“Cindy is taking too long in the bathroom!”, my older sister yells to our mom.
In our very small house, there was one bathroom to three girls which made outings anywhere hectic and insanely stressful.
We each had to take our time to primp with complete disregard to the other’s needs.
Oh, you need to take a shower? It can wait, because I haven’t layered on enough mascara.
Oh, you need to use the toilet? Sorry, my eyeliner isn’t perfectly symmetrical. Try using the bathroom tomorrow.
Ugh! The frustration was real.
I look back on those memories with fondness but I quickly snap back to reality.
“What a complete waste of time“, I think to myself.
Those hours spent in the bathroom could’ve been better spent on studying for school exams or better yet spending quality time as a family.
But the time has already passed.
As I’m pushing my shopping cart through Wal-mart with my daughter in tow, I purposely avoid the “girl isle”.
You know which isle that I’m talking about.
The one with all the pink, fluffy, frilly stuff and head straight to the isle full of books, puzzles and other mentally stimulating games.
“Yay! Books!” I champion as my daughter face lights up like a light bulb.
I love the fact that she’s more excited about books than she is about toting around a fake baby.
Growing up in my household, having a baby doll was like a rite of passage to being a girl.
My siblings and I all played with them and asked for them each year, requesting one that was more ‘realistic’ than the last.
One year I got a doll that actually ate food and pooped! Oh, what fun to change diapers!
But with my own daughter, I’ve actually questioned the purpose of dolls.
It seems that from an early age, we introduce babies to girls almost telling them what to expect from the world.
We are too quick to socialize them into a maternal role before they begin to develop a sense of self.
When I see myself handing over a doll to my toddler, I cringe to think about the real message that I’m sending: That babies are play things.
Which, as many parents can agree, babies are not.
Babies are a huge responsibilities that require tons of time, attention and not to mention, physical sacrifices.
What I don’t want to do is to impose the idea that becoming a mother is inevitable and her sole purpose in life is basically to rear children.
Besides, that’s not what we expect from our boys right?
Taking a glance at the boy’s toy isle, we can see all sorts of things for them to explore and invoke curiosity such as building blocks, robots and cars.
Compare that with the items found on the girl isle and you’ll see baby dolls, dresses, kitchen and house play sets like dishes and brooms.
So while boys get to play, girls get to imitate what mommy does?
And yet many of us wonder why there is such a disconnect between women and men and society.
Maybe, I’m digging too deep or maybe I’m not digging deep enough.
Whatever, the case may be, I’m not buying my daughter any dolls.
If they are gifted to her, fine.
If she really, really wants one then maybe.
However, when I look at my daughter I know that she is capable of so much more and that sparkle in her eye whenever we read a book together or play with building blocks is all the motivation needed to keep me pushing past the “girl isle”.
Cindy K. is a stay at home mom, Grey’s Anatomy fanatic and dog whisperer from Charleston, SC.