I didn’t wear a dress voluntarily until I got my first post-college real job. My uniform of choice is work-out gear, running shoes, and a hat. I can’t stand the terms “princess” or “diva.” I don’t care about Disney or the color pink.
My 6-year-old daughter, however, wants to live in a world of dresses and heels, purple and pink, makeup, jewelry, and mermaids with flairs of bubble gum, glitter, and rainbows dipped in cotton candy and sparkles.
Before having kids, the thought of acting like a princess conjured up weakness, lack of independence, and flakiness in my mind. At first, I didn’t want my daughter to have anything princess-y. I was determined to make sure she would be brave, independent, strong, kind, and powerful. And in my head, a princess was none of those things.
I WOULD NOT raise a high-maintenance diva!
But our kids often teach us unexpected lessons, and my little girl has taught me that dresses, pink, and sparkles do not mean you are weak nor lack strength and independence. She wrestles her brother in her Elsa dress and wears heels and nail polish to hunt for rolly pollies and lizards. She REFUSES to let anyone do things for her. We like to say she wants to get muddy looking for frogs, but she’s got to look good doing it!
Parents often talk about having a “mini-me.” Usually people laugh and think it’s cute when your child is just like you. But what if they aren’t? I don’t mean whether or not you have the same smile or nose. I’m talking about when, especially as your children grow, they have totally different interests and totally different personalities than you.
I think we do our kids a disservice when we expect them to be like us or to like the things we do.
If we can get past our notions about the things we don’t understand, we can support and encourage our kids to not only be comfortable with who they are but to excel. I may know nothing about band or gymnastics. I might think karate or video games are nerdy. But I’ll learn everything I can about what my kids are passionate about, and I’ll be their biggest, loudest, and most annoying fan. When our kids see our pride in watching them pursue their dreams, (even if we personally think they’re weird), we can give them confidence, and we can teach them to support and empathize with others. And isn’t that our goal?