Breaking News: Parenting is Not Simple, Apparently

To my dear daughters*,

I know I’ve touched on these topics before, but this time I wanted to put my thoughts together in a clear and organized way that would really get my point across. But then I gave up and wrote a blog post.

The first thing I want to talk about is the color pink. See, no matter how hard it is to find anything else, and not that there’s anything wrong with pink, you don’t need a pink backpack and a pink water bottle and pink sneakers and pink scissors and a pink glue stick. I’m not saying you can’t like pink. I’m not even saying it can’t be your favorite color.** But don’t pick it just because everyone tells you all day that pink is for girls. Green is just as good a color, as are blue, brown, orange, purple and red. (Not yellow, though–yellow is the worst. That’s why I always eat yellow M&Ms first, to get them out of the way. Also the brown ones, because brown chocolate? What’s the chiddush?) Truth be told, pink is actually kind of an awesome color. But it’s not the only color out there. Despite what all the stores want you to think.

And another thing. Are you really sure you want ballet lessons? What was wrong with gymnastics? Or maybe you’d like to do martial arts instead? Not to say that ballet isn’t a perfectly legitimate–and impressive–form of exercise. But there’s such a variety of choices out there! Why ballet? Why not ballet? After all, I can’t do what they can do. But what about the nearly-inescapable body image issues that so often come along with it; I don’t want you exposed to that. But then, how can I discount an entire sport just because some people (most people) teach it in an unhealthy way?

And, next on the list: I have to be honest; I played with Barbies when I was younger and it didn’t make me feel bad about my body. Actually, playing with Barbies and other dolls helped nurture my imagination. But, studies! But then, how can I say no to a toy I coveted so much as a kid?

(Speaking of toys I coveted as a kid, Power Wheels, am I right? They should really make Power Wheels for adults.)

(Oh, yeah. Cars.)

And can we talk about Cinderella? Don’t ask me why Cinderella; apparently that’s the generic Hebrew translation for “Disney Princess.” “Disney Princesses,” plural, would be “Cinderellot.”

Is Cinderella really a role model? If it has to be a Princess (yes, capital P), wouldn’t we prefer someone more proactive, like Belle or Pocahontas or Jasmine? Although that sounds like I’m saying that only Type A go-getters are worthy members of society. Cinderella is kind (witness her friendships with the household animals), resourceful and industrious. She wants to go to the ball, so she designs and creates her own dress from scratch. That’s pretty amazing. It’s certainly not her fault that her stepsisters ripped it up. What could she have done, at that point?

High heels, though. I’m going to have to unequivocally say no to those. I know, they look fabulous. I don’t care. It’s not worth it. It’s just not. Be kind to your feet.

I want you to learn how to throw a ball properly, but it’s okay if you don’t enjoy ball games.

And I want you to learn how to throw a punch properly, not that I’m advocating violence.

And I don’t want you to ever think, even for a second, that math and science are “boy” subjects, but if they aren’t your strengths that’s okay, and if you love to dance then I want you to dance, and if you love to draw or paint or read or write or create music (assuming you inherited some of that Levitical talent from your father, since we all know I’ve got nothing in that department) or hike or dig or run or fly or sing or… well, I want you to do that. And I want you to be compassionate and loving and resilient and thoughtful.

But no pressure, okay?

* To my wonderful son, Your day will come, God willing.
** I don’t believe in favorite colors, actually; I think that’s a scam. What does the question, “What’s your favorite color” even mean? ‘If all of the colors in the world were eliminated but one, and you got to choose, which color would you choose?’ I reject the question! In fact, I don’t know why anyone who’s not high ever agrees to answer that.

About the Author
Tzippy grew up in the vicinity of Teaneck, "Ir HaKodesh." She made aliyah because there just wasn't enough kosher pizza.
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