I am a mother of four. Two boys and two girls. I always wanted a boy first because I never had an older brother, and dreamt of having one protecting me. As I began my own family, I hoped for the same for my future daughter. Well, I got my wish as I was graced with a boy as my first born, followed by a girl and then another girl. As the years have rolled on, the protective big brother role has taken time to cultivate in our family despite the hope and sometimes expectation that we carried. Surely, my son is protective of his sisters and I appreciate it and cherish seeing that familial bond, however what has been most confronting is the double standard that comes along with the dynamic. This never occurred to me as I dreamt away about my future little family, but now that they are teenagers approaching adulthood in 2017, I see the conflict as a result of our evolution.
As a mother, my primal instinct is quite traditional. I fear for both of my young beautiful daughters as they move more independently into this big unpredictable world of ours. I have moments where I want to shelter them in ways that I don’t her older brother. My husband is guilty of this with out apology. The one who stands tall in opposition right now is is my oldest daughter. She wants equality, she wants respect and craves equanimity in our home. While I fear for her in different ways than I do her brother, I understand and respect her argument, and I too see myself in her. I chose to step out alone into the world, against my parents fears, to carve out my own life in a show of independence. My daughter is doing the same, as she should. She proclaims we are not fair, and she is right. We are not because we are scared, and because we carry a double standard. My wise self knows that the fear I carry only inhibits my young daughter in making smart choices. I want to empower her in her femininity and remember how wise she is in making sound choices. Its a big, wild world out there and, while the disparity is alive and well between my children, equality is a virtue that I value far more than fear.
The more I own my fear with my daughter vs limit her, the more I empower her to make good choices. I guess it comes down to trust and then of course love. I will give those virtues my power over the rest. Well, I sure will try !