So, slightly earlier than planned…Erica Christine Day barrelled into our lives on the 26th January. The last 6 weeks have been intense, and I’ve not made it to the blog. I have lots of events and thoughts to update you on, but before we get back to our regularly scheduled programming (of me being far too introspective and wondering how I ever raised an 8 year old!) Here are some thoughts about this important day…
So its International Woman’s Day.
And I had a girl….
I have always been terrified of having a daughter. I’m not a traditionally “girly girl”. I don’t understand how to do my own make up or hairstyles, let alone how to teach someone else about them. I can’t do french plaits. As someone who spent school on the end of some pretty horrendous female behaviour I was wary of re-entering the world of bitchiness, peer pressure and tearful friendship breakdowns.
I’d only ever changed boys’ nappies. And I can only stand pink in very VERY small doses.
Oh, and not to mention that the responsibility of raising a girl to be a strong, confident woman feels massive; full of trip hazards, confusion and balancing protection against independence.
Today’s global society has no easy answers. There is no black or white, just endless shades of grey for us to grapple with. People we admire and love can be on different sides of nuanced arguments and we have yet to work out how disagree kindly. Learning how to be a woman in all this is even more confusing than it was when I was growing up… it’s not even learning how to be a woman any more; it’s learning how to be you whilst navigating what society tells you a woman should be (which changes depending on which Twitter thread you’re reading).
I am sat on my sofa with my tiny daughter asleep (sporadically) on my lap. She is currently wearing a pink babygrow with cats all over it – mainly because that is what was on top of the pile at 3am when she needed changing.
More pink has entered my house these last 6 weeks than ever before, from such lovely, generous people. Thankfully it has also been mixed with greens and yellows and blues (and cardigans with dinosaurs on!) . I am grateful that she will benefit from the campaigns of the last decade to “let toys be toys” and to encourage young women that “this girl can”, and of course those further back that allow us to vote, work, own property, and contribute to society alongside our fellow man.
International Woman’s Day is extra poignant to me this year. The responsibility is a physical, night waking, nappy filling, smiling presence.
I have no idea what type of person she will grow up to be. But I hope that, alongside her brother, we will have taught her to value each person equally, to be kind, and that her worth is not dependent on society’s view of her appearance, but is inherent.
And hey: there are YouTube videos on how to do French plaits, right?!