I’m not much of a girly-girl. I don’t really do makeup, I don’t have a purse or shoe collection. The SAHM thing means I spend my days in jeans and t-shirts.
By extension, it would seem, my daughter isn’t the girliest thing around, either. I have a very pragmatic approach to dressing my kids, and I prefer casual and inexpensive clothes that let them climb and get dirty. And my little girl, in particular, is quite a little monkey. She’s very active and climbs all over the place. Not only are frouf-y headbands and frilly dresses (with tights!) not my style, but they just don’t seem all that practical for climbing ladders and digging up handfuls of dirt in the yard.
But then, as all neurotic mothers will do, I start to wonder how I’m impacting my child and her view of herself as a girl. Am I imposing a “tomboy” label on her that has more to do with me than with her? Am I going too far in trying to avoid the stereotypical pinks and ruffles? Am I doing it more (or less?) because she has a twin brother? I don’t really think so. She’s an active kid, there’s no two ways about it. And plenty of her clothes are pretty clearly styled for girls. But still, I wonder.
Now, as we approach her second birthday, she is once again letting me know how silly this all is. Now that she knows her colors, she seems to be expressing a mild (but not exclusive) preference for pinks and purples. She finds the baby doll in the pile of stuffed animals and gives it a hug and a kiss. She is (finally) letting me put a barrette in her hair to keep it out of her face. Of the two demands she will sometimes make in clothing choices, one is an insistence on butterflies (the other is her collection of Obama shirts… sometimes a little brainwashing isn’t so bad…). And, of course, she still loves to run and bounce, she loves to kick a ball, she loves monkeys and pirates.
And I have allowed myself to develop a love for dresses. Still not the fussy, frilly (or expensive) type. Those still go too far against my fairly practical nature. But a nice jersey knit from Old Navy? Easy to wear and wash, and…. oh my lordy, so very cute.
I will still try to keep checks and balances on how I impact my kids in terms of gender expression and stereotypes. But darn it if that little dress isn’t fricking adorable. And, at least now people don’t look at my kids and say “oh, two boys!”
What do you think? Do you struggle with clothing and gender stereotypes or practicality? Do you just embrace it or ignore it? Do you think your kids’ gender combinations (b/g, g/g, b/b, etc.) impact how you choose to dress them?