Don’t mess with Mama Bear…

Today on Facebook, I found and shared an article from the Huffington Post by Karen Mangiacotti titled The Penis Mom.  Of course, once I saw the title, I just had to check it out.  It’s beautifully written.  An account of one mother’s tricky navigation through the “gender requirements” of Pumpkin Chunkin’.  And I want to be this type of mom.   Y’all, this one has sent me off on a tangent of thoughts today…

Unless something is too high or incredibly heavy, I don’t shy away from doing much around the house.  My son and daughter have seen me and me alone hang and take down all of our Christmas lights, both indoors and on the roof of the house.  My kids have seen me work out or lift weights, boxes and people.  I have moved Christmas trees and have potted delicate flowers.  I have coached soccer practices and have taken my daughter to dance classes.   I don’t ever want to default to the fact that I am a woman as a reason something can’t be done.  Because I’m short?  Sure, that’s a great one. 

While I lean towards the feminist side, I won’t deny my daughter the right to Barbies, princesses, baby dolls, and everything pink.  However, I don’t want her to feels as if she has to rely on anyone, particularly a man, to get things done, or that there are things that girls can’t or shouldn’t do.  I can remember being a kid and watching my brothers wrestle with my dad.  It looked like so much fun, and craving that kind of attention from my father, I dove right in.  I was quickly reprimanded that wrestling with the boys wasn’t something I, as a girl, should do.  Now, maybe my memory of hold old I was is younger than I might have actually been, and my father was trying to avoid that weird line of wrestling with a pre-teen.  But I don’t think so.  And it really doesn’t matter how old I was.  What matters is what was said to me, and that I still remember the sting to this day. 

 Dont mess with Mama Bear...

I want to empower my daughter to feel like she can move herself in college if she has to.  That she doesn’t have to rely on a guy to change the tire on her car or shovel the snow on her sidewalk.  Or that she’ll need to ask her husband to volunteer to launch pumpkins for her kids class project.  I want her to feel like she CAN be strong when she wants or needs to.  Like my son, I want her to grow a pair when the circumstance demands it.  And I want her to see that Mommy can do things that take strength and courage.  Just like I want her to know that Daddy is capable of great cuddles and putting together a mean craft session. 


  1. Yes, I’m sure I would’ve had to read that article, too. Haha… I agree that I hope I can set a good example for my kids, like you, and show them that they can do anything they set their minds to.

  2. Glad to see I’m not the only one with a dirty mind!

  3. Being a modern dancer, I bet your kids HAVE seen you lift people! I admire your rooftop balancing act:) That might actually be where I call it “too high”. But maybe not!
    I do like to challenge myself;)

  4. Great post, Gina! You are so right about letting your kids see you do it all – especially the “heavy lifting.” Right now I feel like the struggle, however, is knowing how to do it all, trying to do it all, AND this is the kicker for me, knowing when to stop and/or ask for help. I think so many women do so much, that people (family members) don’t feel a need to pitch in.

    And as for the pink on my little girl, I’m all for it. As someone who loves all things ballet, how could I not. But I want her to be steely on the inside and out.

    Hope you’re doing well, and now to read that article!

  5. Hard to believe that people, especially educators who work with all kinds of families, would still show that kind of bias. Keep giving ‘em hell, G!

  6. This is such a terrific post. Short, who’s calling who ‘short’? :) I learned from my mom how to do it all — she was 4’11″, and my dad who worked long hours was 5’11″. She had to get it done because dad was so tired when he got home she didn’t have the heart to ask for his help.

    This is certainly a way for our children to learn by example since we do it all with love and for the love we have for others.

  7. Great post! I definitely don’t want my daughter or step-daughter to feel they have to depend on any man. Luckily my husband encourages independence lol.

    Congrats on being a vB featured member!

  8. Excellent post! I also would want my daughter to grow up with balls. Being a single mom has forced me to toughen up.

    Congrats on being a featured vB member this week :)

  9. Suzanne – yes, my kids HAVE seen me lift people…guys even! Let me clarify though that I wasn’t actually ON the rooftop, just teetering on the top of the ladder with one foot and straddling the porch with the other. Like spiderwoman!

