I don’t know what I’m doing, as a mother. Every day is a new set of challenges, discoveries. Last week, we tried time out and this week I’m just waiting it out. There’s a lot of winging it.
One thing I do know is that I don’t want to raise a “good” girl. Yet, I catch myself using this phrase with Mae, and it makes me cringe. I want to put myself in timeout every time this phrase slips from my lips. Mae picked up her toys today and I said “good girl.” I wanted to catch the words and shove them back inside me.
I’ve written about feeling like as a female teacher, I’m seen as either a mother figure or sexual object (the good girl or the bad girl) by male students. Most women, rather they realize it or not, have been limited by the societal expectations that we should be sweet and good. I know I have.
I’ve been a feminist since I took a Literary Theory course in undergrad, so for about 12 years. I’ve thought about gender norms for over a decade, yet I can’t stop myself from slipping into those comfortable expectations at times.
It’s so much more than “good girl.” It’s not owning a toy airplane or dump truck; it’s calling her “cute” much too often when it comes to clothing. It’s the way I’m teaching her to examine herself in the mirror because she watches me. All. The. Time.
I’m not a perfect feminist, no one is, but I want to do better, to improve.
So I’m going to try to rid “good girl” from my vocabulary. I will say good listening, smart girl, or just give her a freakin high five.
Mae and I, we’re both a work in progress. You want to join us?