monkey3000/Fotolia

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Things About Having A Daughter

By
Share
Ad failed to load

When I found out I was having a little girl, I was thrilled, but quickly tried to hold back some of that excitement. When I thought about many of things I was excited about — cute dresses, dance class, playing with dolls — I reminded myself of the mantra I'd given myself when my son was born: Let them tell you who they are. Yes, I was a "girly girl" (and remain a girly woman), but maybe this little one wouldn't be. Who knows how she'd surprise me. I asked other moms to share the most surprising things about having a daughter, and their answers ran the gamut from ways their daughters have surprised them, to ways their daughters made them surprise themselves.

What has surprised me most about my daughter, who is 3 now, is just how thoroughly herself she is. Because I feel as though part of me always thought she was going to go to one extreme of the gender spectrum or the other — "girly girl" or "tomboy." I thought, surely, society would sink its hooks into her at a young age and she'd either buy into it or rebel against it. But the truth is she's just... herself. She's interested in the kind of things you'd "expect" of a girl — baby dolls, unicorns, dresses — but at the same time neither her personality nor interests are all that profoundly different from those of my son.

I'm sure I put gender on her in some ways —I tend to dress her "like a girl" (though she does have "boy" and "gender neutral" clothing), for example — but I try really hard to keep that kind of influence as minimal as possible and just encourage her to discover what she likes to do, wear, play, and be, all on her own. I never want her to feel she has to be any particular way just because everyone else decided she was a girl in a world that undervalues girls.

Ad failed to load

I also found it interesting how other mothers tended to think of their daughters in the grand scheme of what it means to be a girl or woman in our society. So with that in mind, here's what they had to say:

Ad failed to load

Heather

Giphy

"Both my daughters are rambunctious. [They] always have been climbers and adventurers. I wasn’t prepared for the judgment I would receive in not forcing them into gender normative roles, especially my youngest daughter. I didn’t expect strangers to tell me how I had my hands full because she was playing 'like a boy.' I didn’t expect strangers to tell her to smile or only ever comment on her appearance. It’s opened my eyes."

Marissa

"Everything. She is so complex and she surprises me daily. It is her nature to love pink and sparkles and unicorns and fishing and digging in the dirt and running 5Ks and doing science experiments. That is not shocking. What surprised me has been the reaction from others when she engages in 'boy' activities. People get such a kick out of it and comment. No negative comments, but they are surprised and think it is funny."

Renée

Giphy

"Her compassion is surprisingly wonderful."

Ad failed to load

Amanda

"My daughter is a Tazmanian devil, which was surprising. But the thing I wasn't prepared for was all of the emotions. She loves and hurts so deeply and it's stressful when I can fix bones but not those feels."

Melissa

Giphy

"The amount of assertiveness that she was born with is astounding. She’s only 2 and a half, but she’s on her game. I think she’s got it together more than I do at 32. She’s also the perfect mix of salty and sweet. She’s so challenging but so loving."

Sarah

"She never. stops. moving. Like, ever. And I wasn’t about to have that princess life all up in my house, but I also wasn’t going to full-on Cinderella Ate My Daughter and ban it, either. The coolest thing is how she likes to pretend to be dinosaur princess or snake princess or Jedi princess. Her princesses are as bad-ass as she is. Basically, I’m in constant awe of her and her creativity, bravado, and the way she destroyed each and every one of my expectations. I couldn’t be prouder."

Ad failed to load

Emily

Giphy

"How much I want the world to accept her for who she is. When I see the expectations on women and girls, they should be all the things. They need to be smart, kind, assertive, brave, silly, and hard working. They need to be Ginger Rogers. We learn each day that for women to be successful they have to appear as close to society's view of perfection as possible or they will be nitpicked to death. I want her to live a happy life with her version of success and never ever feel like she has to bend herself to those societal pressures. And that fear that she will ever feel like she can't just be herself and find a place in the world, that fear is a very surprising feeling."

Brandi

"My oldest daughter is your typical girly girl. She loves wearing dresses and playing dress up. She doesn’t like to get dirty. But boy does she have attitude. She is strong willed, stubborn as all get out, and will argue with you about anything and everything. At 6-years-old she believes she knows everything. My youngest, on the other hand, is a great mix of my son and daughter. She listens and does what you ask, she loves to play outside and get dirty. She is a climber but also a cuddle-er. She is the complete opposite of my oldest daughter. It’s amazing to see how different their personalities are when they were both born into the same environment."

Heidi

Giphy

"I never expected how much she’d look like me. It’s sort of insane to compare old school photos of myself to how she looks now. Aside from hair color she looks just like me."

Ad failed to load

Rachel

"So, I've been a girl mom for a whopping six weeks, but what's most surprising (so far) is my own internalized misogyny. There is nothing inherently wrong with pink or princesses, but I have a strong negative reaction to them, whereas I happily buy and play with knights and castles with my boys. I am practicing reminding myself that pink is just a color and there are positive and negative attributes to both princesses and knights. And that when something is considered feminine that does not make it less than."

Shannon

Giphy

"I'm surprised by other moms who seem to judge that my daughter does like to have her hair done, wear big bows, and dress in dresses. I do not press these things on her ... the fact she likes to look nice does not make her prissy."

Lisa

"How much she picks up from me. My son certainly behaves like I do, but my daughter knowingly mimics (not in a bad way) my every move. She stands behind me while I put on my makeup and pantomimes what I’m doing. She dresses like I do. She buys two necklaces whenever she has money so we can match. It is adorable, sometimes annoying, and totally overwhelming, because her behavior is so dependent on mine."

Ad failed to load

Wendy

Giphy

"How quickly people — even kids her own age — put her in a box."

Molls

"How her very presence motivated me to confront some gender issues I’d had with my husband. I was motivated to find the words and compassion to address these things because I want her to live in a better, more honoring reality. It was as if I hadn’t seen as clearly what it was that needed to be addressed until she was born. It was truly surprising as I’ve also felt my marriage and relationship with hubby was pretty egalitarian. But her presence only has made it better as I (we) grow."

Rachel

Giphy

"How obsessed with her body she is young. All about boobies right now at 2 and a half."

Ad failed to load

Carey

"I think the most surprising thing about having a daughter is how important it is to watch every word I say to myself because my daughter will think the same thing about herself. I don’t talk about my weight, whether I look fat or skinny or anything like that."

Jamie

Giphy

"How 'motherly' she is at 2-years-old. Always so concerned about babies when they cry, and always very interested in them. She wraps her baby dolls in blankets and feeds them bottles. And as sweet and nurturing she is, she’s that rough and tough. Her favorite thing to do is jump on top of you while yelling 'Cowabunga!' She has no fear, and she’s a fighter. Strong willed and sassy."

Samantha

"They can have a mini 'period' shortly after birth due to the hormones at birth! No one told me this! I almost fainted when I saw blood in her diaper at the hospital."

Ad failed to load

"Matilda"

Giphy

"I didn’t think anything would surprise me about having a daughter because I am female, but boy was I wrong. I have become so much stronger as a result of having her. I stand up for myself more because I want her to see and know that it is OK for girls and women to demand respect and equality. I am also more aware of all the bullshit that we as women go through and I am trying my hardest to let her see me power through it all and come out a better person."

Francie

"How hard she is on herself. Makes me so sad. I must be oozing this old and bad habit even when I think I’m not?"

Sandra

Giphy

"I was surprised at how different she is from myself. After having three boys I guess I assumed that a daughter would be just like me and give me that peaceful calming bond that I had longed for, but not so much. My husband has affectionately dubbed her 'our little Titan' and she is the mightiest of all the children."

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}