Women who don’t want daughters are missing out If you think girls are tough to raise then you're just perpetuating a stereotype.

It’s nearly three o’clock in the afternoon and I’m still in bed.

Ten years ago the reason for this state of affairs could only be blamed on alcohol consumption. But now here I am at 35 still in my pajamas in the afternoon not because of a hangover but because I’m with a very sick little girl.

My daughter has been running a fever on and off for the past three days and now she’s coughing so hard she’s retching. Each tiny cough and subsequent whimper is, to me, worse than the grinding agony of a thousand hangovers. Her coughs make me grimace in pain.

All I can do is cuddle her, rub her back, smooth her hair back from her forehead and whisper in soothing tones. And put on Sesame Street for the millionty-fifth time.

This girl, this sweetheart, she’s my life. We are tethered together for eternity. I feel every emotion she feels. If she’s sad, I’m sad. If she’s happy, I’m happy. Is it unhealthy that my emotional state is so completely knotted up with the feelings of another human being?

But I’ll tell you a little secret. I was afraid to have a girl. I didn’t grow up having the greatest relationship with my own mom. I know first-hand how horrible teen girls can be because I was one.

So I can kind of understand this apparent trend of women saying they don’t want daughters that Erin over at Jezebel is talking about. When I first discovered I was pregnant I might have mentioned that I was hoping for a boy first. It wasn’t that I didn’t want a daughter, just that, from my limited vantagepoint of parenting at the time, boys seemed like they might be easier to raise and if a nice, mellow boy could ease me into the murky waters of parenting then that would be okay by me.

But, man, was I wrong. Girls are the best. Do you hear me? The best! That’s not to discount how great little boys are because I have one of those too. But my daughter is something special and I had it all wrong, looked at it all the wrong way. Having a Daughter is the greatest thing that ever happened to this princess-hating Mama

Below are seven reasons I’m so glad I had a daughter and the major life lessons I’ve learned as a result.

Girls are too girly?

I actually said that before I had my daughter. The bit about girls being too girly. I’m ashamed to say that this may have been me bolstering my own feminist notions and not really based in reality. All girls aren’t girly and all boys aren’t into trucks and cars. And yeah, I hate Barbies and Princess-y crap but guess what? There is nothing cuter than my daughter clomping around in a Cinderella dress or asking if I’ll paint her nails pink while she sits on the potty because that’s what she likes. I was wrong to try and eliminate the princess-y aspects from my daughter’s childhood as some sort of nod to feminism and gender identity boundaries. Do I want to force pink, princess-y crap on her because she’s a girl? No. But, if my daughter turns out to be a girly-girl I am hopping onboard that train and riding it all the way to Cinderella’s ball same as I would if my son tells me he’s into princesses.

Elaborating on my mistaken notion of feminism

By being reluctant to introduce my girl to pink and poofy things, I took my notion of raising a strong woman too far. I was behaving in much the same way many religious parents do when they learn their child is gay — I was rejecting something I thought would be detrimental to my girl. I thought buying her a doll would create some sort of mall shopping, lip-gloss obsessed girly-girl. I thought I was doing her a favor, maybe keeping her from turning into a Kardashian or something, but I wasn’t. I was imposing my own likes and dislikes on a sweet 3-year-old. Though I still hate Barbie and don’t think a naked doll with an unreal body including knockers so big she’d fall over in real life is appropriate for a little girl to see while growing up, dolls and pink and poofy are just as cool as race cars and action figures. It’s all about imagination and creativity, right?

Girls are harder to raise than boys?

“Girls are manipulative and dangerous” or “Girls are easy when they’re young, but watch out when they’re teenagers!” Erin (the Jezebel article) reports hearing from her women friends on a regular basis. And boys aren’t difficult? It saddens me that women who are victims of these types of stereotypes are choosing to perpetuate them when pregnant and hoping for a boy instead of a girl.

Girls are moody and dramatic?

