When we tell our daughters consistently that girls are jealous of them, we are perpetuating a stereotype we’ve lived for too long. While insecurity is still a major problem — and the main reason for the “Mommy Wars” — jealousy should not be the go-to excuse in our feminist toolbox. Instead, we need to teach our kids how to navigate difficult relationships and improve communication as opposed to merely writing off behavior as a jealous rage.
I want the village in my kids’ lives. In fact, I need the village, and not just for car pools. I wish for female role models who work outside the home to interact with my girls on a regular basis, so they can know their potential is limitless; I want my kids to play with families where the dad stays home so they can see there are no pre-determined roles; I hope if my kids are doing something bad, someone will stand up to them to course correct if I’m not there; and I need people to be brave enough to tell me if my daughters get themselves in a dangerous situation.
And if I desire all these things, then I have to be open enough to accept the village, even those in it who I don’t agree with about everything. Even those whose perspectives are different. Even those who send my kids home from the park when I’m trying to make dinner.
It’s not that I think she will always be this way. I know she will grow out of some of it. And it’s not that I fret that she is immature or overly dramatic. She is a tween right now in the throes of hormones, so I understand the dynamic.
But I do worry about her mental toughness, her ability to make rational decisions in times of trial and tribulation, and in today’s world, you need to be more than just strong. You need to be a survivor.
Decisions are made in moments, Mr. Turner.
And that’s why you are wrong. Your son didn’t ruin his life during the twenty minutes he spent raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. He destroyed his life – and the lives of his victim, her family and her boyfriend — when he made the split-second decision to pursue a woman so intoxicated she could not speak or even stand on her own.
I’m sorry, young mom. I blew it. I am just so jealous of what you are about to experience that I forgot how hard it was, too. What you saw were your two children disturbing the peace. What I saw were beautiful memories hanging on to a red shopping cart.
I admit that sometimes I am not genuine or one hundred percent authentic; but if not, it’s because I am trying to be something else, something that is even more important to me. I want to be kind and supportive and help someone else follow their dreams, just as my friends have supported mine.
At ten, her sense of self is strong. She knows how to put together an outfit and creates just the right hairstyle to go with it. I am always impressed with her ability to match her older sister’s fur vest with a pair of leopard leggings or a jean jacket with a plaid skirt meant for the holidays. She does not get this trait from her style-challenged mother, who has worn her hair the same way for nearly two decades.
“It’s okay, Mom. I’ll take care of everything,” I stated easily, as I knew that my father wanted to be cremated, which reduced the decision-making burden. Although I was the youngest in my family, the responsibility would be mine. My brother and sister had their children to manage, and I was the most involved when it came to my dad’s care.
I have three daughters, and of course I love them all equally.
That being said, there is one that I butt heads with more, one that seems to cause my temper to flare faster and bigger.
She happens to be the one just like me.
But then I think about that little girl. The one who no one was mean to, but yet was ignored. Not even a simple hello or a nod of acknowledgment. That could be your kid. It could be mine. It may be you, and I know it’s been me.
I am tired of hearing that girls are just mean.
I am exhausted from the excuses for exclusionary behavior.
I am sick of listening to parents saying their kids didn’t do anything. Because that is the problem. They didn’t do anything. We aren’t doing anything.
We are guilty, but too unaware to notice. Too busy to pick up on the signs.