If you know me at all then you know, by the title, that I am not the author of this post! You may recall that last week Nicole from Work In Sweats Mama allowed me to invade her space and write about parenting my two boys. Well, now we’re pulling the ol’ switch-a-roo and she’s here today to talk about something I have zero knowledge of – raising little girls. You could argue that parenting is all the same, but you would be wrong. Sorry, it’s just totally different raising each child, and then factor in gender, and it’s another game completely.
I have the absolute pleasure of opening my space to Nicole today. She’s the mom you would meet at the adventure park (no, she wouldn’t be hanging out in an ordinary park!) who you would instantly want to schedule a play date with. She’s fun, athletic and has a way with words when speaking about her two true loves – Monkey and Bean.
I’ve never been a girly girl.
Equal parts tomboy and book worm, if I wasn’t trekking through the woods, my nose was buried in a book.
My Cabbage Patch craze was short lived. Barbie? Boring. And I escaped the princess proliferation by at least a decade.
I had better role models anyway. Mary Lou Retton. Mary Martin as Peter Pan.
See the pattern here?
Perhaps they influenced the boyish haircut I sported for most of my adolescence. Or maybe it was my complete inability to master anything beyond the basic ponytail, a skill that still eludes me.
I never had a makeup drawer.
I didn’t accessorize.
I was most comfortable in warm-ups and flip-flops.
Wow. I haven’t changed much in 20 years.
Sugar and Spice
Pregnant for the first time in 2009, I secretly hoped for a little girl.
Not to parade in pink or ply with princesses. It was never about ribbons and curls.
I yearned to build that unbreakable mother-daughter bond forged by years of drama, heartbreak, and histrionics.
A daughter would mean late-night giggles and whispers.
Serious and silly conversations about boys.
An adult friendship unlike any other.
When my precious Bean arrived, I received the gift my heart desired.
And the girly girl I wasn’t.
Bean is like me. Fiercely competitive. Stubborn.
Sensitive to a fault.
She also dons tutus and fairy wings. Shakes her hips while she belts out the latest pop tune. Paints her nails and braids her hair with Grandma.
Bean proudly rocks a twirly dress and Puma sneakers.
Skirt or not, a girl’s got to be ready to outrace the boys on the playground.
Pregnant a second time, I again harbored a secret wish for a girl. This time, it was about the bond between sisters.
Sisters fight and compete.
They kick, scream, and pull hair.
One moment, they play together; the next, they’re at each other’s throats.
Sisters grow apart, but always reconcile, closer than before. They become maids of honor, aunties, and lifelong friends, forever linked at the heart.
I wanted Bean to have that.
With her little sister, I got more than I bargained for.
Monkey makes my childhood forays into the realm of tomboy look downright prissy.
She is fearless, mischievous, and capable of taking more knocks than Favre, Elway, and McNabb. Combined.
But, far more likely to scramble like Vick.
Monkey is one tough cookie.
She launches herself from the top of her crib. Climbs counters and shelves.
Runs away from punishment – with a “can’t catch me” giggle and sassy smirk tossed over her retreating shoulder.
Monkey falls hard, but dusts off and moves on.
With floppy blonde hair, she’s Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber, preschool edition. She channels Cosmo Kramer when she enters a room with an energetic burst.
When we stuff Monkey into a dress, her mildly annoyed expression says it all, but she’s too busy to fuss about it. She’s off on her next adventure.
She’s got to keep up with big sister. And leave the boys in her dust.
A Mother’s Wish
As different as my daughters are, I want the same things for them.
To understand I hold them tightly now so they can soar later.
To know there is nothing they can do that will change my love for them.
To believe they can be anything their hearts desire.
To embody unshakeable confidence, tempered with humility and empathy.
To be true to their dreams, no matter how difficult their paths.
I want my daughters to become strong, courageous, and compassionate women.
Whether they rock a twirly dress or warm-ups, cleats or high heels.
What a great post nicole!! I admit, I am a total girly girl. I love pink, I love getting all dolled up (well every now and then, sweats are still my BFFs), and I can’t wait to do girly things with Gentry. BUT, I also want her to be tough, to beat the boys in pull-ups and around the track, like her mother 😉
Can’t wait to see if we will have that sister bond in a few weeks or not!
I have no doubt the boys won’t be able to keep up with G! Can’t wait to find out if it’s all pink for your family or time to start thinking blue! I’m sure Justin would love to have a little man to even out the numbers. My husband is forever outnumbered…and has resigned himself to never getting a word in again!
