“That Toy Is Only for Boys” :: A Reflection on International Women’s Day

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International Women’s Day‎ - Boston Moms

My dearest daughter,

This year, at 3 years old, is the first time you looked me straight in the eye and said:

“That toy is only for boys.”

I could write you a million words about how deep that pierced my soul, and how sad I was for you at that moment. But I won’t, because this isn’t about me. It’s about you.

There are so many things I want the world to be for you. I want it to be kind and forgiving, full of opportunity, and supportive. I want you to be able to choose to pursue a life you’re passionate about without the unnecessary ridicule or obstacles being a woman may cause. I want you to be able to navigate a professional world without ever feeling like you’re the only woman in the room.

Mostly, I want the world to be a place where you never feel the need to apologize for your needs, wants, or ambitions. 

Yet here we are, and truthfully I’m not sure this world will ever be that place in your lifetime. So, instead, I guess us moms (and dads, and aunts and uncles, and grandparents) are going to have to prepare our daughters to be even bolder, braver, and more brilliant than the women who came before you. 

Here is what I hope you allow yourself to be. 

Passionate.

I hope you’re able to find whatever it is you’re passionate about and go for it with your whole heart. 

Courageous.

I hope you allow yourself to take risks, put yourself out there, and have adventures — even when you’re afraid.

Different.

I hope you have the unwavering courage to be you — because that’s the person our world needs.  

Resolute.

I hope you never view yourself as an inconvenience and instead remain firm and determined in your belief that you and your needs matter. 

Compassionate.

I hope you can always see the world with the same merciful and benevolent eyes you have as a 3-year-old. I hope you do not harden yourself or become indifferent because of tough experiences.

Exuberant.

I hope you choose to dance, jump, and sing unapologetically when you feel happy, and I hope joy is not an afterthought. I especially hope it’s never replaced with people-pleasing.

Supportive.

I hope you are always able to lift other women up with you instead of tearing them down, and I hope you remember that the view from the top is exceptionally lonely if you don’t have anyone to share it with. “Look what we did — together” is always better than “Look what I did — alone.”

More than anything, I hope that someday when you’re older and you encounter a 3-year-old in the toy aisles of Target, you remember to tell her that all toys are “girls toys.” 

P.S. Did you find the hidden links that feature some of my favorite powerful women? 

 

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