I am right there with you. You worry you’re not doing it right. There’s no manual, no handbook, no instruction sheet. You want her to grow up happy and healthy, confident and positive. Nothing spectacular necessarily, just so long as she enjoys her life. Should be simple, right?
Then why does it seem so complicated?
You believe in equality. You even consider yourself somewhat of a feminist.
She loves the dress because it is so grown up after pre-school clothes.
She looks SO DAMN CUTE in the dress.
You’re thinking about the school photos already.
You worry about which side of the fence you sit on.
How can you have two opposing thoughts in your head and believe them both?
You want her to be covered for modesty.
But you don’t want to pre-empt body issues by pointing out that she should be covered.
What are you supposed to do?
You know people judge appearances.
You do it yourself.
You look at the kids with the sloppy uniforms and messy hair – and catch yourself judging.
You would never say anything.
But still it pops into your head.
What is the correct answer?
Maybe there isn’t one.
I ask myself – is she really limited in a dress?
HELL NO is my resounding answer! She’s not physically limited in a dress! In fact a dress may just offer more physical comfort – no chafing, no tight elastic waist, cool and loose. She feels grown up, is comfortable, and looks neat and presentable.
What WOULD limit her, not just in a dress, but throughout life, would be the ingrained thought that her body should not be seen. That the thing she learnt at school that stuck with her for life is that is is dangerous even, for someone to see her legs.
Our daughters are not born afraid of their bodies, it is a learned behavior, and my daughters will not be learning that from me!
So what am I doing about it?
I’m letting her wear the dress. I’m even happy about it! I’m getting her some great fitting, sturdy underwear, that matches her dress.
Damn it I’m even getting her the bows!
She is allowed to dress as a girl, and enjoy it, and I DON’T HAVE TO FEEL GUILTY FOR IT!
After all, it’s not what’s on the outside that matters.
It’s how she feels on the inside.
And if a dress makes her feel grown up and invincible, then that is great.
I want her to wear things that make her feel good. I want her to look polished and put together.
I want her to feel like she is capable of anything.
I want her to not care if she is wearing a dress and go on the monkey bars anyway.
I want her to cartwheel freely. Even if she is wearing a dress.
Most of all, I want her to not even THINK about her legs. Why should she? We all have them!