I cried when the ultrasound tech told me I was having a girl. As the oldest of five girls, I feel pretty confident in calling myself an expert in All Things Girly. I mean, I happen to be one, myself. And I put my parents through hell.
While I was thrilled beyond measure to finally be Actually Pregnant after years of Lots of Practicing and No Baby, I’d been secretly rooting for a boy…for all the wrong reasons. I wanted what I perceived to be the “easy” way out: no pink, no ruffles, minimal drama, and I wouldn’t have to worry about Surviving the Second Coming of Me.
Raising myself was hard enough the first time around. Could I really make it through the sequel?
Well, she’s eight now. We are both still here. I’m calling it a win.
To celebrate, here are my top five reasons raising a girl rocks.
- American Girl Dolls: This one could easily be retitled to say “I can give her what I didn’t have.” I’m sure this line of thought can be applied to boy parents, also, but I can’t help but admit that there is a certain sense of sense of righting all the wrongs and hugging my inner Little Girl when I see her interact with and create stories for the dolls I didn’t have as a child. Say what you will about the cost, but don’t say I didn’t warn you when you get the brush stuck in the hair of the cheaper knock-offs. Thats when you begin to negotiate a visit to Mommy’s Hair Salon for a pixie cut.
- It’s Me, Take two: She’s my mini-me and I am honored to be her mother. I’m also frustrated and mentally exhausted and am not quite sure how the hell I’m going to survive the teen years. But that’s later, and it’s always better to focus on the Now. And right now? I’ve got a child with a heart so big and a mind so inquisitive that she is forcing me to take a look deeper into myself as I see what she sees and wonder why I never saw it that way before. Just add sparkles, glitter, and a magic wand and she’s ready to take on the world. She’s a girl and she is fabulous.
- Making up with Barbie: Yeah, you read that right. Thanks to chipper little story lines in the animated Barbie-inspired nods to High School Musical and you’ve got Barbie in Rockin’ Royals. I dare you not to start singing along the fifteenth time your daughter hits play on the DVD, because you’ll most certainly have the entire movie memorized by then. No matter how much you hated Barbie for her unattainable beauty standard and body image issues, it’s hard to keep hating when your Girl Power kid is clapping her hands at the end because she loves the movie so much and is just so damned inspired that its contagious. Barbie told her that she can be anything if she just puts her mind to it and dammit, that’s what she’s gonna do. It’s moments like these, where Barbie inspires this greatness and these big dreams, that I find myself thanking the very doll I used to loath. I call that progress.
- Tea Parties: Each time she fills her little teapot with water from the tap and sets up the world’s cutest tea party, complete with pinkies in the air and proper English biscuits to share with me and her Daddy, I learn something new about her, the way she sees her world, and it’s fabulous. We talk about all thing Polite & Proper and magical and mystical and each time, I find myself patting myself on the back for being smart enough to put the damned iPhone away for a few moments to concentrate on her and this moment. Each and every time, I thank God for giving me a second chance at raising myself. There’s so much I missed the first time around.
- Motivation to Love Myself Now: Not later. Not next week. Now- as in This Very minute. I am a work in progress and will most likely always be striving to be the best version of myself. For her, even on the days I feel too emotionally overwhelmed to bother trying, I do. For her. I am her example, her blueprint for her future self. That makes her my muse and the very reason I haven’t stopped fighting yet. Because of the girl I am raising, the woman I am is still fighting. And that, my friends, is all she wrote.
Pauline M. Campos is the author of BabyFat: Adventures in Motherhood, Muffin Tops, & Trying to Stay Sane and Latina Magazine’s #Dimelo advice columnist with a readership of over 4.5 million. She’s also a professional typo-aficionado, founder of www.girlbodypride.com, an award-winning photographer and commissioned artist, and host of the Chingonafest Project with Pauline Campos podcast on Soundcloud. She lives in northern Maine, on purpose, with her three rescue dogs, one fish, one daughter, and The Husband. ADHD is her super-power.