Motherhood Monday: Like Mother, Like Daughters / by Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah

They get it honestly. 


No matter what chaos is swirling in my life, or how I feel on the inside, my hair, nails, and face are always done. I love, love, love the color pink and my colleagues take notice when I wear pants, a once a month occurrence. I am a girly-girl to the utmost. Not sure when I became this way, but I can guarantee that my girly-girl ways are here to stay. I can imagine myself at 95 years old in an assisted living facility with my hair and makeup right! 


My hair has been my canvas for creativity since I was in fourth grade. In recent years I’ve faithfully gotten a manicure/pedicure every three weeks, switching up designs to match my mood, the season, or a race day outfit. Although I don’t wear a lot of makeup, I rarely leave the house without brows and lipstick. As for my skirt and dress obsession, honestly it was born out of necessity and frustration. I have thick thighs and skirts and dresses are just easier to shop for. And while I am mindful of my husband, I don’t get gussied up for anyone else’s gaze but my own. 


As I watch my two little girls, I can see how my way of being in the world influences them. As loud and rough as they can be (ahem, Daddy’s girls) they are girly-girls, too. They admire my changes in hairstyles and love choosing new hairstyles from Pinterest for mommy to attempt (especially since they get to watch tons of their tv shows as I braid their hair). After doing their laundry, our lint filter is FULL of pink sparkly lint. They favor dresses and skirts over pants any day. I mean, Big Girl just agreed to wear jeans a few months ago. And I remember when she was three and wouldn’t wear pants I—God forgive me—lied to her and told her that leggings were not pants just to vary her wardrobe a bit. And nails...Baby Girl notices my nail designs before anyone else and begs me to mimic my designs on her tiny little fingers. Every once in a while I treat them to manicures, but real talk: if this calling to ministry doesn’t work out, I can moonlight as a pediatric nail tech. 


Sometimes I wonder if all this girly-girlness (I’m a preacher, I make up words) isn’t somehow forcing gendered behavior upon them. And then I think about it, and I come to the conclusion that I’m not. For one, my way of being is not forced; I have genuinely evolved into the woman I am (and love). Secondly, we have informal conversations about gender all the time (a boy in Big Girl’s class was surprised when she retorted to him that she could play trucks if she wanted to). And for next (as Baby Girl would say), they have choices and choose to mirror their momma. For this I am both grateful and challenged. I am grateful that they see beauty in me; I am challenged to be spiritually, emotionally and physically whole so, they too, will live into wellness and grace.