I've never felt inferior (or superior) based on my gender thanks to an amazing team of role models including my fantastic parents, extended family, teachers, coaches and friends. While there are obvious times when a male is better suited to the job, such as those related directly to physical strength, I was brought up with the mentality that boys and girls could do any and all of the same things.
You know, like math and sports.
As a kid I preferred dolls and dress up, but I was known to get down in the dirt behind Papa's car and make roads with Dinkies. I caught a couple of frogs, but to this day I'm totally grossed out by snakes and bugs. I tried all kinds of sports, from hockey to gymnastics and horseback riding to basketball. I excelled in some places and sucked at others not because I'm a girl, but because it just wasn't my strength.
I'm the girl who wears high heels almost every day, never leaves the house without mascara and I have 6 lipsticks in my purse. I'm also the girl who likes to drink a beer and watch the hockey game. I'm the mother to a three-year-old boy who eats, sleeps and breathes trucks and cars and machinery but announces his favourite colour is pink. His favourite stuffed animal? A lavender coloured puppy named Violet. He likes to watch My Little Pony and Bob the Builder.
He also told me I couldn't play with his trucks today because I'm just a girl.
F started daycare last week and so far he's brought home a miserable cold and ear infection I really could have done without, and talks my (painfully aching) ears off every night about Rachel and Owen and the playground. Apparently he's also bringing that gem home.
F's daycare provider takes care of elementary-schooled aged children before and after school in addition to her all-day toddlers and babies. Maybe that's where he learned it. Maybe he heard it on TV. Maybe it's some inate thing that all small children have in their heads. I'm sure I told little boys on the playground that they couldn't do something just because they were boys, but I can barely remember what colour underwear I put on this morning so it's safe to say I don't remember my 7-year-old antics.
I sat and gently explained to F that boys and girls can do the same things if they want to. Boys can play with dolls and like the colour pink just as much as girls can play with trucks and like the colour blue. It's a super easy conversation to have with a three-year-old, but I happen to think it's a very important one.
It's never too early to teach our kids that it must always be what's between your ears that counts, not what's between your legs.