Nice Girls Do Too!!
Can we stop making lists of things nice girls do and don’t do?
I am more than a mother.
You are more than a teacher.
Your neighbor is more than a fabulous gardener.
We are all whole people, and we all do all of the things.
I say we should stop pretending we don‘t.
I recently read an article by a woman whose mother had inadvertently given her the idea that nice ‘girls’ just endure sex. They don’t like it, and shouldn’t want it for themselves, but they lie down and take it when their husbands want it. She said her mom told her that sex was beautiful and healthy, but also admonished her that her shorts were too short, and her tank tops too revealing.
I can’t imagine her mom set out to confuse her. I’m guessing it took all she had to tell her daughter anything at all about sex. After all, Nice Girls Don’t Talk Like That! I remember my own mom saying that very phrase to me when I was a teenager. Thank goodness I was never a great listener.
Unfortunately, the poor woman from the article had learned something far more damaging than how to make classy wardrobe choices. In the end, her marriage was nearly ruined because she was afraid that being sexual made her a dirty person.
This crazy idea recently popped into my own life for just a few moments, too. I had written a funny and truthful article about how awkward it can feel getting your sex life back after you have a baby, but I nearly didn’t submit it because I live in a small town and someone from church might read it.
What would the Harper Valley PTA think? Would I ever be allowed to volunteer at Vacation Bible School again? Should a Christian mother of three really be openly discussing her sex life with the world?
Of course, I consulted my husband, because it’s his sex life too. He thought it was a fine article, and given that we’ve been married for twelve years and have three kids it shouldn’t be a shock to anyone (even his mother) that we’re having sex. I consulted my girlfriends, and they loved the idea. What if some first-time mom out there was thinking she was all alone in this?
In the end, I decided that I wouldn’t let the fuddy-duddy in my head hold me back.
I write. I also do some other jobs.
But if publishing this one frank and humorous article made it impossible for me to continue doing those other jobs, then that would have to be incentive to write and publish even more. What kind of example would I be setting for my kids if I let fear of judgement hold me back from what I do best?
I’m raising three girls. They are people. They are lovely. And of course, I hope they will grow up to be classy and pleasant to be around. But I don’t want to saddle them with old-fashioned ideas that might damage their self-worth or future relationships.
I don’t want them to be afraid to fully experience all the wonderful things that life has to offer, even if those things sometimes seem to be at odds. I want them to be whole people, not just job titles or worn out stereotypes.
I want them to know that they can be good mothers and good lovers.
They can sing their hearts out at a karaoke bar on Saturday and lead the church choir on Sunday. (Do church choirs even exist anymore?)
They can teach Kindergarten and write steamy romance novels.
They can curse when they stub their toe and praise God when it’s not really broken.
And they can be as private or open about any of these things as they want to be.
I will show them how.
I will pray for them.
I will talk with them. Really talk, and listen, too.
I will passionately kiss their Dad right in front of them.
I will laugh out loud when they are mortified by that kiss.
I will wear the clothes I feel best in, even if I never look Pinterest-worthy.
I will encourage them to keep learning whether or not they make the grade.
I will help them learn to think for themselves and make their own choices.
I will let them experience the consequences of those choices, good and bad.
I will let them see me do the hard thing when I know it’s the right thing.
I will boldly do what is best for my life and my family, regardless of what the neighbors might think.
I will say what’s on my mind and I will heed the call to write about it.
Because Nice Girls Do Too!