Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mothering Girls

Raising girls, and raising boys, are two very different things.
I've written before about what it's like to mother a boy.
About the amount of damage they cause which you can measure in dollars and trips to urgent care, because boys are wild and dangerous. I've written about how they can be tearing the backyard apart one minute, and cuddling sweetly with the kittens on the couch the next. Sword fighting, and asking for hugs for no reason.
Girls come with their own unique set of contradictions.
Girls are emotional, from the time that they're born.
Girls are complicated, and their relationships with their mother tends to be even more complicated.
They are all at once telling you you're crushing their soul and all of their beliefs because when they asked if the house was haunted, you said no, and then in the same breath calling you their best friend and can they please paint your nails?
Girls most natural instinct, is to be just like their mother, without being anything like her at all. We have to rebel against the woman who made us, to prove that we are our own person. But we also have to make her mistakes and steal her shoes, because she is the highest idea of womanhood that we know.
Girls don't break things, and their rooms are usually a little cleaner.
They would never think of taking a black Sharpie to your leather couch, and they make you birthday cards with glitter on them and are the first person to tell you that you look pretty before a job interview.
But they also are overflowing with emotions much bigger than they are, and their second strongest instinct, which is to find and keep a feeling of safety and security, dictates that when all that emotion comes spilling out in waves that overpower them, they will always direct the storm at the person they know loves them the most, and therefore is the most likely to forgive them, and still let them paint their nails.
Mothering girls is very different from mothering boys.

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