Ask Elizabeth Anything

Ask Elizabeth Anything: Grieving A Dream And Starting A New One

Grieving A Dream & Starting A New One Elizabeth addresses how to find peace when things don’t go as planned or expected, and the need to grieve a dream, while also welcoming the gift of a new one.


Q: Dear Elizabeth, I consider myself an open minded and supportive parent to my 3 children and want them to feel loved and supported no matter what. However, I’m struggling with what I thought my experience would be like raising my daughter. I always wanted a baby girl and after having two sons I was elated when she was born. When she was a baby and toddler I loved shopping for her in the girls section, putting dresses on her and bows in her hair, it was a dream come true. I thought I would be sharing that same vision with her as she grew, but now that she’s old enough to dress herself she doesn’t like anything I pick out for her, and she refuses to wear dresses even if I ask her to pick out what she wants. I want to support her choices but I find myself saddened by her disinterest in feminine clothing. Her style of dress is not what I expected my daughter to be like. What are your thoughts on how to make peace with this?

Thank you, SDmom

Dear SDmom,

This is such a tender question and I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts on how you are struggling with your daughter’s choice of dressing. It is completely understandable why you would feel saddened by your daughter not sharing the same interests in feminine dressing that you hoped she would. As parents we all have dreams or expectations of how we think our children will be out in the world and when those ideas clash with reality it can feel like a personal rejection and it can be difficult to move past that. Know that you are not alone.

It’s okay to grieve what you thought your experience would be raising your daughter to what it actually is. When we experience a loss of an expected outcome it’s natural to feel sadness of what we hoped would be. What I would encourage you to focus on with your daughter is learning to understand her preferences as a way of truly understanding her individuality. If you are supporting her self-development then take the time to also explore your own. What can you learn from your daughter about self-expression that will help you understand yourself better? Are you following the “rules” of dressing because that’s what you’ve always done or is there more to explore when it comes to dressing yourself? I promise you that when you open up to the idea that there is more to learn about yourself through your children, you will uncover a deeper connection to your child in a way you never imagined.

By accepting your daughter as she is, she will feel safe to share her true self with you and that will form an unbreakable bond. It’s not easy to accept unexpected change, but it’s not an end to a dream, it’s a start of a new one.


Have a question about navigating the gendered-clothing aisles, practicing conscious parenting, embracing change, challenging and changing gender-norms, raising twins or anything else? Send us your questions and Elizabeth will give you her best answer in the next AEA.

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