My Child Is “Weird” And That’s Okay

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My Child IsI am a girl’s girl. I’ve forever loved all things dainty and feminine. My teenage days were filled with slumber parties, shopping, hanging with my other girly-girl friends, gossiping about boys, and nail polish.

After I got married and became pregnant, I was thrilled to discover we were bringing a beautiful baby girl into the world. I dreamily envisioned ruffly dresses, tea parties, and bows.

However, ruffles and frills just weren’t in the cards for our little girl. She has been obsessed with Spiderman, Ninja Turtles, trucks, and balls for as long as I can remember.

My daughter can throw the fiercest fastball. She can wrestle with the boys, and she can give them a run for their money. She may choose to participate in an occasional dance class, but I guarantee that under her frilly pink tutu she has on a pair of boy’s Spiderman undies.

When you watch her playing with dolls, it might appear she is playing a typical game of Barbies, but I can guarantee you that she’s actually playing “cops and robbers”. Only in this case the cops and robbers happen to be well-endowed blonde women in heels.

A few months back we were invited to a little girl’s birthday party. No sooner had the last of the pretty pink gift-wrap fallen to the floor when my daughter dashed outside and climbed up on the roof of a playhouse with her friend’s brother, who had also withstood his fill of frilly antics. I remember, all too vividly, as we were leaving the party, we overheard another little girl telling her mom that my daughter was “weird“. The little girl stated it with a smile and I know she didn’t mean it hateful, but the words still stung.

On the way home, I told my daughter that she isn’t “weird” at all and it’s okay to be different. I explained to her that it’s perfectly acceptable not to conform to be like all the other little girls. I told her that she is one-of-a-kind and special.

I am reminded that she doesn’t fit the stereotypical girl mold every time we walk by the little girl’s toy aisle at our favorite department store. The aisles are filled to the brim with Barbies, babies, and princess dresses, which are just not her interests.  I’ve been given the disapproving stink eye by onlookers as she darts past these overtly pink aisles and makes a beeline straight for the boy toys.

In the years past when we were invited on play-dates with new friends I would nervously watch the other mom’s reaction as my daughter would make a mad dash to the backyard in order to compete in a karate match with the boys instead of participating in the quiet tea party with the other little girls.

I would frequently find myself apologizing, saying things like, “Oh, sorry. She plays a little rough,” or “I’m sorry she doesn’t really like to play princess games or have tea parties.”

However, I’m done apologizing for my daughter’s uniqueness. I’m done apologizing for who she is. She is a well-rounded and active little girl (some would call a tomboy) who wears dresses but also likes to climb trees and play ball, and it’s okay to be different. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. I accept that my daughter doesn’t fit the mold. My daughter is not like your daughter, and my daughter is not like your son. She is unique, as all children are unique individuals.

My daughter is definitely not the stereotypical little girl but, let’s face it, who really fits those one-size-fits-all stereotypes anyway.

She marches to the beat of her own drum. She is her own little person, and I love her for it. You see, I have always been a rule follower and a “go with the flow” gal. I have never been one to swim against the stream, and I admire the nonconformist quality in her.

So, if you see us shopping in the boys section for Spiderman “panties” or you receive our invitation to her Ninja Turtle birthday party, please don’t give me the stink eye. She’s herself. She’s an individual who doesn’t care what others think, and I hope she never changes.

All you mamas who have a child who doesn’t fit the social stereotype, let them be different and applaud them for their individuality. Don’t apologize on their behalf. Let’s celebrate the uniqueness in our children. It’s okay to be unique.

Who did I learn to celebrate uniqueness from, you ask?

That’s easy. I learned that from my daughter.

