Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is it because in her I see an extension of myself?

I think I am harder on my daughter than I am on my son. Why is that? Is it because in her I see an extension of myself? Are all mothers that way, and fathers harder on their sons? Is it more than genetic or societal conditioning, but lying evolutionary predisposition? Why do I expect more of GIRL than I do of BOY?

She is exquisite, my girl. Thoughtful, willful and incredibly bright. And she adores me with a fierceness that is only surpassed by my own love for her.

There is so much I wish to teach her. And tell her... To value her mind. That her body is to be honored, and not easily given away. To be her own person. To feel good about who she is. To know that not everyone will be in her corner, or accept her in every situation, and that is OK if she believes in herself.

I want to be there for her. Always. Not to be her friend, but her mother. A mother whom she can count on. A mother whom she can talk with. Like almost everything on this journey of motherhood, I am learning at least as much as I am imparting. And I have so much more to learn...

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  1. I've often wondered about this very same thing with my girls.

    Yes, I think... a little... for so many reasons that are both conscious and sub-conscious.

  2. Well, I don't have a daughter, but I think if I did, I would worry about her more. Raising a girl just seems so much harder to me.

  3. I think I've told you this before, but my father recently admitted to me that my being a woman was "an accident of fate" and that it meant life would expect much more of me than of most men. I am thirty-seven (and yes, I still have these conversations with my Dad.)

    Maybe it's okay that we treat our sons and daughters differently and that we share the depth and breadth of our own experience with them, even if it is more challenging for one than the other. Parents' relationships with their children are highly individual. When I look at my own relationships with my sons and daughter, I know I have something to work on with each of them. I'm always tweaking.

    It wouldn't surprise me if all parents did the same.

    - Julia at Midwest Moms

  4. You've posed an interesting question and one I've thought about many, many times. Having both a son and daughter, I KNOW that I've been harder on her than him. After awhile, I sort of let him go (when he got in college....) and do his own thing without a lot of commentary or advice. But her? She'll be 21 in less than 2 weeks and I still feel such need to impart wisdom, such a need in her to receive it (my projection, I'm sure)and a concern far deeper than I've ever felt for my son (no reflection on the depth of my love, just expressed differently).

    What is it about the girls we mother? Sometimes I wonder if it's not an insatiable need to protect them from (or at least give them head's up with armor and preparation)for the things we (as women) experienced on the path, things speakable and unspeakable.

    In the end, my strategy may be dead wrong, my parenting style ready to backfire (perhaps it already has!). I look back and see how many ways I could have parented "better" when she was 5 or 7 or 12 or even 15. I can't go back though.

    You've touched a nerve in me. I could go on forever (but wont').

    Provocative post, JCK!

  5. I can only speak to sons and know that they hold a place in our hearts that no other man ever could. Still I yearn for a girl. Perhaps because I want to see a little of myself in her.

  6. I have two daughters. I know what you mean. The things I find most difficult/annoying/unforgivable in my girls are the very things I hate most about myself. I am definitely trying to work on it.

  7. I worry more when about the children with my character traits regardless of their sex. I think this is because I know how much of a stumbling block those traits can be. Conversely I have a tendency to be charmed when I see traits that remind me of their Dad. They know it too and are always trying to make me laugh when I get mad at them.

  8. Wow, for me it is the opposite....I am much harder on my boy. Maybe when she gets older, I will be harder on my girl, but for now I am certainly much harder on him. Maybe I need to work on this. I know I need to work on this.

  9. i don't know so much that it's an extension of ourselves, but that we know what it is to be a girl, and we wish to equip our daughters to face the challenges we are aware lie before them

  10. I could have written Manic Mommys comment, I too only have sons and love them in a way I do not expect I will every love anyone else. I do yearn for a daughter, as she says to see a little of myself in her to try to keep her away from the mistaked I made and steer her towards the opportunities I missed - to do it again maybe, just better this time. Maybe that is why there can be such coonflict between mothers and daughters and fathers and sons for that matter.

    My blog is gone btw, it's password protected only becasue I have hesitated over the delete blog button. I realised some time ago that I was not a blogger, thank you for your email and again thank you for these thought provoking posts, you're sweeping cobwebs from my brain!

  11. PS: Apologies for the typos and Midwest Mommy, I envy you those conversations with your Dad. My Dad died in 2000 and I wish with all my heart and soul that he had lived long enough to meet my children and know me as a parent myself.

  12. I would suspect it is more driven by their personalities than anything else--I'm hardest on my kids when I see tendencies that I don't like in them that are similar to mine when I was young (procrastination, underachieiving, etc.).

    Good for you for wanting to be a mom rather than a friend. The world needs more of us.

  13. My daughter accuses my son of having me wrapped around his finger, and to a certain extent, I think she's right, just as she has her dad wrapped around her finger.

    My son is actually a lot like me, and I feared we would clash when he reached his teen years, but this hasn't happened. We probably get along better than ever. He and his dad clash a lot, though.

  14. Not having a daughter to compare to, I think I better zip. But our kids, irregardless of their gender, in many ways are the extension of us... sometimes, looking at them is like talking to myself... amazing!

  15. Margaret's comment could easily have been mine...but my girls are so different, too...My eldest takes the brunt, I'm afraid...btu she is glorious...I wish I could be more likr her sometimes! It is true that when I see her do something that is just like a fault of mine, it really triggers something. My son is only four and still adores me...I have a crush on that little man that will never die...I'm sure it will pay off for him in the future!


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