Maureen Doran is one of our awesome instructors, and owner of the franchise. Anyone who knows Mo knows she is a fantastic, feminine, and fit mother to her three girls. Check out her thoughts below on raising three females in her image.
I have three girls. You heard that right, three girls. If you are a stranger reading this, now is your moment to say:
"Wow! You have your hands full!" or
"Your poor husband!" or
"Watch out for those teenage years!"
And maybe you're right about some of that, but it isn't because I have all girls. It's because I have kids! Let's face it, three little darlings (or ANY number of kids) makes your hands full.
My sister-in-law has two boys. And like me, she gets comments from strangers about her all-male household. "Whoa, things must be crazy at your house!" people say to her. The funny thing is, if you've met her boys you'd understand how ridiculous that is. She has the calmest, most sensitive, mild-mannered kids that anyone has ever met. So when she hears people tell her how crazy her life must be with boys, she thinks, "Have you ever met my sister-in-law and her girls? Talk about crazy!"
Because kids are kids. Some are crazy, some are quiet, some like to get dirty, some like to read, some are polite, some are sensitive, and some are all of these things and more. Regardless of whether they are boys or girls.
My girls love princesses, ballet, singing, dress-up clothes, and like every child born in this decade, they love Anna and Elsa. But my daughters also love space, dinosaurs, Star Wars, super heroes, Lion King, and Maryland football. For Halloween they have been a butterfly, a T-Rex, a Pteranodon, Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, and an Ewok. Let my girls be girls. Yes, sometimes that means dress up clothes and princesses, but sometimes it doesn't. Let them be girls, and let them be themselves.
My daughter took a dance class called "Princess Ballerinas" where the dancers were encouraged to wear princess dresses and dance to princess songs. The class before ours just happened to have three boys enrolled. As a result, the dance teacher played more gender-neutral Disney songs. Each week, their class would end with "Hakuna Matata.” After several weeks, my daughter asked me "Why does our teacher never play Hakuna Matata for our class? It's my favorite song!” I had never given it any thought; I barely noticed the music being played as we waited for our class (probably because I was corralling three active girls!).
It was one of those mom moments where I realized I was facing a conversation I hadn’t been prepared to have, but it was a critical one. As delicately as I could, I explained that most princesses are girls, and with boys in the class they might relate more to a lion. But I also quickly followed up with "You should tell the teacher you also like lions, and that Hakuna Matata is your favorite too!” She did, and my little lioness danced beautifully to her favorite song.
I like being female. I like dressing up, I like high heels. I like fashion, makeup, musicals, I love to sing and dance. I love all things stereotypically female. I am also an athlete. I am strong, I am fit, I am fast. In college I chose to study a predominantly male subject. I was the only female in my graduating class to study mathematics. I know how it feels to exist in a male dominated scene. I’ve also become numb to it, in the best way possible. I never realized I was the only female in a class until someone would point it out to me.
I took my children to a story time at the library that was all about careers. They held up pictures of firefighers and teachers and each child guessed what they were. When the story time leader held up a cartoon picture of a doctor it was my daughter's turn. She looked at me completely puzzled, "Who is that Mommy?" I prompted her showing that he was wearing a stethoscope, wondering why she was confused. She turned to me and observed, "but Mommy, he's a boy. Doctors are girls." In my brain I quickly went through every doctor my daughter has ever seen—sure enough—all female! So I did what any good mother would do, I replied "I know! Isn't it CRAZY! They let MEN be doctors!"
I am raising three girls. They are beautiful, I want to tell them they are beautiful and I want them to feel beautiful. I want them to realize they are strong, and be proud of that strength. I want them to know they are smart, and value learning. I want them to be comfortable being girls, but moreover, I want them to be comfortable being themselves.