I never thought I will have to face the dilemma of raising a girl vs raising a boy differently, because I believe that there should be no difference in approach. It’s all about following child’s indications, if the boy wants a doll, fine, if the girls wants to play football, fine. Now that I have a little girl though, I am presented with a few questions.
The main thing is clothes. We have some clothes Big F used to wear, but we have also been given hand-me-downs and gifts. Mostly girly things, lots of white and pink and dressy outfits. I don’t iron, so dresses present me with a necessity of getting an iron. Trousers and tops can be hanged straight when wet and be fine to wear, but a loose cotton dress gets crinkled no matter what. It has to be ironed before wearing, otherwise it looks bad. So, there’s an extra chore eating into my time.
More importantly there is the issue of getting messy. Big F was allowed to get messy and muddy and play and discover at will. It never bothered me that his clothes go stained. Now with all the lovely clothes we have been given I am feeling – against myself – that it will be a shame if Little S sits in a puddle.
I don’t like that thought. The first time it came to my mind alarm bells started ringing. It had put me on alert in case I attempt to do things differently with Little S, because she is a girl.
Clothes we wear can limit us. It brings to my mind the contrast between Victorian women, wearing uncomfortable dresses and restricting corsets – there was not much you could do wearing clothes like this. Not much other than look pretty, women were to be decorative. It’s interesting to compare this with 1920s fashion. By then women were more liberated and their clothes showed it. Straight cut, over the knee length, short hair and fitted hats. Comfortable and easy to move around. In clothes likes this you can work, play, do sports, whatever you like really.
I need to make sure that my daughter’s wardrobe does not constrain her. I want her to explore, touch and get dirty as much as she wants. I never want to say to her ‘don’t touch this, you’ll get dirty’.
Have you found that you are treating your son and daughter differently? I’d love to hear from you, so do leave me a comment or get in touch on Twitter (@mumbalance).