16 COMMENTS

  1. This is my daughter! The difference was that I wasn’t a girly girl, and was a little relieved that she wasn’t either!

  2. Thank you for sharing! I love this story, and it’s so true – everyone is unique, and there is certainly no need to apologize for that. It’s what makes the world more interesting. My husband and I recently launched a company that celebrates that girls AND boys can love superheroes and being creative, and celebrating the uniqueness of each child is what we’re all about. Thanks for such a poignant reminder on a Monday morning! -Annie

  3. Sounds like my daughter! She turned 6 this year and chose to have a TMNT themed birthday party. She also wore a cape about 50% of her school days. I was very grateful that her teacher allowed her to express herself in that way.

    • That is so awesome that she had the support of her teacher too!! Sounds like she has a great support system! I bet her Ninja Turtle party was a blast.

  4. You just described ME exactly! I was “that” girl, the one who climbed tree, loved to catch bugs, fish and play trucks with the neighborhood boys. Never felt like I had a place with the girls, sometimes still feel out of place. From day one we are told girls love pink, girls love tutus, makeup and dance, and none of those things appealed to me then or now. I grew up and now have two boys, my husband is amazed by the things we do! I just got back from a camp out with our Cub Scout pack where I was the only mom there alone with her son. (Husband had to work) Keep encouraging her interests, we can be feminine and strong, independent and beautiful….without fitting in the mold society has for girls. Thanks for sharing this. I am trying to raise these two boys to understand that we are all a little “weird, wonderful and unique” and that’s ok 🙂

    • I bet that camping trip was a blast, and your sons will always remember that! I think “weird, wonderful and unique” people are the most fun 😉

  5. Thank you for writing this Britnie! I’m the proud mom of two boys who embrace the stereotypical boy stuff, as well as princesses, nail polish, tea parties, and everything in between! I love that my boys aren’t afraid to embrace what they love! Although, my oldest started school last year and I noticed how quickly peer pressure can affect them. He wore nail polish to school one day and was instantly teased by some of the boys. It breaks my heart to see him hesitate to do some of the things he loves because of what others think. And I have definitely gotten my fair share of stink eye from parents! Thank you so much for the article. It’s exactly what I needed today. 🙂

    • I am so glad you enjoyed my article! It’s so hard watching kids be teased by other kids as a parent, but I think it’s awesome that you let your boys be themselves!!

  6. I love this article! Your daughter sounds awesome! As a 16 year old “girly girl”, I can’t exactly relate to her, but I definitely hope to be the kind of parent that celebrates my child’s uniqueness. And I applaud my own parents for allowing my 7 year old brother to be himself, which means being super affectionate, having girls as his best friends, and wearing nail polish- all while still being a total “boy”! More people need to learn to embrace individuality!

    • Thanks so much, Maddy! Sounds like your little brother has an awesome support system of people who love him!

  7. Britnie,

    This is so true! I love it and I love that you celebrate her and support the beat that she wants to play her drum too! It makes me happy to know that you are letting her embrace her individuality and it’s amazing what that does for a young girl at such a young age when they become a woman! Great job and I love it! I was a mix of girly and tomboy and sometimes I didn’t want to play with my barbies, I wanted to play in the garage with all the woodworking tools with my grandpa and go fishing and catch lightening bugs and get muddy!

  8. This is great! I can sort of relate. I was not girly and I was a bit nervous when we found out we were expecting a girl. At 2yo she is quite a combination of girly and tomboy and I love it! She rocks her pink ruffled tutu and as much pink & purple jewelry as she can fit on her little body but pairs it with a Thomas train t-shirt handed down from her brother and a pair of boys dinosaur underpants. All of her pull-ups are the boy varieties – Cars, Jake & the Pirates, Thomas – by her choosing, but she only wants to wear dresses and tutus; she loves tea parties, especially when they include her dinosaurs. Elsa & T. Rex (“roar Rex” as she calls it) are 2 favorite “characters”. Her absolutely favorite thing to wear is a hand-made dress that is made from a boy’s PJ top with a Dino on it and dinosaur printed fabric making up the skirt portion, not a speck of pink to be found. Sometimes we get weird looks or comments from people surprised she chooses dinosaurs over princesses, but I wouldn’t have her any other way!

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