    Keesha – Thank you! I totally agree with you about needing and asking for help. Just because I CAN stay up all night straightening up after everyone doesn’t mean that I SHOULD. And more power to our pink girls! Me? I’ll skip it. But it brings such joy to P that I can’t possibly deny her that color scheme.

    Su – I know, right! In this day and age? And let’s not even talk about kids who don’t have dads. Ugh. But I will go get em’.

    Winelady – ha! I’m only 5’2″, so I understand the needs of the vertically challenged. Your last comment hit home though. Shouldn’t our school event volunteer calls be sent to everyone who wants to help?

    Christina – Thank you! I do think our girls need to feel they can do anything they set their minds on. I should mention that I was the one who set out to do the christmas lights, because _I_ wanted to.

    Pepperrific – Definitely, balls. Have you seen that SNL skit where Amy Poehler is Hilary Clinton, and she says that congress needs to grow a pair, and if they can’t find theirs, they can borrow hers? Hilarious. I’m sure single motherhood forces you to figure out how to do it all. Kudos to you.

  10. My 3 year old son loves having his toenails painted. He also demands that we put little star or flower decals on them. It’s simple fun, for both of us and he has no idea that nail polish ‘is for girls’.

    Grats on the voiceBoks featured member :)

    Following you now too – love your posts.

  11. Hi Tracy! Thanks for stopping by. I love that you painted your little guy’s nails. I’ve painted my son’s nails once because he asked for it. Had it on a total of 5 minutes and then the magic was over.

  12. I read that article, too, and I agree.

    I want my daughter to know she can do whatever she likes, but that it’s okay to train the man to take out the garbage ;-)

    visiting from vb!

  13. Gina,
    I have 3 daughters and 3 sons. I was able to observe how boys can be boys over the years. So I wanted my daughters to be able to stand up for themselves and not get taken advantage of. While all 3 of my daughters are very feminine, I pity the person who tries to take advantage of them!! Thanks for this great post!
    Congrats on being a Featured Member of vB!!

  14. championm2000 – yes, this is true. Like I told Keesha, just because I CAN do it all, doesn’t mean that folks in this house shouldn’t pull their own weight. Thanks for stopping by!

    Erin – Well, with 3 brothers, I’m SURE your girls had to learn how to stick up for themselves and not get intimidated by boy stuff. Good for them! I’m sure their brothers wouldn’t stand for anything happening to them either.

  15. Love reading you! Hope you have a great 2012. My way around this issues…? Don´t judge and teach my kids that we can both (men & women) do things. Better not to live with stereotypes.
    See you around

  16. I totally agree. All girls should know that they are capable, that they can do just about anything if they have a mind to. In like manner, I don’t mind teaching my sons to sew on a button and bake a cake…as long as they do the dishes afterward!

  17. I agree. I hope that my daughter will grow up and these ridiculous gender biases will be a thing in the past. When my son was a baby I bought him a baby doll. Everyone told me he will be a sissy. When he was a bit older, I enrolled him in tumbling. Again more comments.

    Guess what. He is a man now and isn’t a sissy, whatever that means anyways. I will be raising my daughter with the confidence that she can do anything she wants … just like I was raised. My grandma was a smart woman.

  18. Hi Lola – Thanks for stopping by! I love what you said about not judging and showing your kids the way. So true.

    Kristen – yep, I’ve taught my son how to bake cookies and do laundry, ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

    Dree – I am glad to hear that you stuck to your guns and didn’t let anyone’s comments sway you. My grandma was a tough cookie as well! I can remember her winning at arm wrestle matches with her grown sons – that’s my kind of woman!

  19. Spent the afternoon checking off my Honey (I’ll) Do (It Myself) List. Coincidentally, there was an episode between my son (6) and daughter (4) at one point where I had to reprimand my son for telling his sister that girls can’t play basketball. Seeing that I don’t want my boy to grow up to be one of “those” guys, I decided at that moment to go ahead and sign both of my kids for ballet. Yes ma’am, nip those gender stereotypes in the bud sista!

  20. Rachel – that’s AWESOME that you enrolled your both of your kids in ballet class!! Here’s a big virtual High Five *smack* And how is that working out for you all?


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