My daughter is a tomboy. She was born into a world of pink bows and floral nightgowns. Sparkling dresses, ruffled cloth diapers, and pastel leggings filled her dressers. She’s my first daughter after raising two sons and as she grew in my belly, my mother and I would daydream about watching her in ballet classes. It brought back memories for my mom, as it was nearly impossible to separate me from my tutu and baby dolls. I couldn’t wait to braid my daughter’s hair or paint her nails. I was excited to dive into the world of princesses after years of Tonka trucks and karate moves.
As an infant, she carried her Minnie Mouse everywhere she crawled. She wore glittery shoes and slept in nightgowns. When we went into stores and walked down the toy aisle, she smiled at giant teddy bears and laughed at magical monsters. I would fill the cart with pink and purple clothes that had rainbows and hearts. She danced to Mother Goose songs. She was very much the little girl that I had hoped for.
Over time, she refused to wear dresses. When we went clothes shopping, she went straight towards the boy’s section. She wanted shorts with pockets. She wanted shirts with dinosaurs or bugs. For her daycare Christmas recital, she wore a grey blazer with red pants and a bow tie. She ditched her dolls for trucks and mud. She wanted race cars, rocks, and robots. The only time we would venture down the designated girl aisles was to find animals. My dreams of having a daughter play with Barbie dolls disappeared. I’d hoped for a girl that loved make-up and dresses as much as I did, but that wasn’t who she was.
I fully embrace my tomboy. Instead of playing house, we build forts. She catches bugs with her bare hands. She only wears clothes from the boy’s section and she is often mistaken for a boy in public, even with her long blonde hair. And I respect her for discovering who she is and owning what she likes. As much as I would love to have a little girl obsessed with glitter and unicorns, she’s a Tomboy. She may be young, but I believe it’s so incredibly important to hear and respect what she likes, and not force a certain lifestyle onto her.
In the era of acceptance and self-love, I have never looked at her to question who she was or who she will become. Why would I? I never questioned my sons based on their hobbies or clothes. That’s because the love I have for my children won’t change because of what they wear, toys they choose to play with, who they might love, or their gender. If her enjoyment of masculine things is an indicator of what she will become in the future then I know it will be filled with ingenuity, creativity, leadership, and so much more.
I can’t predict her future just because she is my child but I will raise her to go into the future knowing she is accepted and loved. I will dig in the dirt to find worms with her if it opens her mind to learning. I will buy all the shorts with big pockets from the boy’s section, so she can fill them with pebbles and rocks. The world that is offered in the girl’s section doesn’t serve her. She is a tomboy and that’s okay. I am proud of her for looking past the barrier of gender norms and discovering what does serve her.