Raising Up Women

Parenting with my husband has not always been easy. We disagree on techniques quite frequently. He has never spanked one of our three children (though he has threatened to). I have spanked...but I tend to do groundings and time-outs because they have a bigger impact with my kids. I am loud. He is quiet. I have been known to fly off the handle...he is cool and calm and collected. 

We have rubbed off on one another. I've been reforming my parenting style since becoming a parent. Truth is, we were raised in two very different households. It didn't take me very long to realize that everything I love about this man is probably a direct result of his upbringing (hence my reformation). 

The minute we found out that we were expecting our oldest (who's now almost 9), we were thrilled. We'd battled unexplained infertility and had won. I'll never forget the moment they told us "it's a girl!" The smile on his face could not be erased. The impact that smile had on my life is one that I didn't even see coming. That ear-to-ear smile wasn't just a reaction to hearing we were having a healthy baby...but a man's reaction to hearing that we would be raising a daughter. 

You see, JB was raised by amazing women (and men) surrounded by girls. Three girl cousins and a sister made a tremendous impact on this man. After a four year battle with infertility, we found out we were having another girl. I remember friends and family asking me how Jay felt about it. I remember someone making a comment "well, maybe the third will be a boy." That type of attitude, no matter how flippant and innocently intended is the very institution that I've been trying to wipe from the face of this planet for my daughters. Why? Why would a man be any less of a man for raising daughters? Why does a man "need a son?" We don't live in a world where society is in threat of extinction. There is no biological argument for "carrying on a lineage." Carrying on their name? That happens with any child born to a man. Because here's the thing: you can name your daughter or son WHATEVER YOU WANT (relative to objection by your spouse, of course...but still...). Why do we feel the need to defend our right to have only daughters. Not only our right...but our JOY to raise women. 

Then, came the news that we were expecting again. Even more-so than with the first or second pregnancy...I was fielding inappropriate interrogations by everyone I was in contact with; grocery store clerks, nurses, doctors, relatives, friends, acquaintances. Again, Jay confided in me that he didn't understand why people cared about the sex of our baby. As long as the babe was healthy and I was too, he did not care. 

I wish that my husband was the type of man to brag about his parenting skills. But because he's not...(yet another trait of this man that I adore) I will. He parents without prejudice. Any time one of the girls says "i can't." He says "of course you can." Any time he hears a child say "that's a boy color/toy/game." He says "there's no such thing." Any time he sees our children being praised for their physical attributes (because they ARE beautiful), he makes a point to tell them "You're smart. You're kind. You have a fair shot." 

This man, who's raising three daughters knows how to treat women. Yesterday...oh yesterday...tapes were released where a certain presidential candidate discussed sexual assault and his entitlement to women's bodies...because he's a star, and can therefore do whatever he wants. This type of talk is not a new thing from this person. What's troubling is that people don't seem to care...or even worse, are defending this person and his comments. I can't. JB can't. The implication is too much. When Donald Trump speaks about women, he's speaking about my daughters. 

When men debate the rights of women's bodies, women lose. WOMEN should be leading these discussions. Because when women aren't leading, they're objectified. They're treated as property. They lose their rights. They lose their voice. They lose their chance to say "no." What woman can prosper or grow in that environment? What woman can reach her true potential if she is merely thought of as a vessel of sexual pleasure for men? NONE. The answer is NOT ONE WOMAN CAN. 

In the wake of this tape being released...men stepped up everywhere to denounce him. At the same time, men everywhere stepped up to defend his comments. My man....can I tell you what MY man said?  "You know both of us were too young to have ever voted for or actually supported Bill Clinton. An affair (no matter how many) is not equivalent to advocating/bragging about sexual assault. Not even close. Almost two decades later, shouldn't we hold ourselves to a higher standard when it comes to protecting the women in our lives from attitudes like this?"

And then: "Will Melania advise Trump? Should we scrutinize everything she has ever done to see how well she would advise her presidential spouse. No, of course not. The only reason people make that argument is a refusal to believe a woman can run things... which at the core outlines the underlying sexism in this country that has a major party presidential candidate being able to say he sexually assaults women and have people defend him. He's not going to drop out. We're either going to elect the first woman president or elect someone who unequivocally believes that women (our wives, sisters, daughters, nieces, mothers, grandmothers and friends...) are worth less than we are."

Men, take note. Men who love women speak like this. Not only do they speak like this, they ACT like this. Girls everywhere, look for people like this. I cannot stress enough...your life will be better if you surround yourself with people who truly believe that you are valued. I've been proud of him many times...but I can't put into words the pride I feel every time I read his words. How lucky are my girls? 

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