Why We Can't Just Tell Our Daughters They Can Do Anything Boys Can Do

by Regan Long
Originally Published: 
A girl wearing pink sandals, blue and white wrestler outfit with a blue star on the shirt while hold...
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“But Mommy…you’re just a girl!”

I came to a complete halt as I was shocked that these words came out of my 8-year-old daughter’s mouth.

I’m raising one son and three daughters, and not only have I tried to instill in them in the firm belief that a girl can do anything a boy can do, I make it a point to live it as a woman who can do anything a man can do.

As I was opposite my husband, struggling to hold up the other end of our heavy sofa, I thought to myself, By God I will move this couch. I may fumble a time or two, I may be winded trying to get this darn thing from point A to point B, but I will do it.”

At that point, saying I couldn’t continue to move it, well, it wasn’t an option for me. I felt that my daughter’s six words would forever chime loudly in my head — the day I dropped the couch, because it was too much for Mommy, because after all, she was just a girl.

But it wasn’t just about this couch, or about our move, or this particular afternoon.

It was about my daughter’s eyes being on me all the time, even when I didn’t realize it.

It was about me not just telling her that she could do anything that any young boy or man could do, but showing her.

It was about being living proof to her that a woman could find strength even when it appeared to be a man’s job.

It was simply demonstrating a woman could carry the weight of something that may appear to be too much for a female to bear.

It was about instilling in her that every woman should never back down from something, even something that at first proves to be difficult. That no woman should feel inadequate or inferior.

After I set that couch down in its new spot, slightly winded and my arms wobbly, I walked over to my daughter who was watching and waiting across the room.

I released a big sigh as I sat next to her, smiled, and caught my breath. And I said, “Yes, Mommy is just a girl. But you see, girls, well, girls can do anything!”

She looked down as she both blushed and giggled, but nestled up into my side. After a few moments, she raised those big, beautiful, baby brown eyes and proudly said, “You did it, Mommy.”

I smiled back, and as a lump somehow found its way into my throat so quickly I almost gasped, I said, “Yes, Baby. Yes…I…did.”

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