Family Kitty Motherhood {the ordinary moments}

The fiercest of them all


Kitty was running around the lounge at high speed.  She’d already brought me the invitation off the fridge at least twice and the directions to get to her friend N’s pirate birthday party a further three.

“It says please dress up – do you want to?” I asked. “You can be a pirate or it says you can be a princess if you’d rather?”

The bouncing stopped for a mere fraction of a second.

“Umm … I want to wear a dressing up dress!”

And following a detailed dissertation on the merits of the Snow White dress versus Cinderella, she made her decision; Cinderella has short sleeves but they’re scratchy although on the plus side Cinders could be an Elsa dress (her current dearest wish which may or may not be about to be fulfilled in about 10 days time), while Snow White has non scratchy sleeves, and a cape.

The cape won.  And duly dressed in all her princess finery I started to look for the matching hairband.  But Kitty had other ideas.  Oh no, not for her the mere flim-flammery of a red bow for her hair.  She was a princess, yes, but not the meek, mild and rather disappointingly passive Snow White of Disney’s classic, oh no. Kitty’s princess carries a sword. Pirates beware.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

She went running into that party, blond hair and cape trailing behind her with barely a pause to wave as Pip and I joined the group of Mummies to chat about all things children and childcare for a couple of hours.

When I next saw her she’d acquired a faceprint pirate scar down one cheek, glittery sparkles about the eyes, a drawing of a pirate ship, and a half eaten chocolate coin, and was sat at the party tea table, hat askew, tucking into cucumber sticks and cream cheese and discussing sandwiches with the birthday boy.

How deep we go into the princess phase, and quite what life looks like when we come out the other side of it is one of those questions that run through my mind from time to time; are we letting the girls be over-exposed to influences that we don’t think make appropriat role models? Or are we overly restricting them and not trusting their own good sense?  It’s a perpetual balancing act; I want to give them choice, I want to arm them now with tools to make good choices that will stand them in good stead when they’re older, and I also want to give them the freedom that comes naturally to childhood, without spoiling their enjoyment of playing dress up because they perceive a negative association with anything that’s overtly feminine and don’t want to be ‘girly’, or because they pick up too much on a correlation between worth and beauty.

But looking at my incredibly sugar-fuelled pirate princess twirling her sword at her balloon as we crossed the car park I’m certain that we’re going to be more than OK.  If we can encourage and nurture that self confidence that has her take the best of both genres (I think that would be glitter from one and swords from the other) and mash it together into the fiercest fairest of the seven seas, she’ll do anything she wants to do, and be whoever she want to be.

Look out Nancy Blackett!



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  • Jojo 14/12/2014 at 7:59 am

    That’s so astute Carie… I so wish I had had your wisdom when my children were that age!! For what it’s worth, YOUR writing has encouraged me to start writing again, but just for a few close family and friends at the moment. Thank you. 🙂

    • Carie 15/12/2014 at 10:27 pm

      Aww thank you very much 🙂

  • Natalie @ Little Jam Pot Life Blog 14/12/2014 at 12:23 pm

    Completely agree Carie! I love that my girls love to play with princesses and cars, love to dress up with handbags and sparkly shoes or wearing Daddy’s trainers and pants! lol Yve’s keeps asking if she can play with something thats “boy-ish” or wear something blue. and i just explain that all the colours of the rainbow are for everyone and they’re all fab! you can be whoever and whatever, you’re beautiful as you are i say 🙂
    I was a “tomboy” growing up but labels are just annoying, I say we embrace what we like, be what we want!

    • Carie 15/12/2014 at 10:26 pm

      Every now and then she comes out with a “girls have to…” or “we can’t do … because we’re girls” and we always ask why; there’s nothing that she can’t do if she puts her mind to it and is prepared to work for it.

  • Not A Frumpy Mum 14/12/2014 at 1:42 pm

    Bless her, this is so cute. I love that she wants a princess dress but with a sword to go with it! No prince will be messing with her! x

    • Carie 15/12/2014 at 10:24 pm

      Definitely not!!

  • Potty Mouthed Mummy 14/12/2014 at 5:37 pm

    Love that she was a princess with a sword, just brilliant! xx

    • Carie 15/12/2014 at 10:24 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • Hayley @hayleyfromhome 14/12/2014 at 8:20 pm

    I Love that she was a princess with a sword, perfect. Like you say it sounds like you will be ok with her but I can see how it must be difficult to oversee it all, especially with girls! I would always wonder but I think in time they will come to their own conclusions x

    • Carie 15/12/2014 at 10:24 pm

      I hope so – it’s one of those things that we’ll only find out in the long run!

  • Donna 14/12/2014 at 10:31 pm

    Oh she looks so gorgeous in her dress – complete with sword! x

    • Carie 15/12/2014 at 10:21 pm

      It’s a fabulous combination isn’t it!

  • Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) 15/12/2014 at 2:55 am

    Lovely post and I know what you mean, its definitely a balancing act, you don’t want to push stereotypes but don’t want to go far the other way either! Sounds like you have got a great balance though, loving the sparkles and swords! 🙂 xx

    • Carie 15/12/2014 at 10:20 pm

      It’s an interesting balance too isn’t it – because while little girls dressed as princesses with swords as seen as fierce and wonderful, I wonder what the reaction would have been had one of the little boys decided to accessorise with a fairy wand – perhaps it’s not just the girls that get stereotyped 🙂

  • Merlinda Little 15/12/2014 at 10:31 am

    A lovely read! I love your daughter’s spirit! Fierce indeed =)#TheOrdinaryMoments

    • Carie 15/12/2014 at 10:12 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper 15/12/2014 at 11:17 am

    I have this dilemma with S all the time! Luckily, like Kitty, she seems to love girly things whilst wielding a pirate sword and hat- a great balance there I feel, and long may it continue! x

    • Carie 15/12/2014 at 10:12 pm

      I think Snow White is definitely improved by the addition of a sword (as would many of the other Disney princesses for that matter!) – long may all our girls enjoy mixing it up a bit!

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 15/12/2014 at 2:45 pm

    A gorgeously well written post Carie and I agree with your sentiments completely. It is hard to find that balancing act and to nurture those thoughts, opinions and ideas. Mads at the moment couldn’t hate anything ‘girly’ more- she wants to wear ‘boy’ clothes, have boy dressing up stuff and all of her friend at nursery are boys too (due to the lack of girls in her class at the moment) I am just embracing it and letting her figure it out on her own for the moment. x

    • Carie 15/12/2014 at 10:10 pm

      It’s funny watching the outside influences start to take effect too isn’t it – Kitty is quite girly and princessy at the moment, but she’s at nursery in a class that’s mostly girls and a lot of the conversation seems to revolve around Anna and Elsa!

  • sally 15/12/2014 at 11:19 pm

    It’s funny, we were having a similar kind of conversation here tonight when Maria appeared for tea in a pink, frilly ballet outfit and ballet shoes. As much as I’m not a pink person myself and I think I’ve always encouraged them not to be too stereotypical, I came to the conclusion quite a while back that there are definitely girl genes and boy genes and there’s nothing much I can do about it apart from, as you say, try and keep it balanced. And in a lot of ways I think that’s harder with boys, so all the best with Pip! Maybe having 2 big sisters will give him a head start on keeping in touch with his feminine side or maybe it’ll have the opposite effect, it’ll be interesting to see!

    • Carie 19/12/2014 at 11:58 pm

      Oh I’m certain that Pip will spend many happy hours dressed up as a princess under his sisters’ expert guidance – and why not, princess dresses are fun, and swords are fun!