Girls can, and girls do: teaching my boys about feminism

Yesterday as I drove the littles to school, we passed a construction area where a woman in a bright orange vest was waving traffic through. As we passed I made a point to say, “look, a construction lady!” which was met with instant whines from the backseat.

“Buuuuuut she caaaaaan’t be. That’s just for boys!”

My oldest is in a stubborn spot about girls right now. He tells me frequently that he doesn’t like girls, even though I constantly remind him that mommy is a girl. So when I realized his little brain was having a hard time reconciling this scene, I improvised with a response that I think I might have to use for the rest of my life.

“But girls CAN! And girls DO!” I retorted. I waved out my rolled-down window to the woman who sparked this conversation and was silently grateful for her being there.

It turns out it was also the day that one of my best, oldest friends went back to work after 6 months of maternity leave. Anyone who’s been in those shoes knows there’s no way to mentally prepare for the emotions that sweep over you on that first day you leave your baby behind to continue the life you knew before their appearance in the world. Or at least attempt to continue some semblance of it.

Something must have aligned the stars because, by luck, during my morning consignment run to trade-in and procure winter clothes for the dudes, I stumbled across a shirt I knew she had to have for her little gal.

Working mother motherhood parenting

Not too long after getting home she called me sobbing, having forgotten some pump parts, feeling awful, and generally questioning her mothering ability as we all do. I immediately sent her a photo of the shirt, because girls can, and girls DO!

So here I am, raising two little dudes in a world that I feel often neglects to recognize their mothers as equals on the playing field. A world that sends that message to them early, and often fails to care for new moms or kids in a healthy, nurturing way, long after they’re born. Teaching my boys that girls CAN and girls DO is the absolute LEAST I can do. All I can do is hope that they learn by seeing women — the construction lady, me, my bestie going back to work– DOING it ALL, so it’s not a lesson, it’s just their reality.

So, feral housewives, if you’re out there doing it, KEEP DOING IT! I know the struggle is real, but our littles are watching and cheering you on, even if its in the form of whiney ourtrage they don’t know it yet. And if I see that construction lady again, I may just get out and give her a big ole’ hug.

 

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