I think all of us runner girls can agree that we want our kids to be like us on the track!!
Can’t wait to find out about baby number 2 🙂
I love this! With two older brothers growing up, I was a Tomboy. My parents even nicknamed me Angelo for awhile because I refused to wear anything dress related. I want my daughter to be who she is. And guess what? She’s a girly girl who loves pink but doesn’t have a care for dolls or princesses. She’d rather play with dump trucks and cars. Great post Nicole!
Sounds like your daughter perfectly balances pretty in pink and hanging with the boys! She’s lucky to have a twin brother who’s willing to share his trucks and cars.
Love your growing up story, Angelo! There are so many pictures of me with a disgruntled look on my face when I had to wear beautiful dresses (handsewn by my mom!) for the holidays.
Kids are great that way! My son Vaughn loves playing princess and his favorite color is purple. Of course then he will walk by his brother and throw him an elbow.
Your daughters sound like my own, because as alike as my two are, they are so different in many other ways. And I was so with you when I was pregnant and truly wanted to have girls myself both times. I never thought I would be so lucky to get two, but lo and behold and I did and still kind of in shock many days that I did. But then again I was the girly girl and I knew how to do girl all over, but loved hearing about this today and on many levels I could truly relate 🙂
Isn’t it amazing how different sisters can be? If I’d had a son, I would have loved him to pieces, but I feel truly lucky to have these two crazy ladies in my life, even when they drive me absolutely insane!
I can relate to WANTING girls! I admit I cried a lot when I found out that both babies were boys!! But now? I can’t imagine it any other way.
Allie, thank you so much for letting me invade your space today and get girly! Someday we’re going to get together and let our wild kiddos run each other ragged. While we sit back and laugh. And sip several adult beverages!
That sounds like a dream come true!! Can’t wait to make it happen. Thanks so much for being here today!
Beautiful, Nicole! And I can definitely relate. My daughter sounds just like Bean… the stubborn, competitive and ultra sensitive characteristics that I hope to shape into a woman of passion and confidence, but wow, the parenting is tough!!
Yes it is!! No matter the gender, parenting a willful child is tough!
Given the similar personalities, I bet the drama in your house is sky high, too! I’m trying not to even think about what the tween and teen years will bring. YIKES! But regardless of whether you’re thinking pink or embracing blue for #2, your daughter will be an incredible big sister!
As the mom of 2 girls, the younger one who sounds very much like your Monkey, this totally made me cry! As a sister, I can attest to that lifelong bond. 🙂 Great post!-Ashley
Awww! I always wanted a sister! Of course my brother and I are very close and I’m so grateful for that. Thanks Ashley!
What is it about the younger daughter that makes them absolutely nuts?!
Despite years of cat fights, tears, and drama, my sister and are very close now. She was my maid of honor, and I loved returning the favor five years later. I’m glad my girls will have that same relationship some day.
I love this Nicole! I fear having girls precisely for the pinkification that has overtaken anything related to baby Gs! (And maybe the teenage years as well).
Don’t worry, Amy! There’s plenty of purple to go around, too! Now that we’re through the baby phase, I fear the eventual tween and teen drama much more than any of our diaper-changing, breastfeeding, baby adventures (and we had plenty of those!).
OK, I will add purpl-ification to that as well 🙂
Nicole, your last passage gave me chills. Those are the exact things I want for my daughter and we talk about this all the time, especially with my older (who is the fiercely competitive tomboy). And those mother daughter bonds? Unbreakable and inseparable despite the drama (which there is a lot of in my house!) Your girls are lucky to have you and your amazing mama heart.
Oh, the drama! It’s insane, isn’t it? Thankfully, I’m pretty sure that Bean is the dramatic one. Monkey is too busy getting into trouble. Hmmm, now that I think about it, I’m not sure which is worse!
I don’t want to wish the time away, especially since there are so many things I love about these young ages, but I can’t wait to have heart-to-heart conversations with my daughters about my hopes for them. I’ll be coming to you for advice when it’s time!
Love this Nicole! This totally makes me want a girl so bad! It made me reflect on my own personal relationship with my mom, it really is the best kind of bond! Awesome post!
When Bean was born, my relationship with my mom changed forever. We were already close, but knowing how I felt about my daughter – and knowing she felt the same way about me – rocketed my awe and appreciation of her to a new level!
It did the same thing for me Nellie!! Although, they say that boys love their moms, still…there’s nothing like that mother/daughter connection!
I love this….I may be partial though because I also have two girls!!!
I am a total tomboy although I enjoy a good old princess movie as much as anyone :). I love sports and my motto is pretty much the more comfortable the better!
