The Princess Paradigm

Welcome to the June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:

Parenting in Theory vs. in Reality

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing how their ideas and methods of parenting have changed.


In the days following the ultrasound, I just kept rolling around the reality that I was having a girl in my mind. There were so many things going on in our lives that the inane worries about raising a girl were somewhat comforting. I spent the next few months theorizing about how I would raise a little girl. My plan was for a pink-free life. I wanted to expose to real life and not the fluffy, vapid life of a Disney princess.

As I type, I’m taking a break from sewing the matching Batman tank tops I’m making Liam and Sylvi to wear to Liam’s 4th birthday party. Both children are very into superheroes and love to run around “rescuing”.  So they will have grey tank tops, with matching Bat symbols stenciled on them. Cute, right? Ah but you see, while Liam’s will be the typical black and grey, however Sylvi’s will have pink and glitter.

In spite of having a very masculine older brother and limited choices as far as the books she had handed to her and movies to watch in the house, she is genuinely feminine and girly and SPARKLY.  She gasped when her Easter shoes arrived in the mail and declared them pretty.  She loves to wear her tutus and this morning asked me to put my lipstick on her “wips”.

It makes me laugh to see that although I did everything in my power to make sure she wasn’t over exposed to the glitz in life, she has taken what she was shown and absorbed every moment of it. It makes me so happy to watch her be the child I didn’t plan her to be… she is who she is without the influence of anyone else.  I love that in theory, I was going to raise a little girl who was independent of the curve; a little girl with her own mind.  In reality, that’s exactly what has happened, even though it’s not the way I thought it would.

And although I balked in the beginning and tried to steer her away from the traditional “girly” choices, I’m soaking in every moment of her life experiences. She makes me laugh and cry and think. She makes me re-evaluate who I am as a person; she is teaching me who I am instead of the other way around. It would seem that my theories on parenting have turned into realities on how to raise myself.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (posts will be live and updated no later than afternoon on June 11):

  • My little gastronomes — “I’ll never cook a separate meal for my children,” Maud at Awfully Chipper vowed before she had children; but things didn’t turn out quite as she’d imagined.
  • Know Better, Do Better. Except When I Don’t. — Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy was able to settle in her parenting choices before her children arrived, but that doesn’t mean she always lives up to them.
  • Judgments Made Before Motherhood — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks back on her views of parents she came in contact with before she became a mother and how much her worldview of parenting has changed!
  • A Bend in The Road — Lyndsay at ourfeministplayschool writes about how her visions of homeschooling her son during the elementary school years have changed drastically in the last year – because HE wants to go to school.
  • I Wish Children Came with Instruction Manuals — While Dionna at Code Name: Mama loves reading about parenting, she’s not found any one book that counts as an instruction manual. Every child is different, every family is different, every dynamic is different. No single parenting method or style is the be-all end-all. Still, wouldn’t it be nice if parenting were like troubleshooting?
  • The Mistakes I’ve Made — Kate at Here Now Brown Cow laments the choices she made with her first child and explains how ditching her preconceived ideas on parenting is helping her to grow a happy family.
  • I Only Expected to Love… — Kellie at Our Mindful Life went into parenting expecting to not have all the answers. It turns out, she was right!
  • They See Me Wearin’, They Hatin’ — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different contemplates putting her babywearing aspirations into practice, and discussed how she deals with “babywearing haters.”
  • Parenting Human BeingsErika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting.
  • Doing it right: what I knew before I had kids… — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud, guest posting at Natural Parents Network realises that the number one game in town, when it comes to parenting, is judgement about doing it right. But “doing it right” looks different to everybody.
  • A synopsis of our reality as first time parents — Amanda at My Life in a Nut Shell summarizes the struggles she went through to get pregnant, and how her daughter’s high needs paved the way for her and her husband to become natural parents.
  • Theory to Reality? — Jorje compares her original pre-kid ideas (some from her own childhood) to her personal parenting realities on
  • The Princess Paradigm — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen had planned to raise her daughter in a sparkly, princess-free home, but in turn has found herself embracing the glitz.
  • Healthy Eating With Kids: Ideal vs. Real — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs had definite ideas about what healthy eating was going to look like in her family before she had kids. Little did she realize that her kids would have something to say about it.
  • How to deal with unwanted parenting advice — Tat at Mum in Search thought that dealing with unwanted parenting advice would be a breeze. It turned out to be one of her biggest challenges as a new mum.
  • How I trained my 43 month old in 89 days! — Becky at Old New Legacy used to mock sticker charts, until they became her best friend in the process of potty training.
  • My Double Life: Scheduling with Twins — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot was banging her head against the wall trying to keep up with the plan she made during pregnancy, until she let her babies lead the way.
  • Parenting in the land of compromise — As a holistic health geek trying to take care of her health issues naturally, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama regrets that her needs sometimes get in the way of her children’s needs.
  • Practice Makes Good, Not Perfect — Rachael at The Variegated Life comes to see that through practice, she just might already be the parent she wants to be.
  • 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering: How to Free Yourself and Your Family — Sheila Pai at A Living Family shares in theory (blog) and reality (video) how she frees herself from 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering that can damage the connection, peace and love she seeks to nurture in her relationships with family and others.
  • 5 Things I Thought MY Children Would Never Do — Luschka at Diary of a First Child largely laughs at herself and her previous misconceptions about things her children would or wouldn’t do, or be allowed to do.
  • Policing politeness — Lauren at Hobo Mama rethinks a conviction she had about modeling vs. teaching her children about courtesy.
  • The Before and The After: Learning about Parenting — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work reminisces about the perspective she held as a young adult working with children (and parents) . . . before she became a mother.
  • Parenting Beliefs: Becoming the Parent You Want to Be — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how we can make a mindful decision to become the parent we want to be. Decisions we make affect who we will become.
  • The Great Breastfeeding Debacle — In Lisa at The Squishable Baby’s mind, breastfeeding would be easy.
  • What my daughter taught me about being a parentMrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?”
  • Sensory Box Fail! — Megan at The Boho Mama discovers that thoughtful sensory activities can sometimes lead to pasta in your bra and beans up your nose.
  • Montessori and My Children – Theory vs. Reality — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her experiences with Montessori parenting and describes the results she sees in her now-adult children.
  • I Like The Mother I Am Now More Than The Mother I Intended To Be — Darcel at The Mahogany Way thought she would just give her kids the look and they would immediately fall in line.