That’s one of the reasons Erin says she hears a lot of women using when expressing their hopes for a boy: “Girls are so moody and dramatic.” Really? Isn’t that just the most sweeping generalization ever? As Erin says, women who don’t want girls “assign qualities of Disney villainess proportions — jealousy, anger, cunning, ability to talk to mirrors — to all female children. Because children, little id blobs that they are, only grow to the complexity that the genitals between their legs allow, and no amount of guidance or learning will alter that inexorable course from the moment you know it’s pink or blue. Right?” For every mean girl there is a sweet girl, and it’s our job as parents to guide our girls in the right direction. In understanding my own emotional patterns, I am empowered to be constantly loving with my sweetheart so that she, in turn, can spread the love with the world.

The world is harder for girls?

The world is hard for everyone. And if you choose not to have a girl because you’re afraid of sexism and rapists and who knows what then maybe you’ve had it rough yourself? But doesn’t the idea of raising an independent, confident woman excite you? A woman who, in all likelihood, will be able to burst through barriers that you and I have thus far been unable to break? Seeing a society that universally accepts women of all sizes, attaining equal pay, becoming president of the United States to name just a few. One of my greatest joys is instilling ideas within my daughter that took me years to metabolize. By not wanting to have a girl because you think the odds are stacked against her then you are effectively giving up. You are saying you don’t want to have a victim and don’t want to change the structure that produces victims. And hey, who’s to say your son isn’t going to be the rapist or the serial killer?

Independent woman

Now, thanks to my beautiful Violet and her own willful spirit, my mind is wide open to all possibilities and personalities that await her. If she likes the color pink and princesses, I’m not going to push in the other direction. I will rock the pink princess fad too until something else catches her eye. But I will never again try to impose my opinion on her likes or dislikes in some mistaken notion that I’m raising her to be a strong woman and that includes whatever she chooses to do with her life. No matter whether it jives with my thoughts and feelings, I want her to live out her passions. Basically what I’m telling you is if Violet thinks princesses are cool then, dammit, so do I.

Learning to let go of preconceived notions

My daughter is a girl, yes. But I barely see it that way anymore, especially after having my son. My daughter is a person. A human being. I rarely frame her in the context of girl or boy anymore. That was a really big deal BEFORE she was born and now? Now, she’s just Violet. Right now she’s really into dinosaurs. Occasionally she puts on her Cinderella dress and clomps around the house. Maybe when she’s a teen she’ll scream that she hates me. Maybe we’ll be super close. I have a feeling that whichever of those scenarios occurs is up to me and the way I raise her as opposed to whether she’s a boy or a girl.

P.S. Protect yourself from the coming data-powered panopticon by getting a VPN.

Monica Bielanko was born and raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who once went to see an unknown band from Philly and married the guitar player a few weeks later. Monica has written for Washington Post, Huffington Post, Babble, Strollerderby, and Toddler Times.

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red

ill admit… i was one of those who said “i want a boy… less pink more play” literally those words… and, yes i did have a boy. reading this made me realize how rediculouse that sounded… im kind of embarrassed i even let myself think that! i wouldnt know what to do with a girl if i had one, but reading this made me realize “hey, i didnt know what to do with a boy either til i had one!” very well put, and thank you for posting

Sue
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Sue

As the mother of a daughter, now 24, I was dead set against those awful Barbie dolls that were such a poor representation of real women. No way was my kid going to have one! Then, for her 3rd birthday, my best friend, a girly girl, bought her a Barbie. Inside I was devastated but in deference to my friend, we kept the doll. Over time, I gave up on the Barbie issue as my daughter wanted more and more of them. She was not a girly-girl, hated dresses, and enjoyed playing with boys more than girls. But she loved her Barbie dolls. She also enjoyed Legos, puzzles, and reading. Today she is a bright, responsible, and confident college graduate whom we are very proud of.