My oldest daughter is a total tomboy and my youngest is much more girly! They are complete opposites. And I also wish all the same things for my girls who is growing WAY faster than imagined possible!!!
The warp speed of motherhood never ceases to amaze me!
And I’m probably doing a disservice to Bean and Monkey by using labels like ‘girly-girl’ and ‘tomboy.’ One of the best parts about watching them grow and change is realizing that they defy all conventions and expectations. They can’t be defined by labels! They are so much more, and I have no doubt they will be amazing women. Just like your beautiful daughters, Jen!
What’s funny is I am NOT a girly girl. I rarely do my nails, hair, I don’t know a lot about make up…and my daughter IS a complete girly girl. Since I don’t know how to do hair, hers is generally boring.
Thank goodness for grandmas! They are the nail polish queens in the family. I have managed to master a simple braid, but the french braid eludes me. Most of the time, Bean settles for a simple ponytail. Thank goodness!
This was such a sweet post! Raising girls is tough on so many levels. I grew up in a time/place where all the emphasis was on looking pretty, and yet that went against my natural grain. I really want things to be different for my daughter. I want all her esteem to be wrapped in what she can accomplish, not how she looks. There are still social norms to fight in that regard, but I think things are so much better than when I was a little girl!
As crazy as life is now, I know this is really the easy part. We have lots of tough talks and hard lessons ahead of us! I agree with you. I think things have changed tremendously over the last few decades, but there is still so much pressure on young women to look and act a certain way. I want my girls to always feel comfortable in their skin, to know and embrace who they are. I’m glad awesome mamas like you are paving the way!!
Great post Nicole! I was never a girly girl growing up either. Sometimes I wished to have a girl but I do love having my two boys. Thanks for sharing their story!
I think we’re given the children we’re supposed to have, and whether we have girls, boys, or a mix of both, we are the lucky ones. I thank my lucky stars every day for the privilege of raising my two incredible daughters! I know you feel the same way about your sons.
What a great post! So well written! I really want to have a baby girl someday. I’m the ultimate girly girl though so that means I’ll probably only have boys! Lol!
I’m SURE you will have a girl Britt! Of course, if at first you don’t succeed 🙂 Either way, you will be a great mom. The funny thing is, I so desperately wanted to have a girl and was pretty upset when I found out I was having TWO boys, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Once that baby (or babies!) are born, you couldn’t care less about if it’s a girl or a boy. All you feel is love.
Whether you have a boy or a girl, you will fall head over heels in love with your little one. Allie is absolutely right. It doesn’t matter what you thought you wanted. As soon as they arrive, they are forever linked to your heart.
Oh you, Nicole. (and you, Allie) You two never fail to make me happy with words.
I was a hybrid, really. I loved dresses and dolls. I also loved G.I. Joe and hot wheels. I was adventurous outside. While wearing hair bows.
So it makes sense..to have a daughter and a son! Scarlet is a princess lover, but totally on her own terms. I dig that so much. She likes the dresses but hates the cheap ones that rip. She asks us to cut off the the little brooches they have on the collars with photos of the princesses because she says, “People..don’t wear photos of themselves on their clothes.”
That kind of thinking is how I know she’ll be ok. Princess world. Her terms.
And Des. Sweet Des. He’s so special. But this is a post about girls.
Des is special enough to warrant an arranged marriage with Monkey. Nuff said.
And Scarlet and Bean are going to leave a trail of broken hearts in their wake. They’re both reigning supreme from their princess thrones. On their own terms!
I love that she said that about the pictures!! I cannot wait to meet this child someday…not to mention her mom 🙂
I was a total tomboy. Football jerseys and GI Joe. If it was girly, I wouldn’t even give is a second look. Made my mom so crazy. My Little A is the same way with her spiderman (boy) undies, football jerseys, track pants…any hand me down from her brother. She walks around ratty and bedraggled but man is she awesome. She won’t watch Disney movies because they are too girlish. She is fierce, brave, competitive, strong, and insanely athletic. For someone who was afraid to have a girl, I am so glad to be blessed with her.
She sounds awesome! I wonder where she gets all that coolness from? 🙂
Can our daughters be besties? I love your description of Little A. She sounds like my kinda gal…and just like her mama!
Considering that society often still tries to put little girls in a box, I am inspired by your dedication to supporting your girls exactly as they are – however that might be, and however different they may be from one another. Your girls are blessed to have a mom who will give them the confidence and self-assurance that so many others will lack. Great post!