23 Replies to “The Princess Paradigm”

  1. What a beautiful post. I love how you’ve allowed your daughter the space to embrace a pink, glittery lifestyle. My daughter was all high heels and pink dresses too, but now loves being ‘a tomboy’. I guess they have to try everything on for size before reaching a conclusion and how wonderful you have given that freedom to your daughter. She sounds adorable!

  2. I think we are of similar minds on how to raise girls. The problem I’m running into thus far is how girly all of the girl things are! But I agree – I’ll embrace whoever she turns out to be, regardless of my grand plans 🙂

  3. Isn’t gender roles an amazing thing? Really brings nature vs nurture into light. Love how you allowed your daughter the freedom to choose her own path!

  4. I love your daughter’s name! I just named my baby Sylvia, so I’m glad there are some forms of that name out there! I have two daughters, so I’m also really into reading about girls’ pop culture, princess phenomenon, etc. It’s very interesting. My oldest is almost 4 and she isn’t into princesses (yet.) There is some cause to be concerned about all the glitz, but having a balance is more important. Sylvi is probably already getting that balance from her brother and having a strong mother figure. Girls are so cute and it is easy to get caught up in all the sparkly pink! 🙂

  5. Girls…girls…girls…

    Honestly, I didn’t think too much about it. I figured she would be who she would be regardless.

    Apparently as a child, loved pink and princesses and such. But as I grew up I changed. By the time I was 8, I was wayyy over pink – and on to something else. No matter what you do, kids will turn out how they are supposed to be. I just found it’s better to let it happen and enjoy the process.

    Thanks so much for your post!

  6. I love your last line: “It would seem that my theories on parenting have turned into realities on how to raise myself.” It mirrors my own experiences with raising girls. I have never been a pink girly girl. My wardrobe consisted of black and more black & combat boots, I hate chick flicks, love sic fi, and hate fussy people who don’t like to get dirty. Enter 3 daughters who as a result of their own desires or societal influences (or family members who inundated our girls with pink everything), love pink and purple sparkly things. I’ve had to learn to embrace my “inner pink and princess”.

    I find it interesting that while my girls have also enjoyed typical “boy” things like superheroes, trains, tool kits, roughhouse playing, climbing trees, etc. the way they play is so “female”. For example, they make the trains mommy, daddy and baby and the train tracks are just a way to have the trains visit each others’ homes.

  7. The other day I got some pants ready for my daughter to wear to pre-school and she said, “I can’t wear that, it’s not a dress!”

    I wouldn’t try to oppose or steer her away from something she was interested, but I wasn’t going to promote princesses either. I even wrote a post last year how she was not into princesses and I was pretty happy about that. Well, it all has changed now. And like you I’m appreciating the experience as it comes – whether it means kicking the ball or painting our nails together.

  8. What a lovely post! It’s kind of like how I was resistant to “boy” things until my boys showed they really really really really liked those things. Ah, well! We raise the kids we have, not some ideal, hey? And as we work through our resistance, we discover our kids are more balanced than we thought — like with your daughter wearing Batman, or my sons carrying around dolls and stuffed animals (and then pretend-fighting them, but that’s another story…).

    Apparently my mom, a tomboy, was horrified at how girly I was as a child, preferring dresses and long hair and playing with dolls and all that. But now I feel pretty balanced, so it can be just a childhood phase.

  9. We do learn so much from them! On a similar anti-pink topic, my ex-husband and I dressed our daughter like “a little dyke.” We even joked that she should be a lesbian at least until she got through college, so she wouldn’t get knocked up. (Yes, we’re crass / crude.)

    I *loved* the earth tone outfits she wore as a young child! She still isn’t a big fan of pink most of the time and she has already had her first few girlfriends! Go figure.

    Then when I got pregnant with Sasha and, for the first time, found out the sex while pregnant, I was in a different place in my life. I’d always loathed pink. I was ready to embrace pink! When we conceived Spencer, I found that a huge percentage of potential hand-me-downs were very pink!

    Still, Sasha doesn’t seem to care what color she wears, though her favorite color is blue. And Spencer sits in a pink floral car seat. Go us! lol

  10. WORD.
    I think that this post is so accurate for so many families. I love how you talked about not influencing your daughter into pink and princesses-how she chose it, and she really loved it! What a perfect example of originality! I love it. My cousin is the baby girl in a family of four; three older brothers to love her (and tackle her!). Despite having three football loving, wrestling, hiking, snake catching brothers, she latched onto princesses and was absolutely addicted to them for years. Pink was everywhere, and she has princess everything! However, at seven, she’s totally out of that phase, and is as rough and tumble as the rest of them. Who knows! Kudos to your spunky little girl! She sounds awesome.

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