parenting

A Knife and a Trash Bag: Thoughts Raising a Daughter

So, as many of you know, Andy and I are expecting a little girl in about 9 weeks. It’s a very strange concept to me as I have been in “boy” mode for over two years now. Many people have told me that those early months/years don’t really yield that much difference between the two genders and so I won’t have to worry too much for a while. Me not worry?? Ha! They obviously don’t know me.

As with the rest of these blogs, something always occurs to start my brain whirring, so here is the brain whirring moment for this one. A few nights back, I went to Price Chopper after work to pick up a few things before heading home and three of the male employees where yelling at each other about women and dating. One of the men yelled,

“Dude, you should just get a blow up doll, that way you don’t have to hear them talking.” I don’t know if it was pregnancy hormones or being tired after work, but it was all I could do not to run right up to him and knee him squarely in the crotch shouting,

“And the blow up doll can’t do that either!” It’s when my brain whirred and I thought of the little defenseless girl that I was carrying inside me. I can’t believe that I was bringing her into a world where she might have to come in contact with men that think that way or act that way towards her.

It’s been a hard thing to deal with on some days. Being a girl is no piece of cake, as many people know and womanhood can be just as hard. We feel like we have to conform to some ideal so that men or women will notice us. Not being a supermodel myself, I have run headlong into this well before and it’s riddled with depression and fear. Will I be enough? Just me?

Other girls can be just as cruel, if not more cruel than boys towards each other. I had my fair share of those moments too.

I remember when we found out that we were having a boy, I wondered, would I be able to connect with him? Would he and Andy have the secret male hand shakes down by the time he was six months old and I would be left on the sidelines? Now I wonder, will I be able to show her how to be a strong woman? Will I be able to teach her that NO ONE, not a man or woman, deserves to be put down or belittled because of their appearance or otherwise? Will I be able to show her that to me smart and female is not a social death sentence, but should be celebrated? And I’m faced with the question again, will I be enough?

The answer is no. I will not be enough. This is why it takes a village. It takes positive examples and encouraging family members. It takes a strong peer group once she gets to school and outlets for her interests. It takes more than me and isn’t that the case for my son as well really?

And if I feel like I’m all out of answers or my “village” has done all it can, I’ll send her to her grandmother who, told my sister and I during the trial of Lorena Bobbit,

“See girls, all you need to take care of yourself is a knife and a trash bag.”

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