Absolutely! It’s sometimes hard as a mom to have a child who is so different from you. It takes a great mom to let that go and nourish who their children truly are. Thanks Katie.
Thank you so much, Katie. I know that I’m truly the lucky one to have the privilege of raising two daughters who are amazing in their own right. I just hope I can do them justice and help them think outside of society’s boxes!
I was a tomboy growing up. My daughter is athletic and can do anything the boys can do, but she dresses like a girl and does it well. I wish I had half her poise. It is fun to see how much like and unlike they are with us, isn’t it? They are their own people.
I know what you mean, Michelle. I’m constantly blown away by Bean’s confidence. I hope she never outgrows it. The other day I picked her up from daycare and said, ‘Bean, you are beautiful.’ Her response: I know.
Love the confidence. Need to work on the humility!
Yes! That is the most fun. I also love seeing how much identical twins can be alike and not alike at all!
I’m not a girly girl either. Don’t bother me with jewelry or accessories (how do you even tie a scarf?) Before I was a mama, I wanted all boys. Sure, they’re rambunctious and messy, but they don’t seethe, emote, or hold grudges like girls do. When I learned my second baby would be a girl, I cried. Seriously. But now, I’m so glad I have my one daughter mixed in with three boys. It’s great to have someone else in the house who knows where everything is and needs to be. 🙂 More important than that, I love our talks about books, boys, and the challenges of eating lunch in a middle school cafeteria. My girl isn’t girly- she’s feisty, competitive, smart, and I’m afraid one day the principal will call me to say that she punched a boy for cheating at rainbow tag. Her favorite movie: Miss Congeniality. That opening scene? That’s my girl. 🙂 Yay for daughters. Beautiful post, Nicole.
I’m so glad you have a daughter to balance out all the testosterone in your household! I fear my husband will drown in the estrogen and drama some days!
And I can’t wait for the grown-up conversations with my girls. Not that I want to rush them. Right now I’m still savoring each little girl hug and cuddle!
Yay for daughters indeed! It’s funny b/c I cried when I found out I was having two boys. And no, I’m not trying for a girl because surely I’ll end up with two of them!
I love the visual of Monkey entering the room like Cosmo Kramer!!!
So awesome that your girls are so different and yet both seem to have so much of you in them!
I enjoyed reading this since I don’t (nor will I ever) have girls of my own!
So glad you shared about your girls over here today!!!
Thanks, Kim! I love reading about your boys (and Allie’s boys) for the same reason. It’s fun to live vicariously through you!
It’s amazing to see the many differences between Bean and Monkey. But what brings me to my knees is the biggest similarity: their fierce love for one another. It’s incredible and beautiful. I’m so happy they have each other.
I just LOVE this Nicole!!
As a tomboy myself, I secretly FEARED having girls! I mean, what the heck did I know — and what if they wanted a pink bedroom one day (done.)?? My first was a boy and I instantly had dreams of him putting the puck in the net and winning the Stanley Cup one day. Except…he doesn’t like sports. drat.
Now you’ve pretty much described the 2 girls that followed — and everything I wish for them.
Maybe one of them will score that goal and bring home Olympic gold. Or maybe they will be the newscaster who calls the victory. Who knows — I just hope that whatever they do; they are fierce. nail polish optional.
I can see your girls in full hockey pads and masks, hoisting their sticks, for Team Canada some day! My girls are more likely candidates for the Summer Games. Nail polish optional!
I’m a middle of the road girl – not too girly, not too tomboyish. My daughter seems to be the same. I have a photo of her when she was about five, clad in dress up clothes, with her two year old brother in the same outfit. He’d put her in a headlock for doing that now, but she wanted a playmate on her terms!
Oh, what a precious memory and photo! And I have a feeling your daughter is anything but middle of the road. I’m quite certain she’s absolutely spectacular, in every way!
My boys totally dress up in “girl” costumes and outfits with zero sister influence. I just love how they don’t see what should be a “boy” thing or a “girl” thing…although that’s ending 🙁
What a great post, Nicole! Someday I’ll have a little girl in my life… All I wanted for Christmas when I was little was a baby sister, but Santa never brought her. When I go pregnant I desperately wanted a little girl. Now that I’m approaching the grandma years, I’m holding out hope for a granddaughter some day. One can dream, right! And if I ever get that little girl, I’ll get her running shoes and pink tutus! 🙂
She may not be a little girl, but you’re going to have a daughter-in-law to call your own very soon! I hope your wish for a granddaughter comes true some day. I know you’ll love her to pieces and spoil her rotten, like grandmas should. And the running shoes! You won’t believe how adorable toddler running shoes are!