I think as young mothers we spend way too much time worrying about how this TV show or that toy is going to adversely affect our child when in reality, those kinds of things, at least in my experience with now-grown children, don’t seem to make one whit of difference. Monica, I wish more mothers would have the light bulb moment that you seem to have had and relax already. Give the kid love, acceptance, step back and allow them to be who they are. It’s not doing those things that will damage the child–not some big-boobed plastic doll or a pink tutu.

Amanda
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Amanda

I am a mother of 1 (trying for another). I wanted a girl. I was very girly growing up, i liked barbies and pink and shopping and hated being dirty. and my sister was more into cars and trucks and getting dirty. I come from a family of about 10 girl cousins and theres only 2 boy cousins and both are by marriage. I wanted a girl who i could raise to be girly and have tea parties with. I was also going to be a single mom. I had no idea what boys were about or how to change a boys diaper (i still dont, lol). I.WANTED.A.GIRL. then I met my now fiance right before i found out what I was having. He didnt care either way (he was stepping in as dad, and was just soooo excited to get to be a dad). I got my wish and had a girl (thank goodness!) and she is not girly what-so-ever. She likes playing with cars and out in the dirt. She doesnt care how sticky or messy or dirty her hands clothes or face get. she likes dolls occasionally, but give her a kid tool set and some tonka trucks and shes a happy little girl. she prefers jeans and a shirt over a dress and sparkly shoes. Shes only 2 so maybe it will change, maybe not. she is my perfect angel. me and the fiance are trying for another, and he REALLY wants a boy. I would like to have a boy too, but secretly, when I get pregnant, I kinda want another girl. I know how to deal with girls, change a girls diaper, deal with girls attitude. Im kinda scared at the thought of raising a little boy, even tho I wont be goin at it alone. Ill be thrilled either way, as will my fiance, because we just want our children are happy and healthy.

Megan
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Megan

Great article! When I was pregnant 9 years ago, I wanted a girl. I wanted to enroll her in ballet, and teach her to play softball, and volleyball. My favorite color is purple, and I was picturing all the cute purple dresses I would buy her, and the purple butterfly nursery.

Well, I had a boy. Usually he’s all boy. He loves cars and trucks, and mummies, and insects, and Cub Scouts, and Math. He also loves ballet and reading and theatre. He’s been dancing since he was 4 and he hates sports, except for volleyball, which is ironically a girls’ sports at schools. Last summer he asked me if there were any boy cheerleaders at the high school.

Now I have a 14 month old girl. She’s too young to really judge what she’ll be into as she gets older. Right now she plays with babies and cars and blocks equally. She idolizes her big brother and all his friends, and they all treat her like she’s their own little sister. With my luck, she’ll end up hating ballet and I’ll never get all the tutus and point shoes. I’ll be stuck with black pants and sequined vests and boring black ballet shoes on my son. But, it won’t matter, because I love them both for exactly who they are and who they will become.

Tanya
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Tanya

Thank you for this lovely article. I have a baby girl on the way and I must admit I was very scared because of everyone telling me how difficult they will be. But this article shows that this is not the case. It is really how we look at it. I love being a girl, and although I was difficult at times as a teen, I feel I was a great daughter overall. I am also the one who takes care of my parents now (not my brother) and I am the one that would take them in without hesitation if they ever needed to be cared for. Even if girls are troublesome when they are young they will most likely be the ones to take care of you when you’re older. Boy or girl, you can’t predict either way how they will turn out, and it really comes down to you as a parent. You must ask about these girls that are supposedly awful. We should really look into how they were raised or their parent’s parenting skills and not write off being excited about having a girl. I am so excited to have a girl, and I know that she will be a little angel because at the end of the day they are all truly a miracle

JenC
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JenC

I love raising girls. It is amazing to me how different they are because, you know, they’re people. My oldest was all butterflies and rainbows and the color purple. She was 3 when we went to mall Santa and she asked him for a “beautiful rainbow” and he tried to steer her to a doll. My youngest, is all about cars, beating the boys, and creepy things. I’ve found myself trying to push her into dresses or dolls sometimes, partly because we have so many left over from #1, but she just isn’t interested and I have to let it go. Girls are the best – but perhaps I’m biased, raising some and being one.

