“I wish I was a boy,” and Other Things My Daughter Taught Me

It was another mom day.

The kitchen sink overflowed with dishes. Laundry piled on the sofa. I lay on the floor, hoping the bout of pregnancy nausea would pass.

My five-year-old looked out the front window, hoping for the sight of my husband’s truck. “I wish I was a boy.”

My breath caught in my chest. “What did you say?”

“I wish I was a boy, so that I could grow up and be a Daddy. Boys do fun stuff. Girls do boring stuff.”

I cringed. I wanted to correct her, but I couldn’t. I had shared her sentiments so many times over the years. Being a wife and mom has its days (diapers, laundry, cooking, cleaning, ABCs, scrubbing, teaching, mopping, sweeping, mediating). And for those like me—the ambitious and restless and goal-setting women—stay at home motherhood is even more challenging.

My daughter’s words haunted me, and on restless nights, I would lie awake thinking of her words. How could I show my daughter the joys of womanhood? She was only five. It was too early for her to question gender differences. It was too early for her to dread motherhood. It was heartbreaking.

Fast forward to five months later…

One afternoon, I laid on the concrete floor of the garage, putting together a toddler bed while eight months pregnant.

Ruby’s eyes were glued to me. She handed me screws and tools when I asked, read the instructions alongside me. After I put the last screw in place, she took my hand. “Maybe moms can do cool things, too.”

My eyes darted to hers. “What was that?”

“It’s okay I’m a girl because I’m starting to think girls can do cool things too.”

Tears sprung to my eyes at the realization of her meaning and the recollection of her words from months earlier. I took her in my arms, and we had a lovely chat.

I am the model for my three girls. They see womanhood and motherhood through my experiences—the good and bad. And for Ruby—my tenacious, brilliant, middle child—I have to show her joy. I have to show her she can chase her goals while still being a woman, wife, and mother.

This experience had a profound effect on me. It’s left me determined to chase my dreams, and not just for me, but for Ruby. I want my daughter to grow up knowing that motherhood goes hand in hand with dreams.

So, I’ve pursued writing with new zest and published three books (a fourth due out this December), I started exercising consistently (I’m still waiting for the astounding results…), I’ve pursued new talents (baking, calligraphy), and I booked a trip to Europe (September, people!).

All it took was a little girl, dissatisfied with what she saw ahead of her, to teach me how to find joy. I’m so thankful for this whole mom-growth-learning-curve thing.

 

<3 H

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