I am about a month away from having baby #2: a girl. Raising children in itself intimidates me at times, but raising a girl has always worried me more than raising a boy. I'm grateful that our little guy came first because he has given me the time I've needed to prepare for his sister. Now that I've overcome my initial doubts (for the most part) of my ability, I'm excited to have a girl and feel more confident in raising her, knowing all the while there will be plenty of situations when I am clueless.
Besides all the basics of raising a good and well-rounded human being, I'm excited to teach my daughter how to honor being a girl. I am a believer of gender roles, but they were hard for me to understand for a while. I don't think I fully grasped them until I had been married for a year or more. I struggled with feeling "second" a lot, especially while single in college. I did my best to accomplish what I thought were really great things, but to others those things didn't seem to matter as much as who I was dating. It made me feel like I wasn't succeeding at anything because I wasn't married. I hated it and became a bit misandrist. I hated that I felt I was the one who was different and had to adjust my ways to be more appreciated. Being feminine was weak and embarrassing to me.
It took a lot of humility, self-reflection, and learning to understand how wrong I was. I had to reshape how I saw the world instead of how I thought the world saw me. No one was actually telling me that being feminine was demeaning but me. I was my own worst enemy, but the harsh mental battle made me delve deeper into my struggles and more fully resolve them. Now I respect and love the differences between men and women. They are equalizing, not polarizing. Realizing and accepting those differences strengthened myself and my marriage, and I know that as I continue to raise my family with these truths my children (both boy and girl) will be strengthened as well.
I'm going to raise my girl to honor being a girl. I am looking forward to making her dresses and watching her bounce down the hall in them and will be just as thrilled if she takes up blacksmithing like her papa. Being strong and compassionate are not a paradox. She needs to know that being a girl is a wonderful thing, and she shouldn't ever be ashamed of it. I want her to embrace her femininity, be proud of her gender by being true to herself, and not ever feel like she is second to a man but beautifully and perfectly different because that is the way God created us.