Why Be A Rough Housing Mom? ~ Guest Post by Nancy Gruver

Melissa Atkins Wardy wrestling with Amelia. Photo by Benny.

Before I turn this post over to Nancy, I would just like to say a couple quick things.

First, My computer died Sunday night. I mean DEAD! As in I’m not sure that I’ll be able to retrieve my personal photos. I’m sharing this with you so that you will not make the same mistake I did, which is not saving pictures and other important documents on a disc.  A tech guy is trying to retrieve my pictures (wish me luck), but I have learned my lesson big time.

Second, Nancy’s article appealed to me because sometimes when I watch my husband rough house (pretend wrestle) with our girls, it makes me uncomfortable.  In trying to figure out why it makes me uncomfortable (our girls absolutely love it and beg for more), I realized that although I played soccer, ran track, competed in swim competitions, played football at recess, and participated in other physical activities, I never rough housed with my parents as a child. I can see now that this type of play is positive for everyone and creates bonding, trust, and fun.

Here is Nancy…

How do you play with your kids, especially daughters? Prompted by Joe Kelly’s article Michele Sinisgalli-Yulo posed this question on Princess-Free Zone yesterday and it really got me and lots of others thinking.

I’m definitely not a rough housing mom. That was Joe’s department. He did it naturally and totally enjoyed having the girls climb over him, ride on his back, wrestle with him, play catch and shoot baskets, bike, etc.

I did physical things with my daughters including dance, art, water play, swinging, garden and yard work. None of that really qualifies as rough housing, except maybe jumping in the leaf pile. Physically rough play didn’t come naturally to me and now I’m sorry that it didn’t.

Playing that way with my daughters would have been great for them and me. Now that I’m honorary grandma to two-year old Lucy I see how important physical play is to her. She loves to run and jump and throw balls and be picked up and tossed around. And she loves to do it with me.

When we play like this I’m completely free of any thoughts about how I look. I’m totally absorbed in what my body can do and how it can do more. How my body can help me accomplish things and reach my goals.

That feeling takes me right back to the time before puberty when I was an active climber, explorer, runner & hider in the woods behind our house. I felt at one with my body and didn’t spend any energy analyzing or trying to change its perceived flaws. Body Freedom!

I think rough physical play can give girls a huge dose of Body Freedom. Kind of like a vaccination against the unhealthy appearance preoccupation they get attacked by as tweens and teens. That’s why they need as much of it as we can give them – from mom, dad, grandparents, etc. They need lots and lots of experiences of their body in action and being valued for its action.

That’s why I wish I’d been a rough housing mom.  And why I’m going to reform and become even more of a rough housing grandma.

Do you rough house with your daughter(s)? Why or why not?  And I’m looking for photos of moms rough housing with daughters – couldn’t find a single one in a google search! If you have one you’re willing to share that would be great.

Nancy, Mavis, and Nia

Being the mom of two amazing girls who are now amazing women has been one of the most amazing journeys of my life.

New Moon Girls and Daughters.com both owe their existence to Nia & Mavis’ influence.  Because of them, I discovered a passion that became my life mission: supporting parents, teachers, grandparents, researchers, mentors and others in helping us all raise resilient, creative girls to be powerful women.

My husband Joe Kelly is also key to this passion and my opportunity to follow a dream and make it reality: making New Moon Girls  a community for girls who support each other in staying true to themselves as they grow from girls to women.  Joe’s work at Dads and Daughters continues today with his blog.

Part of the introduction to my book, <a title=”buy the book” href=”Communicating with Your Growing DaughterHow To Say It to Girls: Communicating with Your Growing Daughter says this as well as anything:

The journey of raising girls is a rich and unexpected one. It takes us deep into ourselves as well as out into the world, in ways we can never fully imagine until they happen.  Our daughters have provided me and Joe with our greatest challenges and our most rewarding experiences. Every time we thought we had it figured out, something happened to remind us that the essence of parenting is continuous learning, both about our daughters and ourselves. We’re usually grateful for that when we’re not exhausted by it!

As the founder of New Moon Girls, I am also told by thousands of other girls what they need and expect from the adults in their lives. Hearing about them and from them has given me the great gift of awareness and respect for girls and what they know. It has also shown me just how much girls need from adults. They depend on us to really know them as individuals and do what’s best for them. Deep down, they want us to provide them with informed and loving guidance.

And one of the best ways to give them informed guidance is to connect with others who care about girls, whether they are parents or scientists, business owners or politicians. The purpose of this New Moon Girls is to give you a place to find the information and opinions about raising girls and also a place to share your knowledge and experiences.

Thanks you.

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