“These aisles are for girls,” my eldest daughter said in an upbeat voice, pointing toward a section of aisles filled with dolls, princesses, and polly pockets. “And those are for boys,” her tone went down as she brushed off the monster trucks, action figurines, and transformers.
“That’s not true. Those aisles are for everyone: girls AND boys,” I continued, “you may surprise yourself and like something in those aisles.”
I couldn’t figure out where I went wrong.
My oldest always gravitated toward princesses.
My middle and baby gravitated toward paw patrol and cars.
But we never categorized our toys. I made sure of it.
We have a household that doesn’t abide by traditional gender roles.
Daddy cleans more than mommy.
Daddy works during the day, but mommy works at night to be with the kids during the day.
Daddy dresses better than mommy and is way more into design.
Daddy’s a better cook.
The list goes on and on.
Times before, when we went to Target, and my girls wanted to skip to those particular aisles, I was admittedly okay with it.
Because it takes a really long time to go through each aisle, and I had things to do: a cart filled with groceries, the baby throwing a fit, or somewhere to be. I wanted to get them a little something and head out to the next thing on my to-do list.
But that day, I made my three girls walk down every toy aisle. And I’ll be doing it from here on out.
Because that comment made me realize I have to slow down.
Because I don’t want my daughters to put themselves in boxes.
I don’t want my daughters ever to limit themselves to one category because it’s what they’re supposed to do. They’ll miss out on something that could be their passion and change their lives.
And within those “boy” aisles, my almost-two-year-old found a plastic dinosaur.
Think of all the things our children will find when they’re not held back.
Children can play with all toys. It’s just signs and people who tell them they can’t.
And I refuse to be one of those people.
This post originally appeared on the author’s facebook page.