Being a girl mom is a lot of fun, even when you are not playing dress up! Actually, we don’t ever play dress up. One, I have a 2-year-old who is not interested in skirts and dresses. Two, I’m in no place to be spending tons of money on clothes that only fit for a few months. Three, there aren’t many places to dress up for lately (bummer but also just a funky season). I will admit that I do look forward to the days where we can shop and get dolled up together when she’s a bit older. However, the exciting truth is that we get feminine and girly in so many other ways! And, I’m going to share them with you…
The #femininenotfeminist community has given me some confidence to admit the internal beliefs I’ve had for a few years. I once told a Target cashier that I don’t believe in feminism and that has also contributed to this liberating admission.
More deeply, giving birth to a girl healed my perspective about femininity and womanhood.
Becoming a mother to a young girl has really taught me to appreciate the nature of the feminine being God created us women to be. Becoming a mother to a daughter revealed the wounds blown by my own inner bully who told me in order to be successful I had to be rigid, hard, and neglectful of the soft and creative girl I was.
A Brief Commentary on the Distinction Between Feminism & Femininity
And as I’m relearning—or even learning for the first time—the art of femininity, I’m having a ton of fun walking this journey with a sweet daughter of my own. The mother-daughter relationship is very special with its complexities and simplicities. It is like a secret language of sensitivity, creativity, and nurture that keeps a woman’s role so important.
It becomes the responsibility of the mother to teach her daughter the nuances of being a feminine woman. From there, the daughter is able to decide for herself to pick what feels right. My toddler girl doesn’t particularly love dresses but she enjoys lotion massages after bath. Her sensitivity responds to different things at different times. Nonetheless, it is my duty to show her, by modeling and opportunity offering, that it is important for women to care for themselves as well as to care about the good, beautiful, honorable.
Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.Philippians 4:8
These are a list of the fruit and qualities that I have encountered through motherhood, especially with my daughter. These are things that bond women in femininity. For the record, I think these qualities are very useful among men, as well. It’s just that these traits flow naturally for women. And by naturally, I mean with ease when tension and pain are not present.
Boys and girls display creativity in different yet clear ways. While boys typically create through buildings and engineer processes, girls tend to create through aesthetics and expression. Feminine energy lends itself to finding and using the beauty of nature and art. I’ve used art expression since I can remember and since becoming a mother, there seems to be little time for it. However, I’ve found that a quiet deep bonding happens when my daughter and I colorfully share the pages of a sketchbook. The same for when we discover new flowers, twigs, and acorns.
Self-Care & Physical Awareness
No, the goal isn’t to live around self, don’t let the word freak you out. We need to take care of ourselves and unfortunately, with the hustle-and-bustle of girl boss and work hard mentalities, we can often be running on empty. Embracing the slowness that comes with femininity teaches that there are many benefits to regularly caring for your body’s needs through good hygienic & relaxation habits. This is upkeep, people! Upkeep that we deem too vain or irrelevant and unnecessary until depletion sets in.
The key is to understanding what your body is communicating to you before you are depleted. In the moment your body needs water or food, yet, you power house through your work and skip lunch. Only to go home with a migraine and irritable mood. My friend, there’s nothing wrong with feeding and nurturing your flesh! Don’t bully your body with extreme productivity messages and self-degrading thoughts, that’s exactly what causes dis-ease. Become aware. You have a sensual nature to sense and feel what your body needs for health. Respecting that is nothing like using your sensuality to seduce. And plus, would you want your daughter to neglect her growling stomach for the sake of learning 5 new math concepts? Or would you want her to nourish her brain and body when it calls for it?
The more I view how adult men and women respond to crying children, the more I understand why early and primary education teachers are mostly women. Well, tending to a very young child with a confusion about her emotions as big as her emotion has taught me about the stillness required to deal with hurting people in a loving way. Women, designed to be nurturers, have an apt for this and the more you experience trial (or just slight annoyance), the more patience builds. This patience doesn’t just exist in one realm, it seeps over into other areas of life, and reminds me that I don’t have to rush everything. Observing gives you more insight and an opportunity to relax your own frustrations.
Empathy & Emotional Awareness
In the same vein, I’ve learned through slow observation that being a person is just hard. We think kids have it easy because they don’t work but the truth is, being a human is tough enough. You probably moaned and groaned about something today, something that could easily be dismissed. Feminine response includes consideration for the other party. Often times, I don’t try to distract my crying child because I empathize with her distress. I empathize with not knowing how to process emotions so I give her the space to cope, within reason, of course. This is empathy with her future as a young woman.
Many of these situations also bring space to reflect on my own emotions. A feminine woman may be stereotyped as a hyper-emotional lady who cries, cries, screams, cries. That’s a lack of connection with mature emotional awareness. We don’t want to encourage that with our daughters but still allow them to express themselves. While my girl is young, I find it important for her to learn how to acknowledge her emotions and appropriately handle them. This is teaching me how to be aware of my own emotions and express them in healthy ways!
Can you think of a few times you did something that just wasn’t graceful? Maybe it was how you treated someone, maybe it was the way you fell down the stairs. Grace is forgiveness. It’s a virtue, it’s ease, it’s approval, it’s mercy, it’s charm. However, the value of gracefully meeting and treating others is quite impactful. I have tattoos all over my arm and I think that just by God’s grace being upon me, people see beyond that. Grace is the warmness of the heart spilling outward, either in action or appearance. I haven’t been a pro at modeling this for my daughter, sometimes I get snappy, but it’s important for young girls to learn to be graceful. It’s not fragile weakness, it’s intentionally choosing to be merciful.
Wisdom is such a mystery. It is truth hidden in plain sight, it is unsolicited advice we did not know we needed, it is the quietly agreed upon way of the righteous. Did you know that in the Bible, wisdom is referred to in the feminine? Womanhood and motherhood is a profound experience of submission and sacrifice that reveals much about the weight of wisdom. And living wisely so that it can quietly be passed on to those around us, beginning with our daughters and sons.
This theme has been described throughout this entire post. I’ve fought a long fight trying to toughen myself up and avoid any moment where my sensitivity would reveal itself. Yet, this is the very sweetness that I want to preserve in my daughter. She cries when the characters in the movie are hurt or when we drop our dog off at the groomer. She’s sensitive to the fear and pain that others feel. I never want her to be desensitized to the feelings of others, situations that make her empathetic or privy to show some grace. So I become sensitive to feel her feeling. I don’t make it a point to disrupt or degrade her sensitivity. Instead, I accept it and stand by her. This nature inside of us is no mistake and if we allow it to grow, it will be strong. After all, God is love and we are to be rooted in Him.
Root your daughters in the way of the graceful, loving Lord. Revering Him is the beginning of wisdom.