I can close my eyes and remember when my baby’s bottom fit in the palm of my hand. I have such dreams for my children and would sacrifice almost anything to see them succeed. But my girls are dreaming different dreams than I did.
My kids are growing up – fast. Just yesterday my oldest was asking for dollhouses for her birthday, and now she wants TV seasons, books by Nicholas Sparks, and skinny jeans. How did that happen? She’s developing her own sense of humor, her own style, her own wants and desires and dreams.
She was telling me about her future plans the other day. She is going to go to school to be a veterinarian to pay the bills, she’s going to own a farm and train horses, and she’s going to write novels on the side. When she’ll have time for all that is an interesting question.
What struck me was the difference between her plans and my plans at that age. Though we have many things in common, she’s her own person. I don’t expect her to want to follow after me, or make the same choices I have. But if I’d had those exact aspirations at her age, they would have been prefaced with: marry a guy who had all those things.
My mother insisted I needed a backup plan. Not because I couldn’t trust a man or should expect my marriage to fail – but anything can happen. So, I went to university and got degrees in English and Education, but my plans were to get married and have a family. I thought that would be enough. In university, before I started dating my husband, I met a few guys who shared my ‘barefoot and pregnant’ philosophy.
Turns out I wasn’t as big a fan of the depend-entirely-on-a-man idea as I’d thought. Turns out I have an independent streak a mile wide, and a lot of opinions and aspirations that got in the way of achieving success on that particular path.
Many of the girls I grew up with dreamed of getting married, having families and rich husbands. One of my school friends thought she’d know she’d made it when she married a man rich enough to have a hot tub in the back of his limo. These aren’t the dreams I’m hearing from my girls or their friends. Getting married is part of the grand scheme, but not an end in and of itself.
Perhaps this fiercely independent mother is simply raising independent daughters – but maybe girls feel they have more opportunities than my friends and I did. Maybe there are more opportunities for girls than when I was growing up. As a tween, I looked to Princess Diana, and Dirty Dancing’s Jennifer Grey. My girls talk about Roberta Bondar (first Canadian female astronaut), Beth Underhill (Canadian Olympic equestrian), Shania Twain, Lara Croft, and Eowyn (from Lord of the Rings).
Maybe my girls will be part of a bigger movement to bring even more change to the world’s attitude towards women, maybe their generation will continue to make lasting change everywhere that sees oppression to women end. A mom can dream
Do you think girls have more opportunities now than even 20 years ago? Is that a good thing?
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