Teresa
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Teresa

I am so happy you wrote this! I read your blog all the time, and I hope you don’t mind my saying this, but I have thought that your anti girly/anti princess stance (for lack of a better description) went against everything you stood for in your writing.

I have noticed in “blogland”, mothers freak out if their daughters want to dress up and wear pink, but pat themselves on the back and say they are being openminded when their sons want to dress up and wear pink, or if their girls play with trucks. No one says anything when boys stereotypically play with trucks.

I am really happy you wrote this and hopefully other moms will see that trying to force your tutu wearing daughter into chucks and jeans, is the same as forcing your tree climbing tomby into a tutu.

Brie
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Brie

I only one child as of now. We want more but we are both young enough that we can wait and still have another 1,2 or 3. While I was pregnant, I hoped and prayed that I’d have a girl. I mean that’s all I knew. I was 1 of 4 girls. My mom was a single mom and growing up men were these mean people who would swoop in and take my mom away. I was desperate for a girl. I knew if I had a girl I could do everything my mom tried to do with my sisters and me but sometimes failed because she was always trying to be more of a friend than a mom. I knew girls. I’m the oldest I had to help with the others. I instantly thought of all the DIY projects we could do together, the sewing classes we could take together, learning how to crochet/knit together. My expectations kept climbing. The day we found out the sex of our baby was the happiest, most nervewrecking day of my life. I remember I wanted my appointment to be as early in the morning as possible so that way I wasnt impatiently waiting all day. So we ended up there around 8.. I had been up since 6 drinking water so my bladder would be full. I wanted a guarantee. All through the first trimester everyone said I was carrying a girl. So in my head I knew I was having a girl and we were just getting the definite answer. The ultrasound technician did her thing. Measured me and the baby. At the end of the exam she said are we ready for the sex. I said I thought you’d never ask. There my husband and me were holding hands and staring at the screen. To me this was judgement day. Was God on my side or my husbands? See my husband is 1 of 3 BOYS. Both his sister-in-laws just had Boys in the last year. So odds were truly against me but I knew we had a girl. Well as the ultrasound technician waved that little wand on my belly in search of the unknown. My child spread their legs as side as possible letting it be known not ever so gently with the biggest boy parts! Even the tech was laughing. She said that it was almost like he needed it to be known he wasn’t a girl but in fact a very well endowed boy. She was shocked I was shocked and of course my husband was just proud. We left the ultrasound room and continued on to wait for my exam. I sat there with so many emotions. My husband bottled up everything afraid if he showed happiness I would be upset with him. I cried one little tear. I’m still not sure if it was happiness or the fear of the unknown. In the end, that was the second happiest day of my life. (The… Read more »

Caroline
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Caroline

This is really interesting. I know a person who was absolutely DETERMINED that she would have a daughter dammit, and that this daughter WOULD be her precious princess and so, when the 2nd child turned out to be – gasp – another boy, suddenly all she could talk about was how ”she’d always wanted 3 kids”. Luckily the 3rd one is a girl , but I feel so very sorry for her 2nd boy. I know that she and her husband love their kids and treat them well, but plainly, he is a disappointment and an also-ran and her daughter is the absolute bees knees.

I think it all depends on perception – which is silly, because we’re all people and individual. God help her if that little girl she was so completely set on having doesn’t really get on well with her or want to do ”girly” things together! Imagine the disappointment?

Joann
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Joann

When I was pregnant we didn’t find out the sex and while we really wanted a healthy, happy baby I (just a little) hoped for a girl more. I wan’t supposed to get pregnant (at least not easily). I had/have such a great relationship and bond with my dad I was hoping for my husband to get to experience that.

We had a boy and he and I have so much fun together! I can’t even imagine what life would have been like if we’d had a girl instead.