And don’t forget the Hokies gear! My girls both have VT cheerleader uniforms. ADORABLE!
Nicole, I have no doubt that you will raise strong, empowered and courageous young women.
Thank you so much, Alison! And I have no doubt you will raise strong, respectful, successful young men. Plus, they’re just adorable!
I love this. I was definitely a girly girl, but my daughter is not. I have one girl and three boys and to survive, she has embraced the rough and tumble side of herself. I love how fierce and brave she is, but she still looks gorgeous when she dresses up in girly dresses (which happens less and less:()
Thank you, Allie! It sounds like your daughter is one fierce gal, and her brothers better watch out. I’m sure they’ll be watching out for her too! That’s a wonderful aspect of the brother-sister relationship.
I love this. When I was pregnant, both times, I really wanted a daughter but was gifted with two boys instead. I love my boys to pieces and wouldn’t have it any other way but you’re right – there is something about that mother-daughter bond. The last part of this is beautiful. I have the same wishes for my kids, especially to be strong, compassionate men.
Thank you, Christine. I think we end up with the children we’re supposed to have. Whether we are given boys or girls, we as parents are the lucky ones. It is our privilege to have the honor of raising them. And I have no doubt your sons will grow to be sweet, strong, compassionate men with your love and guidance.
FitBritt touched on this, but it should be said again – your writing here is top-notch. It’s one thing to deliver a topic you’re passionate about, but to do it like this, that’s a testament.
I hope that my girls and the girls before them have done a good job to pave the road for girls like yours, who can do or be anything. Not *everything* – that’s dangerous ground – but anything. It will take girls like yours to help us accept that a girl can be gritty and gorgeous all at the same time.
Grace once said, “sometimes I’m pretty, sometimes I’m dirty.” When you have the spirit your girls do, with the support of a mom who is made of the same stuff, what *can’t* they do?
Thank you so much for this comment (and the compliment!), Eli.
Gritty and gorgeous. I love that. It’s the perfect way to describe my girls. Gorgeous from the inside out with grit and gumption to spare. I want to be like them when I grow up!
Not to mention the support, wisdom and unconditional love of a father!
I’m mostly girly girl, however, K is a good mix of both! She’s a girly girl and LOVES pretty clothing &getting dolled up but when Mike gets home, she wants to be out with him in the fields & pastures with the cows, chickens, goats, and on the land, needless to say I have to scream “COME GET OUT OF THE GOOD CLOTHES WE PAY GOOD MONEY FOR” she says back to me “but Momma, these Carhartts y’all buy me, are expensive too!” I respond “yes, but the material is made so you don’t get thorns in your butt, do you want thorns in your butt?” She just smiles puts on her boots and goes to the fields with Mike…. Oh the life of being a city girl on the farm is SO interesting! ~A~
I can just see your beautiful daughter traipsing over the fields in cowgirl boots and a twirly dress! I bet she balances girly and fierce, city and country, perfectly!
I love everything about that! Such a great little fashion forward farm girl you’re raising. Love it!!
What a beautiful post Nicole. I think I was like you growing up – a little more tomboy than girly girl. As you know, I’ve been blessed with 2 boys and a girl. My daughter is the youngest and I am still trying to figure her out. She sounds a little like your first-born – I like to describe her as part princess, part MMA fighter. 🙂
It may take us our whole lifetimes to figure out our beautiful, complex little girls! Warrior princesses for sure!
My mom and I are probably the best of friends. I can honestly tell her EVERYTHING without judgement from her. If anything, she offers me very realistic and sage advice that I really cherish and hold close to my heart. I love my mom!!
Ohhh, I love that you shared how close you are to your mom. My mom and I have always been closed, but the moment I became a mother, my love and appreciation for her skyrocketed to a whole newlevel.
That is so great GiGi! That’s exactly the kind of relationship I miss with my mom. You should call her and tell her you love her right now!! 🙂
Nicole you are such an amazing writer! I just love reading your posts. It’s wonderful to read what you want for your girls. I can’t say that I don’t think about what I want for my little baby but I do know I want nothing more than for her to be as happy as she can be. I want her to wake up with a smile each and every day and I want all her dreams to come true. I hope I am able to show her that anything is possible if you truly believe you can. (I secretly hope for a girl the next time around too…shhh, don’ t tell my husband.) 😉
Your secret’s safe with me, Rosi! I love your wish for your daughter to wake up with a smile each and every day. What a beautiful wish!