacher but it wasn’t you talking. Don’t get into dialogue about it in front of the whole class , that won’t end well for you ! Hold your tongue and maybe talk to that teacher calmly afterwards. Don’t waste your clever comments under your breath on me when we’re disagreeing. All that gets you is your phone taken off you , you know this !

 

 

As a woman you will have big battles to fight.

You’ll likely have to fight to be heard.

Fight for your right to take up space.

Fight to be taken seriously as an intelligent woman.

Fight for your fellow women who don’t have their own voice.

 

 

These things are worth your fury and your rage and your fight. Unleashed and uninhibited. The full force of you S at an injustice , it doesn’t stand a chance.

 

Save yourself for the big things. Let me say here though I am in no way belittling your sense of what is big and what is insignificant. I can’t do that. Should I ever not take your concerns as seriously as you want , please do pull me up on it.Calmly . I hope I am never dismissive of your opinions but I know sometimes as a single mum of 4 children sometimes I’m not listening as intently as I should or I miss things and that must be frustrating. You know how we have our time just you and I every night though ? When small girl is in bed and the boys are playing the Stupid Football Game in their rooms. That’s my listening time , if I’ve annoyed or frustrated you by being distracted come to me then , let me know. Talk things through.

 

I have no doubt S that you have it in you to change the world. I’ve known it since you were a matter of months old. Changing the world takes energy though , lets ensure that we have enough in the bank . The boys smelly socks or an irritating person at school aren’t worth that precious spirit of yours.

 

Know this though, when you do have a battle to fight or an injustice to highlight. When you feel your voice needs to be heard and you need to stand up and be counted. When you’ve considered that actually this is a battle you’ve chosen needs fighting ,  I’ll be right there beside you, female solidarity at it’s finest. If that ends up being about the boys bathroom habits or you approaching school about the lack of girls sport  or if it’s you’re standing up for someone not being treated how they should or you needing to take on Theresa May ? Well if you’ve thought about it and find it worthy of your energy then S I am with you , without question.

 

Love Mum

xxxxx
 

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My daughters are a real handful.. I’m so glad

My parenting journey started with 2 sons, born 18 months apart. I wanted to raise thoughtful, kind, compassionate boys and I think I did. As they grew to be the teenagers they are now I wanted them to grow to be aware of the world around them. I want them to make it a better place. I want them to be aware that as intelligent, white, males that they have huge privilege. I want them to use this privilege well. I want to raise good men.

Parenting is no walk in the park be that daughters or sons, we all know that. It’s a long, tiring, emotionally draining slog. I don’t need to say it’s worthwhile though do I?

Well it is!

I may be looking through rose tinted spectacles but I never felt parenting my sons a particular challenge. There were challenging times certainly, but they gave me confidence I was getting this parenting lark right. At 16 and 18 now they are respectful of boundaries, know how far to push them and know what behaviour won’t be tolerated. I know it appears I’m making these boys seem like the world’s most perfectly behaved children. I’m not and they’re not.Raising the boys so far though has been a relatively calm experience.

When my eldest daughter came along it was a shock to the system from the off. Where the boys as toddlers would stop what mischief they were up to at the “No” word,my daughter would laugh and carry on. She’s always identified boundaries then taken a run up and leapt over them. She questions, she talks of unfairness and gets frustrated when she sees it in action. She shouts and argues and needs to say her piece at all costs. So much so she is happy to take any consequences that come her way such is her need to be heard. I feel I should say here that she’s not shouting that she doesn’t want bolognaise for tea or just being obnoxious. In her mind the things she argues for are hugely important to her.

Her little sister shows similar traits of identifying how girls and boys are treated differently in school sometimes and she does have a moan in a way that a 10 year old can. It makes me wonder if girls just inherently know from a young age that they will always need to shout louder to be heard, will have to work harder to be recognised, will always have to fight for every bit of space they want to take up.

In the same vein, maybe my boys know that they can afford to be laid back and a bit lazy as there are so many fights that they’ll simply never HAVE to fight.

Maybe I’m over thinking. Maybe I just have 4 unique individuals and their personalities have nothing to do with sex. I’m doubtful of that though.

My eldest daughter talks of being in the top maths set where when boys finish first they get extension work, whereas if she finishes first she’s asked to help those struggling ( what with girls being all nurturing obviously!) She’s been told off for questioning this, but as long as she’s polite she’s my backing.
She’s written letters to sports shops because she had to buy shin pads for football labelled boys as the shop didn’t label any girls or children’s. It was boys or nothing.You can read her letter here

I’ve been in a shop with my daughter when she’s witnessed a dad tell his daughter she couldn’t have football stickers as they were for boys and to get Hello Kitty ones instead. I saw how she wanted to ask him why? I saw her biting her tongue but really not wanting to (I regret speeding her out of the shop that day. I should have let her ask him why)
Faced with all this and only 15 (I know she’s a whole ton of misogynistic crap to deal with yet) there’s no wonder she’s frustrated. She’s way more aware of the world and sexism than I was at her age. Feminist mum will do that for you I guess. It’s going to make a person question and want to stand up for themselves and others.

I know my daughter will be labelled stroppy and mouthy and feisty (yuk), words never used to describe her male counterparts who behave the same way.

If we can channel her spirit though, surround her with strong females who do listen to her, who don’t hush her or tell her to behave more ‘like a girl’ (something I’ve been picking people up on all her life) I’m hopeful that these daughters of mine can and will try to change their world for the better and that can be no bad thing.

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