We moms tend to judge ourselves harshly and are always wondering if we are doing parenting right. So, I want to start off by saying this is in no way an article about why we shouldn’t raise princesses. I am never going to judge you and your parenting style. This is an article about my parenting comfort zone and why I love not raising princesses. Because I don’t want my girls to be princesses.
When I was 12, my best friend and I rolled around our neighborhood taking turns on her skateboard. We learned to hop curbs and once or twice I completed a pretty decent ollie. We loved the Surf Punks and U2 and I’m dating myself hard. Point is, I’ve never been your typical girly girl even though I love crafts, make-up, nail polish and sparkly things. I am a walking conundrum. My interests are diverse, but you won’t ever catch me wearing a tiara. I’m what some might call a bit of a granola and am much more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt.
Bringing my first born into the world, it never really occurred to me to dress her one way or the other or decorate her room in pink or sparkles or princess-y things. In fact, I often dressed her in boy clothes because I liked them better. It just seemed silly to put her in ruffles. The onesie we brought her home from the hospital in had a surfboard on it. Now, that tiny baby is about to turn 17 and is an avid longboarder who digs The Neighbourhood and Vans, has raised a few lizards, and I couldn’t be more proud. Every once in a while, she’ll ask me to French braid her hair, but that’s about as fancy as we get.
My middle daughter is my spirit animal. She loves catching frogs and snails and digging in the dirt for worms after dancing in a good rain. She has an aversion to having her hair brushed or played with. She loves Harry Potter and all of the Lord of the Rings movies. I have caught her acting out the part of Eowyn, holding a “sword” (letter opener) in the middle of her face and staring intently, probably saying to herself, “I am no man!” She’s a warrior and I want to be like her when I grow up.
These descriptions of my daughters make me intensely proud to be their mom. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right. I am happy that I can relate this way with my daughters. I think even if I had tried to raise them as princesses, they would have rebelled. I try to give all of my kids (my son, included) opportunities and exposure to all kinds of things, not just the stereotypical gender traditional ones. They should be renaissance kids who come into adulthood with the ability to take whatever path they choose for themselves.
I have always associated the word “princess” with high maintenance, whether that be clothing, shoes, hair and nails or being incapable of taking care of things yourself, having to be catered to and, more freaky for me, being proper. I am in no way bashing those who like to live this way! If that’s your bag, power to you, sister! I just don’t care to mess with that stuff and am glad my kids feel the same. I have had a total of three manicures/pedicures in my entire life.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a well put together person and I myself love to get dressed up and be swept off my feet, but I’m just as happy to do that for someone else. I try to teach my girls (and my boy) that they are strong enough for themselves and that they don’t need anyone to validate their happiness/worth. I guess I’ve been conditioned to believe through all the Disney movies (that I LOVE) that princess goals equal happily ever after. I don’t believe that is all there is to life. They should be free spirited and curious scientists for their entire lives.
My role is to foster and nurture this natural creativity in them and teach them to be good humans, not just pretty princesses or princes. Also, being able to do your own nails and do it well is a heckuva valuable skill.