We’re hoping we get to have another baby but at this point, we feel like we have a good handle on boys so we’d be thrilled either with either sex!

Loved the pictures of your sweet girl! If I get the chance, I hope I can be as supportive of her tastes (even when they diverge from mine) as you are of Violet’s.

Wendyinvt
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Wendyinvt

I am a divorced mom of 3, girl, now 24, girl, now 22, and boy, now 20. I was told early on in pregnancy #1 that it was a boy – the day I delivered HER, I was in shock! All I wanted was healthy, I didn’t care about the sex of the baby.
I am not a girly girl at all, I hate dresses, but played with Barbies (well really Skipper, I didn’t care for Barbie!), and played lots of sports growing up, that was my comfort zone.
DD#1 loved dresses and girly girl stuff, and I obliged as best I could, she also was enrolled in sports. DD#2 hated dresses and girly stuff and sports! She just wanted a book and a corner to read it in, and crafts, but she played Barbies with her sister and trucks with her brother. DS#3, was all boy from day one, sports, sports and more sports, thank you very much.
I really tried hard not to push anything, but to give them the opportunity to explore it all and decide what they wanted to do. Sometimes they lead you, and sometimes you follow them. There is no imposing your view, because they have their own view and they will let you know what it is, even if you don’t want to know!

Diana
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Diana

My girl was so into princesses and pink and Barbies, and I not so much. But my mom kinda did the uber-feminist thing with me as a kid, and I thought it was opressive. So I just decided to go with the flow, not really encourage one thing or another. At 8 she announced the banishment of all princess crap. We redecorated her room with a wild animal theme. My daughter is now 12, rarely wears pink, has a nice middle of the road view on dressing cute and doing her hair, and is into Percy Jackson and such more than anything else. And my mom, who I love to death and think did a pretty good job as a mother, tells me I am a much more patient, better mother than she was. True praise, and a happy child.

Raising a boy to me seems like it would be harder. Many of the men in my life didn’t respect their own fathers, and are at a loss as to how to raise boys. My ex-husband actually told me he was relieved we had a girl. My recently ex-boyfriend is marginalized and undermined at all turns as a parent by his own mother and his ex-wife. So I guess it all depends on your point of view.

Hanni
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Hanni

When I found out that I was pregnant with my daughter, who is now five, I was overjoyed…but also thought that I’d never buy her anything girly or pink (I’m SO not a girly-girl). My daughter, however, had different ideas. Although her favorite toys are planes, tanks, trucks and cars, she LOVES to wear dresses and nail polish and find anything that’s pink (she’s already talking about the pink slug bug that she’s going to have someday). I’ve embraced this…and would never have her any other way. Daughters ROCK, yo.

Sharon
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Sharon

The definition of feminism that range truest to me is this:
I have the right to take up as much space as a man.

To me, that doesn’t mean I hate men, or pink is bad or being pretty is bad. It just means that I’m no less of a person because I was born with ovaries. I can take up the same space as a guy, and not have to apologize for being in the way.

I can’t do everything a guy can do, and don’t want to. I like the door being held open for me. I like having drinks bought for me.

But…if I want to be a fireman, and I have the strength to do it, I’m gonna. If I want to fight in combat and have the will to do it, I’m gonna.

That’s what I hope to instill in my beautiful, perfect little girl.

Rosana
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Rosana

When I was pregnant for the first time, I was at the checkout in a grocery store and the cashier asked me if I knew what I was having. I said no, because I didn’t want to find out. Then she went on to tell me how bad it would be if I had a little girl. How they are the worst because they get mouthy and that a boy would be tons better. Even thought I had no idea what I was having I was so angry at the fact that somebody just had the nerve to (try) to describe my baby’s personality even though that person did not know him/her at all. I don’t think personalities have anything to do with the sex of the person but with the individual and I prefer to get to know my kids through the journey of parenthood and accept them the way they are than to stupidly start passing judgment on a fetus.