Becoming a parent was eye-opening in so many ways but, probably the most surprising was the gender specific traits that my daughter (Elle) naturally took on.
Elle loves the colour pink. I didn’t encourage her to like princesses or to want to dress a certain way. She just did.
That was very surprising to me. I thought I was going to shape who my children were, and I was wrong. I am only one little piece of what shapes these little human beings.
I know mothers who try to challenge gender behaviors because they do not want their children to live by certain stereotypes. But, most mothers end up at that moment when, despite all efforts, are defeated by princesses in the toy store, ubiquitous on cereal boxes, lunch boxes and toothpaste, and find themselves living in a pink world.
So, it was shocking when at 6 years of age, that mentality shifted suddenly and without warning. My daughter recently announced that she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up. And, just like that, her world became dinosaurs, science, and fossils. Her bedtime reading is now completely engulfed in learning about the Triassic period and the differences between plant eaters and carnivores. She only wants to watch, play, and learn about dinosaurs. When asked why, she simply says, “because they are interesting and no longer exist”.
And, once again, I am surprised. I didn’t encourage this interest either but, I am learning right along with her. Because that is what mothers do – they embrace and encourage the interests that these little people adopt. And, just like that, they change. And, we do it all over again.